What kind of person are you? Do you pull the trigger, or do you just talk? Personally, I am a trigger puller, I feel it’s the only way to live life. Most people, though, I feel, are talkers, and rarely pull the trigger.
Do you know what I’m talking about? What do I mean about “pulling the trigger?”
Well, what I mean is this… if you get an idea for something, do you actually do it, or do you talk about it, then promptly just blow it off? I hear a lot of people tell me of ideas they have for some kind of new product or service, a new business that they just know will make them a fortune. They talk about it and talk about it, but I never see anything materialize.
A lot of people will come up with some kind of innovation, a slight variation on something that already exists. They tell me about it, and I think it sounds great. But, nothing ever happens. I don’t mean that they try to introduce it and fail, rather they just drop their idea after the initial excitement.
Fairly regularly, I get e-mails from people. They explain to me that they have an idea for something. Usually, they say:
I have an idea for this great new gizmo. How much do you think I can sell my idea for?
Well, frankly, in most cases you can’t sell an idea. You need to develop the idea first, maybe come up with some kind of prototype, and then you could perhaps sell it. Ideas are just that… ideas. They are, frankly, a dime a dozen. Nobody buys an idea.
Think of it like this. Just as an example, let’s say that you have invented some new kind of sauce, a condiment. It is very tasty, delicious, and every single person who tastes it thinks it’s the greatest new condiment since ketchup. So, you decide that you are going to contact Heinz and pitch the sauce to them. Surely they will like it, and they will pay you millions for the “idea”. Maybe they will even give you residual payments for the rest of your life. You are on the verge of becoming a millionaire!
The truth is that it is highly likely that Heinz will not even talk to you. Honestly, they don’t want to even know what your idea is. Why? Because they fear that you will end up using them. Why? Look, a big company like Heinz, who specializes in condiments, sauces and such has a huge research and development department. They have dozens, maybe hundreds of employees who work every day on combining different ingredients trying to come up with the next hot condiment. Now, if you write to them and say “hey, I’ve got this new condiment” and they say to come on down and tell them about it… well, what if you lay an idea on them which the research team is already working on? Maybe you have this idea for a sauce made from raisins and jalapeno peppers, something that you would think that nobody had ever even considered before. But, Heinz has 4 guys who have been perfecting this sauce for the past 3 years, and they are just about to introduce it to the market. You come in and tell them about your idea, and a month later the new Heinz sauce is on store shelves. You will sue them claiming that they stole your idea! The fact is, they had already been working on it for years, though. How can they prove it? Maybe they can, maybe they can’t… but, it’s a big expense for them, and a huge hassle. So, most big companies don’t even want to know your idea, for fear of lawsuits.
So, you get the idea for the raisin and jalapeno sauce, what can you do? Well, you need to do a few things. First thing is that you need to file for a patent of your idea. You see, when you file with the patent office, a search will be done to see if your idea really is unique. You also need to make some of this sauce, maybe do some taste testing to get a public reaction to it. If you get your patent, and you have some sampling data from taste trials, then you contact Heinz and say, hey, I have this new sauce, which I have patented, and here is some data showing strong public demand for the product. Then they will likely talk to you.
So, what it all comes down to is pulling the trigger. Instead of just thinking something up and trying to sell it, which is highly difficult to do, you need to actually take some action down the road toward product (or idea) development. Then you have something that you can sell if the demand is there. But, trying to just sell an idea is rarely doable.
As I said earlier in this article, I am a trigger puller. When I think of something that I feel has value, I usually take action. Note, I said usually, not always. Why usually? Well, here is my process that I follow:
- A new idea strikes me for a product or a service.
- I get very excited about this new idea.
- I will spend a few days or a few weeks thinking about the idea, picking it apart, looking for flaws or downsides.
- If the idea has merit after deep consideration, I pull the trigger and take action.
You see, probably half of the ideas that I get don’t withstand that scrutiny that I describe in #3. Usually, when I get an idea and get very excited about it, by the next day, I say to myself that it was a stupid idea and that I should just move on. A little bit of time wasted, but no big loss.
So, get into the habit of pulling that trigger if you really believe in your idea. Don’t just talk, do it. You can never succeed if you don’t try!
this was an eye-opener: i never thought companies wouldn’t be interested in ideas. good points. and well written, too.
Hi jjlumagbas – It’s really true. Most companies are scared to hear “ideas” for fear that they already are working on the idea themselves. They would have no interest to pay you a fee for an idea they already had themselves, and rightly so.
Thanks for your comment!
Bob, some interesting insights about the paranoia surrounding large corporation and their product development.
I must confess that I’m both a trigger-puller and a dreamer. Just as in step #3, most ideas do not survive my own intense scrutiny.
Hi Steve – Personally, I am not sure I would call the attitudes of major companies “paranoia” because I feel that in many ways they are justified to think that way. They have teams of people working on new ideas all the time, so it is somewhat justified.
I think to some extent we are all dreamers. But, pulling the trigger is an important thing that a lot of people just never get the courage to do!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
This is the first time I went to your website and it is very interesting and very imformative. Your tips are very encouraging specially to the people who have a lots of ideas but have not pulled the trigger yet. I do agree that there are a lot of things to be done when you have an idea but this is the good part of it because in all the things you wil have to do it will be a learning process. I myself have ideas and just need to pull the trigger but for now I am prepariing for it. Do you give advises to budding entrepreneus? I think you are veryknowledgeable when it comes putting up businesses.
Hi analissa – Sure, I am happy to give advice if I can. I am not perfect, but will always give the best advice that I can. If you have ideas that you want advice on, I can do it here on the blog comments for free, or if you want private advice, I can do that too, but would charge a consulting fee for that service. But, if the advice is general that others can also learn from here on the blog, that is free.
Pulling the trigger is very important. Many of us have good ideas, but if we don’t take any action by pulling the trigger nothing will ever come from them. If you can choose an idea that is not very expensive to try, then pulling the trigger presents very little risk for you, so that is a good place to start!