Ideas Written on Cocktail Napkins vs. Business Opportunities
We all come up with ideas, sometimes in a bar, others in the shower…
The truth of the matter is that we toss and turn all night going over and over it in our heads… “If it works out, I’ll be loaded.” “And if I fail…”
Starting today, it will be easier for you to differentiate between business opportunities and ideas written on a cocktail napkin.
Including technical complexity in a product does not make it “the bomb” on a business level.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I call this the theory of “Since we’re already here.”
Since we’re already here, let’s include another motor in it.
Since we’re already here, let’s include an alert of …
Since we’re already here, I want it to be loaded with solar panels.
Since we’re already here…
The theory of “Since we’re already here” is an absolute loss of focus.
My tip is to think of the minimum working prototype you could offer clients to resolve their problem.
This change of approach will allow you to arrive at a working prototype in less time and for less money.
You’ll jump into the pool, but with water wings.
To make it easier for you to understand, here’s an example:
Paco is staying at a hotel in Paris.
He’s a fan of Real Madrid, which means he gets to attend and enjoy exciting finals matches.
I don’t dare go on… I’m writing before the beginning of the match.
Now, try to remember.
I’m sure that when checking out of a hotel, you’ve been asked the typical question: Did you consume anything from the minibar?
In response to this situation, this is Paco’s idea:
“I’m going to invent a smart fridge that can track, in real time, hotel minibar consumption.
This way, when a guest completes his stay, the front desk will automatically have the billing information.
This will avoid errors and unnecessary losses due to guests’ faulty memory.
As if that were not enough, the guest will download an app so he can know how many cold beverages are in the minibar, request that they be restocked, or select the types of beverages he really wants.
The plan is faultless; hotels are going to multiply their sales.
It's likely that Paco’s idea is excellent.
As you can see, before taking the first step, he intends to solve two different problems:
- Improve the consumption and billing tracking system.
- Increase opportunities for in-minibar sales.
I do not deny that they are great opportunities.
Nor do I doubt that, after mulling it over a bit more, new ideas will pop up on how to perfect the product.
But, up to now, what does Paco have?
In terms of an opportunity, nothing. It is an idea written on a cocktail napkin. Like sketches for a house.
To turn it into an opportunity, he has to present a working prototype to hotels and demonstrate that there is a real interest on their part.
Listen, forget about patenting the “big idea” and sitting back and waiting for miracles. We’ve already spoken of that on other occasions.
For problem Nº 1, the main one: Improving the consumption and billing tracking system.
We could convert an existing fridge into an IOT device.
We could connect it to a website where consumption can be viewed, etc.
Don’t forget that the objective of this prototype is to bring the idea to life and turn it into a business opportunity.
We know how to do this.
Where does the usual error lie? The “Since we’re already here.”
It’s normal for Paco to not be satisfied with a basic prototype, one that only demonstrates that it solves the main problem.
Paco wants for his prototype to have “everything” and resolve whatever problems may have occurred to him.
Developing mobile apps for clients, with the technology required for users to be able to select which products they want the minibar to be stocked with, to know which beverages are cold and which are not, etc.
These requirements multiply by two the cost of the prototype.
So, neither one nor the other!
Paco ends up like most do:
With an idea written on a cocktail napkin turned into a utility model, while he waits for a miracle: the sale of the big idea.
Listen, it can be said louder, but not more clearly.
Ideas written on a cocktail napkin do not sell.
Industry representatives, investors and major distributors only buy business opportunities.
If you want to turn your idea into a real opportunity, count on me.
Remember... With these tips, I don't intend to sell you anything.
I fulfill my commitment to support our community of inventors.