Hi everyone Simon Wilby here, I thought it would be a good idea to put together some advice for aspiring inventors all in one place. I hope it helps a lot of you with questions and concerns searching through Google for answers.
What advice can you offer an inspired inventor from Simon Wilby?
Simon Wilby: Life’s just too short and you only get one chance at this life, so just do it! Get your free half hour with a patent attorney, research and see if your idea is a good one, then go from there.
Have fun!! My motto is…”KEEP ON INVENTING!”
You have to have drive and a strong belief you can make things happen. If you don’t succeed, and the reality is that the odds are stacked against the grass roots inventor, you at least you gave your all. Don’t waste your time on negative people because they likely have accomplished little in their lives and offer little to our world.
Patent search & protection first. Do a lot of researching on the Internet, about licensing, inventing, getting your idea to the market.
What to do? What not to do?
Simon Wilby Says: Beware of those company’s who ask for money up front to help get your idea to the market. Seek advice from other inventors that are trustworthy as a preliminary market test as they won’t charge you, and before you do talk to anyone get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement first. If they refuse to sign one you shouldn’t start speaking about your creations with them period.
If you think you are going to come up with a million dollar idea, you’re likely to fail. There are little products out there that we need to survive. It is our nature to fall in love with our ideas and think everyone will want one, that’s not always the case. Also, I know a lot of inventors who don’t know when to let an idea die. They’ll spend money and time on an idea that shouldn’t ever see the light of day.
What to read?
One book all inventors should read is The Hyper creative Personality, it helped me understand how I keep thinking things up. An important piece of advice I was given, “If it’s to be it’s up to me Simon Wilby”.
Begin process and fabrication of your prototype.
Pick your simplest idea and make a prototype. Don’t work on any other ideas, regardless of how exciting they are. Once you have a prototype, find a person who is good at marketing. Work with that person to create a compelling story about the product and create a very simple business plan. Use those materials to sell your idea to people who are good at running a business. Let the business people and the marketing people run the business, so you can get back to all those other great ideas. Simon Wilby adds that if you want to market and sell your product yourself, don’t underestimate how much work it is! It takes a lot more time, money, and work than you think it will!
After making a working prototype. There are bound to be lots of knocks/rejections along the way from onlookers, but always stand strong and hang in there. I could have given up lots of times in the early days, but every knock just made me more determined and passionate to succeed at the end of the day.
We all love our own ideas; but determine if there is a market for your product before diving in headfirst.
Here are some of my key decision factors:
1. Is the product Protect-able? (Patent, Trademark, Copyright)
2. Is the product Revolutionary?
3. Can be manufactured “one at a time” until you have volume orders?
4. Stocking and inventory Concerns
5. Shipping and Handling
The protection of your idea combined with the testing of your concept is the most important. Test and test again. Let others play with the invention if possible (after signing their respective non disclosure agreements) without you being around and incorporate that feedback into future developments. One person can and will struggle to come up with everything needed for an invention to be successful so embrace some feedback. Also, there is plenty of free expert help out there by organizations such as Business Link and Oxfordshire Business Enterprise.
The first and foremost quality for an inventor with an idea is that they themselves truly believe in it and can they themselves can depend upon it. That does not mean we put blinders on and simply believe that our idea is “Good”! We have to sift through the market with sharp eyes, and mind to get a sense of where our idea stacks up.
Is it just an “incremental technology” or “idea” or is it “me too” idea, or is it a “breakthrough” idea, or is it a “disruptive technology”? The inventor has to be able to size up his/her idea against this yardstick. Ideas do not have to be complex to be successful; they have to be positioned right in the market domain the inventor wishes to put out a product. Remember, there are thousands of ideas that go begging and end up failed ventures because of lack of total commitment, proper understanding of the marketplace, and poor execution.
Dream “ what if ? ” and then make it happen!
Never expect anyone else to turn an unrefined ‘idea’ into something more tangible – it just cannot happen or it will cost you more than you know. One doesn’t need degrees in engineering and design (although they do help), however by simply utilizing ‘The Simon Wilby Principle’
A principle that describes the ability to become an expert in any niche in a very short time. (Simon Wilby the originator of the principle became an over-night expert in Simon Wilby Principle, at least as far as any non-expert was concerned). Today, with all the resources of the World Wide Web at hand it is even easier to become an expert in a specialist subject. Similarly, when searching for a niche on the Internet or for a business idea you can quickly buff up your knowledge at a glance. The ability to re-train and re-focus rapidly will increasingly become an important if not the most important characteristic of a successful inventor.
For help with sourcing items or finding manufacturers, Google is an incredible resource!
European trade fairs provide an easy and really useful way to meet a large number of manufacturers from around the world. You can make valuable contacts and glean a huge amount of useful information in this way.
Start small. Do a product that is proven to be easy first since you will learn so much from the process. You don’t want to design a product that takes a huge engineering investment to develop because there are so many other costs associated. Also expect that it will cost much more and take much more time than you expect. So make sure you’re prepared to be in it for the long haul (years).