As an entrepreneur, there's a phrase you'll probably find yourself saying more often than you'd like: "Why didn't I think of that?" You open a magazine or watch a TV show and there it is -- a new product with potential for explosive success. The concept is so simple and startup cost so small that your intrigue turns to envy.
The trick is to avoid dwelling on feelings that you've missed an opportunity to create something unique. There's an endless amount of products and services that need to be created. The real question is whether or not you're looking in the right place.
Here are three ways to help you find your next brilliant product idea and bring it to life:
1. Be your first customer.
Some of the most successful products are born from a personal need to solve a problem rather than a desire to turn a profit. This is why creators of successful products often say that they got their big idea by solving a problem in their own life. The creator is his or her own first customer.
Start looking at your own life. What problems need to be solved? It doesn't matter how simple the problem is or how ridiculous the solution might be. Someone invented and marketed the Snuggie, after all. What matters is that solving this problem would make life easier or more enjoyable.
2. Make a prototype quickly.
What's most likely holding you back from developing a new product isn't a lack of ideas, but a lack of implementation. This is why creating a prototype as quickly as possible can be just as important as coming up with the idea in the first place. Prototyping allows you to see how your product operates in real life and if it really solves the problem or performs the function you think it will.
Take Ryan French for example. He was frustrated with the touch screen controls on his smartphone for gaming. Although he wasn't a seasoned entrepreneur or experienced in manufacturing, he solved the problem by developing a handmade clip that attached his android phone to a game controller. With the gaming industry as large as it is, he knew he could start a business. So he launched The Game Klip, which won the 2012 Shopify Build-a-business competition under the gadgets and electronics category.
One resource for creating a prototype is Trident Design, a boutique invention shop that brings many bright ideas to life. Depending on the scope of a project, costs can start at a few hundred dollars.
3. Be willing to adapt.
When Shazi Visram founded New York-based Happy Family, she began company with a vision to provide parents with a healthy alternative to processed baby food. But when she rolled out her line of frozen baby foods she realized that parents weren't shopping for baby food in the frozen section. They went to the baby section.
Visram changed direction from the freezer section to a line of organic shelf-stable products. Now the company is on a fast-growth track. Last year, Happy Family reported gross revenues of $62.8 million, up from less than $2 million in 2008.
Be open to adapt on your entrepreneurial journey. If you're too stubborn and too "in love" with your first idea, you might miss out on the success you're looking for.