When you've got a business idea, it's easy to get excited and start talking it up to possible investors. Often, this happens before the concept is fully baked. And that can mean missed opportunities.
Recently, on the History Channel reality-TV show Invention USA, one entrepreneur blew his chance to land an investment from the show's two inventor-hosts, Reichart Von Wolfsheild and Garrett Lisi.
Related: Quirky's Advice for Inventors: Study the Market
Postal worker, musician and inventor Chris Badynee created a cardboard box that is a stand-up bass and sells for substantially cheaper than a traditional bass instrument. One promising sign: Badynee has sold 2,000 of them already on his own.
In a test with three pro musicians, only one could tell the difference in sound quality. Pretty impressive for a piece of cardboard.
But there were problems.
The low-cost instrument comes as a do-it-yourself assembly kit -- and Von Wolfsheild and Lisi had trouble putting it together. Some of the pre-cut pieces turn out to be defective -- screw holes have been installed on the wrong side.
Related: The Key Question Inventors Don't Ask Before Seeking Funding
Worse, if purchasers make any error assembling the box-base, they have to buy another one and start over, as parts get hot-glued together. If the cardboard box gets damaged, you're out of luck. Clearly, the design needs some refining.
Finally, the market opportunity is fairly small. How many musicians do you know who play stand-up bass?
In the end, Von Wolfsheild and Lisi pass on investing in the cardboard instrument. If Badynee had refined his construction process a bit more before presenting his invention, he might have made a great connection with a couple of high-profile inventors with strong ties to angel investors. He may get some customers from being on the show, but the big investor who could make his product a national name remains elusive.
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