Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, but like any serious endeavor, the most important steps are the first ones. ?
By Tamara Monosoff
We have heard that moms are responsible for $2.1 trillion in consumer spending each year in the U.S. — and moms today are unlike any other moms in history. A full 88 percent of moms are responsible for the family’s finances and 60 percent are working and earn their own income.
Mom is in a key position to become an inventor
In addition to being the most consumer-savvy mothers to ever walk into stores or shop online, today’s mom is wired and uses technology to her advantage for instant information. Interestingly, a power shift has occurred. She is no longer attached or loyal to classic brands. Instead, she wants fresh products that are efficient, make her life easier, and are stylish. And if she can’t find what she’s looking for, she may just invent it. Not only does this give her the satisfaction of seeing her product on store shelves, but many mothers soon learn that becoming an entrepreneur brings the flexibility they need to both manage a family and provide additional income.
For the past 10 years, I have seen thousands of people transform that initial idea into creative, money-generating new products. And, with the resurgent economy and awesome new resources available for developing, manufacturing, funding, video marketing, selling and distributing products, the opportunity for inventive product entrepreneurs has never been better.
Get started on the right path
Treat your product idea as a business from the start
There is no true shortcut. With an open mind, analyze and understand the design and production costs, market size, selling price, profit potential and competition before you spend money bringing your product to market.?
A patent can be a useful tool but it is not a requirement and sometimes it’s a waste of precious resources. Consider taking advantage of a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) first. It is a placeholder that will buy you 12 months of time before you have to officially file a utility patent.?
Make it simple
Many new product ideas include flashy features from electronics to excessive bells and whistles that drive up production costs and the retail price. Creating high-quality products with fewer features — but priced right — can mean more sales and more money in your pocket.?
Be cautious of “opportunities”
Be careful to scrutinize companies that offer to market or license your product with sweet deals that sound too good to be true. Use the same good practices you would use to select a contractor, plumber or new nanny. ?
Raise smart money
Use crowd-funding, microloans, credit lines and new online options that fit your business. There has never been a better time to fund your business.?
Bring your product to life with a prototype
Start with something basic that will be refined over time. It does not need to be expensive or fancy.?
Celebrate your successes… large and small
Recognize setbacks for what they are — an unavoidable, and sometimes the most valuable, part of the journey. This is an opportunity to build a business and life that you love.
There are many steps along this journey, but with the abundance of new resources available you can take your idea and run. As Julie Martin-Allen, senior director of showcase events for Sam’s Club, said in the foreword of my new book, “My final advice to those readers who aspire to see their products on the shelves of the nation’s top retailers; be courageous and go for it!”
Tamara Monosoff is an award-winning inventor, media contributor, speaker and author of six bestselling books; including the new interactive version of The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing (second edition).