How Long ‘til I Get There?

Inventor Lady
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One of the questions I frequently hear is “How long will it take to get into the marketplace?”  My answer is “It depends”.

My last blog was about creating a timeline that would help to keep you on track, but here are five circumstances that can impact your timeframe:

  1. Most inventors still have a day job (good idea—you will need the money), but this impacts how much time you have to work on your product.
  2. If you have family members to help with the work, you don’t have to bear the work load yourself.  You also have talent to draw on.
  3. Inventors who jump the gun without proper testing of the product not only cause delays, but can destroy the venture all together.
  4. Not all inventors have a good sense of business and this can also destroy your venture.
  5. Take some time to educate yourself on the industry you’re trying to enter but keep in mind that some industries have more competition and in those industries products enter the market faster than in others.

Let me share some stories:

Inventor 1:

This inventor had a cute, simple gadget that was well received by the focus group.  There was a big box store that was interested in getting the product onto the store shelves.  The problem was that the product didn’t have adequate testing, and it never did the job under the conditions that it was advertised.  By the time the problem was detected, the inventor had lost credibility in the marketplace and with the big box buyer.  It would have been wiser to take the time to do the proper testing rather than rushing to market.   Remember, you only get one chance to make a bad impression.

Inventor 2:

This inventor has been working nearly thirty years on his venture.  It has taken this amount of time to do the testing and analyze the results and test again when necessary.  He also had to be aware of his working relationships so that there would be no conflict of interest with a current employer.  Once he retired, he was able to finish up the testing and get ready to file a patent.

Inventor 3:

This inventor also had a simple gadget that was well received during early sales.  She took her time to make sure the product really worked as it was suppose to work before contacting any major distributors. She also took her time because she had a day job that was funding the venture so that she didn’t have to take on any investors.  It took three years to get from “I have an idea” to having dry ink on a major licensing agreement.

Inventor 4:

This inventor seemed to be doing everything right.  He had the patent search done early and evaluated by an Intellectual Property attorney.  His invention was an electronic gadget so he went to a tradeshow to learn as much as he could about the new products entering the marketplace.

What he didn’t take away from the tradeshow was the speed at which new electronic gadgets are developed and introduced into the marketplace.  He had someone lined up to write the program but couldn’t decide whether or not to make the commitment to spend the money.  By the time he decided to move forward, there were new products in the marketplace that were very similar to his original concept.  Keep in mind that if you identify a problem or conceive a new process, others are out there doing the same thing. 

I share these examples with you to aid you in understanding that circumstances, industries, proper testing and money will dictate how fast you can get into the marketplace.  Different products and industries have different elements and aspects that you need to understand and with which you need to contend.

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