First, You Dream

The Right Mind-Set

Many would-be inventors are "done in" by information--having too much and, at the same time, not having enough. The euphoria resulting from that initial rush of inspiration can fade quickly when confronted with the all-too-common questions: Now what? Is my idea good? Is it original? Is it worth anything? Will it sell? How do I protect it? Market it? Secure financing for it?

Take comfort in knowing that every inventor has to deal with the same issues, and you must be prepared to deal with them, too.

First, you need to realize that any great idea is a big deal. Success could make you your own boss, greatly expand your existing business and even give you financial independence. This knowledge should be your source of inspiration and motivation.

Yet many armchair inventors sit waiting for some orderly system to materialize which will turn their idea into a success. Stop waiting. It doesn't exist. You must choose among a staggering number of options for getting your product to market and determine which ones will suit your needs. Each product and service in the market today took a unique path, and a path that worked for any one of those ideas will not necessarily work for yours.

Having invented several products, I personally know the challenges and rewards of inventing. My goal in this column is to offer entrepreneurs advice on, insight into and facts about the world of inventing--to be a voice for entrepreneurs looking to understand more about the product development process.

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This article was originally published in the January 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: First, You Dream.

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