I can only encourage


There is no simple way to develop your idea. It comes down to hard work, sleepless nights, lots of disappointment, mistake after mistake, rejection, endless talk and if your still around after that, most likely it won't sell. However, if you do persist and you make it work, it is the most rewarding thing you will do. How many people can say honestly that they invented something, they made something better, or made it work! Not only did you have the idea but you made it come to fruition!

Once you do find success previous critics will say how lucky you were. Most will be saying to their friends how they could have done it or should have done it. Others may even copy your idea once it is all figured out. Lots of people talk about it and lots of people think of stuff but that is precisely why they don't ever do anything. They are all talk. You made it happen and for that, you will be deeply gratified!

How many times will you be laughed at. How many times will ideas you think are great turn out to be duds. How many people will think you're crazy. As the saying goes, better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all. And if you work hard, work smart and can step back and have an objective opinion about your idea, you will be one of the very few that succeeds!




Be prepared... not overstocked


If I had to narrow down the comments I hear most frequently and become most concerned about they would be about production inventory. Just starting out, so many believe they must have inventory in their garage, basement or warehouse in order to sell. I used to be this way until I realized the fundamental problem with theory. You make prototypes and show them to your friends. They tell you how terrific your idea is and how much you are going to sell. You visit one local store and they agree to try a few of them. You may even visit a second store and hear the same thing. You profess it must be a good idea if your friends like it and store(s) want to buy it. So you purchase 5,000 because that is where the biggest price break may be. Now you have 5,000 in stock, two stores that agreed to purchase 6 each and 4,988 units left. Your idea ships to the store and a few weeks later the concerned shopkeeper calls and says lots of people have considered your idea and said they would purchase if only it had...??? Now you have 4,988 units and comments about what might really make it sell big time.

I have put the brakes on many ideas at many different stages for many different reasons Some to this day are still my favorites. I have found if a store wants the product, they will plan ahead and take it. They will make a firm commitment with a P.O. I make the decision to go ahead once I have reached enough orders to pay for the first run of the product. That way, the worst case is I have broken even. This gives me more time to nurture my new idea and I have the additional goods in my warehouse for immediate shipment that are all profit.

Think about this before you purchase all that inventory. You might find that if all you can move are 12 units from a sample, it might not be "the big idea!"


Are you a good risk?


Is your idea a personal passion or are you looking to your idea for an income... the big payoff? Most have difficulty separating the two. I'll bet your idea is important, even revolutionary. You will ponder on it for years, working through every detail, always searching for the methods to improve it. You believe that if you only had the money, your idea would become a success. If this is a personal passion, I commend you. As a dream or a conversation piece, you'll have a lot to talk about.

As for the people who dream their idea will turn into income, don't get caught up in the production plan. I'll bet you have knowledge that someone else doesn't or can't obtain and therefore your idea is unique. Unfortunately an idea is just an idea. It is the execution of how others become interested in your idea that is important.

You want an investor. Your idea is so good that surely someone will want to invest in it. It's time to look at it from the other side. An investor is in the business of looking for the highest return on their money by taking the smallest risk. The bigger the risk, the bigger the potential payoff must be. Your idea is only as important as the risk involved vs. the income it can potentially generate for an investor. You argue that you know where and how to complete the idea. Who really cares. They only want to know what is in it for them. Which, by the way, is the same thing your customer is interested in. They will only purchase if there is a benefit for them.

Please don't be naive believing nobody else will dream of your idea. If your idea solves a problem, lowers a price, makes life easier, helps someone achieve a goal or is simply something someone will spend their hard earned cash on... someone is thinking about it right now. Sure, their version may not be as good, or efficient or cheap but if they do it and you just think about it, they win and you are left talking about it.

Now focus on specifically what the return is going to be for someone who invests in your idea. Why should they give their money to you rather than to someone else. Are you a good risk vs. the potential return? Answering that question should help you clarify the path to making your idea a success!


Takes money to make money.


This past weekend a friend of mine asked me if I watch a reality show on television where an entrepreneur pitches an idea to several hosts with the hope of gaining them as a financial partner. He said he really liked the show because so many of the guests are so entertaining and he especially enjoyed when they were turned down because on their way out they would claim how the little each host knew about business. Now while the show is more about entertainment than ideas, it does have a common theme.

So many entrepreneurs and idea people are so unprepared. They ask for huge sums of money on the promise that, with that money, their idea will be completed. When you borrow money, you have to pay it back. When you take on a financial partner, they often require a portion of the control to protect their investment. Why not try to raise money for your idea from the very customers who might benefit from it? Most importantly, you will find out if people want your idea. As an extremely simple example, let's assume your idea will sell at retail for $20.00. You need $1,000.00 to create the mold required to produce it. This mold will allow you to produce your idea in reasonable quantities for $3.00 each. Why not offer the first 100 customers the ability to pre-order your idea for $13.00, a huge savings! With the $1,300.00 in pre-sales, you have earned enough to create your mold and fill the first 100 orders.

This equation leaves out several variables but it does address two major issues. With the only promise being the investor will receive your idea, if you can find 100 customers to "invest," you have raised enough money to begin production. More importantly, if 100 people do "invest" in your idea, most likely you can replicate the formula and find many more to purchase at the suggested retail price. You also don't have an interest bearing loan to repay and lots of product on your garage floor!


Success is not a classroom exercise.


We need to do more research. Our plan has to be just right. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Every word has to be crafted just perfect. This is too important to make a mistake.

How often we spend precious time on these things. STOP. You have already learned, thought, planned and crafted enough. The secret to getting your idea out there is not a secret. It comes down to one thing. Stop talking and start doing! So what if you make a mistake? You learn from it, you try not to make it again and you move on. Do your research, weigh the risks, pick the smartest option and move forward. There is no better time than now.

Three words should be posted on your wall because everything in business can be related to them. YES - NO - MAYBE. If you move forward and have success, it is a yes. You went for the sale and the customer said yes! Congratulations! On the other hand you moved forward and failed, it is a no. You went for the sale and the customer said no. Now you have two options. Overcome the objections to get the sale or move on. Maybe is the worst. You don't do anything at all. You went for the sale and the customer said maybe. Isn't a yes, isn't a no, you're in limbo. Do you pursue or do you move on. Either way you're using a valuable resource, your time.

When developing the communications for OpenX, it took over a year of endless variations to finally understand what made people respond. Looking back at the first sales pitches and initial packaging I have to laugh. I can't believe I did so many stupid things, however moving forward with what I thought were my best options at the time was what made it possible to achieve success. The endless rejection I initially received were only objections that needed to be addressed. Understanding this will be the key to your success.

No, success is not a classroom exercise - it is real life and is only achieved by doing!


Selling is about preparation


A young woman made a cold call to my office. Cold calling is not easy. Endless rejection that many take personally. What struck me about this woman was how unprepared she was. Had she received any training? Was she just going through the motions?

She was pitching a local hotel. After her introduction, she asked if I used local hotels for my customers. Being one that almost always visits my customers, my response was "very rarely." With that, she thanked me and was prepared to leave. What a waste! Never offered as much as a business card. She received a "no" and never bothered to ask why, tell me about her product or find out what I do. She made the effort to cold call at my location without an appointment and was not prepared to ask for anything.

There is a local packaging supplies company with a salesman who calls every month. I have not purchased from them but frequently purchase similar items to what they sell. Same conversation every time. "Just calling to see how you are doing on packaging supplies." Same answer every time. "We're good." He says thank you and tells me he will check in next month. Persistence is one of the key elements in successful selling however if you don't bother asking for something or give me some reason to buy, I never will. He has never even asked what type of products I do purchase. I would be willing to guess he doesn't even know what type of business I am in.

If you are going to the trouble of trying to sell your idea, make sure you know what you are selling and who you are selling to. You also should be clear on why they should purchase. What is the benefit or what's in it for them. Be interested in them. Ask for what you want. Your potential customer cares about themselves and the people who can benefit them. They don't care about you unless you can benefit them. Be someone who truly cares about their success and you will be rewarded.

If you stop spending your time on how much you are going to make and start focusing on how satisfied you are going to make your customers, success will find you. It always does!


I need a logo


I heard a story of a young entrepreneur who had a terrific idea for an eatery. He told me he must have the perfect logo to pursue his dream. He sought out the best artist he could afford to work on his logo. He rejected design after design. It just wasn't perfect enough. To him, he couldn't focus on his new venture unless he had the perfect logo.

Have you ever considered not going to your favorite sandwich shop because of their logo?

Step back and set your priorities. Decide what is really important to the success of your new idea. If your idea is your logo, then it is important. Other than that get on track and work on what's important to your success. I can promise you customers will visit your restaurant more frequently if the food is terrific, the atmosphere is comfortable, the service is impeccable and the pricing is fair.

While you might chuckle at this, I can't begin to tell you how many of us get hung up on the tiny details and loose sight of the big picture. Many would argue that a logo is important. Guess what... when your idea becomes successful you will have plenty of time to design an updated logo. Although, on the other hand, if your idea fails terribly, you will always have your perfect logo as a memory of what could have been!

  © 2022, Thomas Perlmutter Advertising, All rights reserved.