The Invention Success Guide, Step by Step on How to Turn an Idea into a Successful Produc

No one is born to write, paint or read. They all learn. You can learn to make a product from an idea. All you need is to learn how.

By Seth Temko

Chapter 1.  You Can Actually Do It, Creating a Product

So you've had a great idea for a new product for a long time.  What's been holding you back?  Is it time, money or knowledge?  Being an inventor isn't easy but it can be highly rewarding.  If you do nothing more than try and ultimately don't succeed in the market, you'll learn a tremendous amount about creating a product and bringing it to market and about yourself.  In this book we're focusing on a roadmap to doing - to creating a tangible product and bringing it into the marketplace.

Success is part passion, part art and part knowledge.  You do not need a MBA or an engineering degree to successfully bring a product to market.  In fact, having one of those degrees can often be an impediment.  Those degrees don't teach you how to "create" much of anything.  They instead teach you to manage in an existing business.  But a startup business is not existing.  It's new.  There is no history.  Instead it's a set of milestones you need to follow and figure out.  Often this is accomplished one-by-one, step-by-step.

Natural Talent Vs. Learned Skill.

Some people need everything to be easy or they give up.  Creating a tangible product, manufacturing and successfully creating a market of buyers is definitely not easy.  It's harder and riskier than a services business and a software/web business too.  But it's absolutely doable.  Most people simply need to learn.

You learn by doing.

A Lesson from Art.

There are certainly some people that were born with a gift for art.  They require little practice to paint, draw or sculpt.  But just about anyone can paint, draw or sculpt to a reasonable ability with some focus, knowledge and some practice.  Can anyone make a living from the art?  No, but just about anyone can build enough of an ability that they will not embarrass themselves by showing their art to others.

My Lesson.

I know this by having been enrolled in a college newspaper design course.  The course promoted the use of desktop publishing (which was new at the time) so the expectation was the use of computers with everything.  Everyone was a bit surprised and not happy to learn we'd be spending a week drawing with charcoals.  The focus was on three dimensional geometric shapes.  At the start my efforts looked little more than kindergarten outlines.  By the end of the week I was creating three dimensional shapes with shading and shadow that made them truly look three dimensional.

That week of charcoal drawing didn't inspire me to switch majors to fine arts but it did help me to understand perception of depth, light and shadow and how to make good use of white space in design.  It also let me have a bit of confidence and a better understanding of what my art major friends were involved with.  It also gave me a better appreciation for art in general.

Everyone starts by knowing next to nothing.  It's actually doing and continuing with effort over time that makes us better and ultimately more effective.

We Don't Know What We Don't Know.

Often when a complex topic is new we know so little about it that we don't even understand "the depth of the waters".  We stare into the waters of the subject on the shore and we're afraid we'll quickly be "out of our depth".  You know what?  You're right.  You are out of your depth, but so what?

I guarantee there are many topics that you know so little about that you don't even understand "the depths" of your ignorance.  That is fine.  EVERYONE - starts with no knowledge.  Engineers, marketers, CFOs, manufacturers - everyone starts by knowing nothing and eventually learning enough to become competent and possibly even an expert in a specific area.

There is great news.  You don't need to be an expert in any of the areas you'll do business in.  You just need a level of understanding so that you can work with and at a high level direct others.  That means you'll be getting involved in some degree with all topics.  Some you'll enjoy and some you won't.  If you chose to not learn and completely rely on the expertise of someone else then you'll "live or die" by someone else's decisions.  This can be a very dangerous proposition.

Insecure entrepreneurs tend to "latch on" to the first perceived expert - but it ends up those “latchies” aren’t experts - you simply know too little to determine - and they steer you completely wrong.  Waste time, waste money, waste emotional energy and reputation - that's what's at risk.  Don't worry.  You're going to get some advice on reducing, but unfortunately not eliminating, these risks.

No one is born to a profession.  They learn it.

You don't need to be an expert in any area of creating, manufacturing and marketing your product.  You just need to learn enough in areas that you can make good decisions about your product, your business and the people you choose to help you.  This includes how to weed out poor resources from good resources.  We'll discuss that later.

The Fastest Way to Learn is Through Doing!

People learn in different ways.  In general, there are two ways to learn, passively and actively.  Passive learning includes reading, seminars, presentations, conversations and observations.  Many people are attracted to this mode of learning because it can provide a fundamental working knowledge and give people the "lingo" of a trade or industry.  This is the practical aspect of this type of learning.

There is also a psychological reason for this kind of learning.  It's safe.  Sometimes you don't want to bother someone as you are taught.  You may fear feeling "stupid" by asking basic or simply questions.  You may want things to be "easy".  BE CAREFUL on this thinking because it can be a "time suck".  You can spend many months in "passive mode" and at the end you don't accomplish much.  Because of the inefficiency in this type of learning you may not actually learn much either.

HOWEVER, as humans this kind of learning is inefficient.  Studies show that only 10% of passively learned information is retained. 

Active learning involves you actually doing things.  What can this entail?  It can include active research.  For example, you can benchmark competing or alternative products (NOTE: An alternative product is not an exact competitor but it can be viable alternatives to what you want to create).  Find their websites and copy and paste key details, research their sales totals, buy the products and literally tear them apart documented with photos of what their made of, etc.  Take all your information and synthesize it as strengths and weaknesses and write and paste photos of the different evidence for each category.

This may sound like a research paper and to a large extent it is but it’s your own research about your passion project and you’ll learn an awful lot.

THIS BOOK IS A PASSIVE LEARNING TOOL.  BUT, don't stop reading.  There will be many active learning objectives and planning later.  It is also a primer for online tools that will be available for you.

Active Learning, on the other hand, is hands on and has you actually doing the work.  The generally accepted retention rate for active learning is as high as 60%.  Active learning usually requires more time investment, but the outcomes justify the extra effort.

BEYOND THAT... if you intend to be an entrepreneur for largely the remainder of your life then you truly want to understand as many aspects of inventing, business, manufacturing and marketing as you can.  It doesn't mean you'll be good or great at all aspects of it.  Some things you'll love and some things you'll dread BUT you'll have a good base understanding of it all.

BESIDES... you're going to learn the things they can't teach you in college, or webinars AND you'll meet many people and build relationships and resources you will value and rely on for a lifetime.

BOTTOM LINE - Learn by Doing.  Use passive information to guide in a direction but the vast majority of your time should be spent in active learning.

Okay, You Can Learn and You Can Do, Now What?

This book is aimed at people who want to learn by doing AND you want to be successful in creating a business.  We are going to define success as financial success BUT it can also be social contribution.  Financial success is easier to define and track so we'll refer to it a lot.  Consider the contributions you make to society through what you do great, thick icing on that financial cake.

You have a couple of things working against you in creating a tangible product. 

Time.

It takes time to make something real.  Services and software can launch fast but real stuff takes longer.

Money.

It costs real money to learn, test, iterate and finally, produce and promote.  Real products can be a great business - when they're successfully in the market.  There is an investment in money to automate and to produce a lot.  You'll also be spending some real cash to do the research and development.  There is no getting around the fact you'll have to invest to create and then produce your product.  The main thing is to play this very, very smart.

Cut the Risk, A Lot.

What becomes much more powerful and improves your odds of success is when your milestones and your steps are in a structured progress plan.  For all you "free spirit types" hang in there.  It's really a lot more fun than it sounds.

When a process is laid out it is much less daunting.  We'll be providing a Transit Map to Success.  This is based on some best practices.  Keep in mind that this Transit Map is based on persistence and requires patience.  This is not a "hack" to get to market.  It instead is a way to reduce the risk of failure as you learn.

How You Fail - Your Risk.

You might be reading this thinking, "Risk? I just want to get going.  How do I start".  Risk management is a key to creating a financially successful business.  To boil it down there are some key concepts you'll need to understand.

Iterate, validate, move forward, REPEAT.

There is a very popular book that came out a few years ago called the Lean Startup by Eric Ries.  It popularized concepts of "minimum viable products" and "branch testing" for web application development.  The concept is you don't truly know what a customer wants or if they'll pay for it so you need to create simple, fast, low cost examples and test customer response.  Stick with what works and throw out the rest.  Of course, by being digital, there is a great capacity for these products to be quickly changed and shaped cheaply.

With a tangible product those kinds of changes are often more difficult especially after you have created prototypes and moved to manufacturing.  The cost of changing at that point can put you out of business before you ever get to market.

BUT, the concept of testing the market, again and again and again is highly desirable and quite possible with tangible products.  It just needs to be approached in a different way and it requires some forward planning.

Validate your market, again and again.

Most entrepreneurs think they know their market.  In my experience only about 10% really do.  Your market is the people who will reach into their pockets and pull out their hard earned dollars to buy your product and if you're very lucky they'll be so glad, they'll tell someone else to buy.  If you think you know your market and you aren't already selling products to it already - you are probably wrong.

In fact, YOU NEED TO ASSUME YOU ARE WRONG and be pleasantly surprised to have evidence to the contrary - again and again.  Be your own worst skeptic (without giving up) and you'll probably do very well.

Field of Dreams Syndrome.

I hear so often from frustrated entrepreneurs that if "they just had the product they'd sell a million of them".  I call this the Field of Dreams syndrome.  This is based on the movie with Kevin Kostner.  In that movie, a farmer on the financial edge turns his corn fields into a baseball park because the ghosts of baseball's past tell him, "If you build it they will come".  At the end of the movie when they are close to financial ruin droves of cars come out with people to play baseball.  Kostner's character is vindicated and the dream becomes reality.

Hey, this isn't Hollywood folks.  If someone told me they are a farmer in the middle of nowhere and they are literally going to bet the farm on building a baseball recreation park I could probably invalidate that idea with 3 hours of market research.

Dreams are great, but a successful reality outcome is soooo... much more satisfying.

You have to ask yourself, "Am I building a ballpark in the middle of a corn field?"  You then need to validate that it's a good thing to do.  A million product units of just about anything costs several million to manufacture.  How do you get that capital and are you going to risk it all on a "Field of Dreams"?

Assumptions to Test - Over and Over.

You picked the wrong market.  You zeroed in on the wrong people.  Your product doesn't have enough value to buy.  Your prices are too high.  Distributors won't want to work with you.  Your costs won't scale down the way you thought.  Competitors can easily move in and kill you.  You can't pull off some key functions yourself.

Whew... it's psychologically heavy, but the above assumptions keep you on your toes and keep the blinders off your eyes.  One of the worst things you can do is be narcissistic about your product.

You're Bias Makes You Your Own Worst Enemy.

Entrepreneurs are risk takers, dreamers and optimists (in general).  They have to be.  The odds are stacked against them and the world is full of ambivalent and skeptical people.  But that same "risk on" attitude is often one of the largest barriers to success.

In the book Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In by Mark Goulston and John Ullmen, they discuss four perceptual traps that are worth considering.

1) The Fight or Flight Response - this is the primitive brain at work.  We all have it.  Situations trigger a response that rushes us with adrenaline and prepares us for action.  These triggers are a "perceived threat".  We don't have to be staring down a mountain lion to feel the effects.  When we get into an emotionally charged situation this response can kick in, in an office, on the street or in your own house.  In these situations, if left unchecked we'll furiously argue or completely shut down.  In situations where we're trying to get feedback from people we need to be calm and conscious of our emotional reactions.  If you berate a critic (often friendly ones) or tune them out, then you're not doing yourself any good and you are potentially alienating a future ally.

2) The Habit Handicap - when we are stressed we lose creativity and new ways of thinking.  We tend to fall into old habits of thinking and acting that have been successful (at least we think they were successful) in the past.  We effectively put ourselves in a box and limit how effectively or creatively we deal with what's wrong or blowing up around us.

3) Error Blindness - this is the natural reaction that everything is fine around us and we shut off searching our "environments".  This is common in traffic accidents.  You are driving along and you switch lanes - bam, hitting another vehicle.  Your first reaction was "that guy came out of nowhere" and "that jerk".  It could very well be that you were driving too fast, not obeying traffic rules, distracted with your phone, etc.  We assume everything is safe and good - dropping our guard and awareness of issues and dangers.  "Don't fix what ain't broke" falls into this category as well.

  4) Knowledge Bias - what we know colors our judgment heavily.  We see everything so clearly.  "Why doesn't everyone see it?  It's obvious."  This is the danger zone of negative feedback echoing in your mind as "they just don't get it".  Elizabeth Newton did research with college students about knowledge bias.  She gave college students a list of commonly known songs.  She had one student knowing the song tap on a desk the melody of the song to a student ignorant of the title.

The students with the songs predicted that half the other students would get the song right.  The results?  Only 1 in 40 songs were guessed correctly.  Not only were the actual results much lower than expected but the persons who knew and tapped the songs out often got frustrated and even angry that the other students weren't able to recognize the songs.

Objective Feedback, Basic Tools Help.

Using tools like questionnaires, prescreened questions or even third parties to conduct interviews can be immensely effective in countering these effects.  Voice recording interviews can be very helpful in listening later to the conversation and discerning both what the feedback was and what your interaction was like.  It also allows you to use other people to listen to the interview and provide their own opinions on the answers and provide feedback to you on your own tone, reactions and rapport.

Sample Size.

You need to have a reasonable sample size for feedback.  In statistics a truly random pool (think computer randomly programmed to select 40 names out of a phone book) of 40 survey respondents can be considered statistically valid.  Of course, you probably aren't going to be pulling names out of phone books.  So, to counter this get feedback from a few hundred people.

Sound impossible?  It's not as difficult as it sounds thanks to the wonders of the Internet.  There are numerous forums, tools and paid services to help you out.  Try Survey Monkey to start, it's free.  Also consider creating a simple survey website.  I've found Weebly to be a free-to-cheap online hosting service that is ultra-easy to setup.  They have survey functions that are drag and drop and submissions get emailed automatically to your inbox.

Face-to-face allows more feedback and follow up questions at the end (make sure you complete your standard questions first) but remember your presence can influence (both positively and negatively) the answers people will give.  Go where there are lots of people knowledgeable about your industry, product or interests easily at tradeshows.

Evolving Feedback - Getting Iterative.

As you work on your product you'll have more and better things to present to get feedback.  At first you may have nothing more than enthusiastic conversation.  Later you'll be able to present sketches of the product and describe specific benefits and features.  Ultimately, you'll have solid prototypes or even functioning ones to explore with persons.

Using the same persons for rounds of feedback help you in several ways: 1) you can polish your communication skills, 2) you can judge better when you're on or off track, 3) you may really surprise people (positively or negatively), and 4) you can use this process as a tool in developing partnerships or even raising funding.

Real World Example.

I was working with small electronics products and we had five colors.  The more color variation, the more expense we had in stocking products and the more expensive the product was to produce.  I wanted to move us to one color for cost efficiencies.  It seemed from sales numbers that the colors were roughly sold equally but I suspected that the sales people "pushed a color" based on inventory levels and ad hoc sales incentives.

At a major national trade show, I lined up one of every color in the back of our exhibit.  I politely asked everyone who stopped by to take just one minute and vote on their favorite color.  A dark ruby red color garnered 67% of the votes from several hundred people.  We had our color and dropped all the rest from production.

This was a fast, cheap and effective way for the market to tell us what feature to keep.  It's also an example of simplifying our product to contain costs.  Ultimately we brought back a second color, black but that was to satisfy one particularly large client.

You Have to Get Off Your Butt.

You can't do everything on the phone or your computer.  You have to go out and meet people.  Don't be scared.  Most people will be intrigued that you're building your own product and your own business.  Most Americans love the dream of entrepreneurism but don't live it.  They can live vicariously through you!

You will get more feedback and build stronger relationships by meeting face-to-face.  Don't forget to ask each person if they know of others who might be interested in what you're working on.

TIP: You need to document and track all your interactions.  It sounds tedious but it is enormously helpful as your project builds and evolves.  Some people use online tools like Salesforce.com to track all their meetings and conversations and treat it like a "sales pipeline".  A sales pipeline is a tracking process in your sales efforts to help you stay on top and convert opportunities to completed sales.

You might think, "I'm not selling".  But really you are.  You are selling your idea, needs, benefits, values and to some extent even yourself.  What you lack is the "closing" objective of sales.  At least at first you are.  In the long run you'll go back through your contacts and figure out who can help me in various things such as funding, distribution, market introductions, manufacturing, etc.  Sometimes people will love your idea but you're simply too early in your process.  Don't lose track of them.  Email, call or see them again and make them aware of your progress.  You want to build relationships.

If you don't track everything you'll lose contact opportunities in the big picture of what you're doing which will slow down your progress and success.

I'm not saying treat people like objects to get your way.  I'm stating that after you have spoken to dozens and then hundreds of people you will lose track of many of them and often contacts that were less important early on become very important later.

If you don't want to use online tools then at least use a spreadsheet as a tracking document.

Your Feedback Team.

Start a feedback team.  This consists of people you want to get future feedback from on your product.  Remember you need a diverse group - even those that think your idea is plain dumb.  Create a distribution list for your feedback round ups.  You'll use this team again and again as you iterate through all the different parts of your project.

Be sure to be polite and courteous and always thank them for feedback they provide.  Even if you hate it.  Remember it's not about stroking your ego.  It's about having a successful business through your successful product.

A Successful Mindset.

There are many things we can't control but our Mindset is one thing we can.  Half the battle of being a successful entrepreneur is battling the emotional toil and turmoil we often feel.  Your journey will be stressful and often you're so caught up in the details that you'll lose sight of the big picture.

Keys to a Mindset of Success.

Be Yourself.  You are who you are.  You have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else.  Some people fall into the trap of trying to be someone they are not.  This is obvious to people.  If you don't have an engineering degree, MBA or years of management experience - THAT IS OKAY!  Not everyone does and even if you did there is plenty of things you wouldn't be good at even with that experience.

You have to be comfortable in your own skin.  The work ahead of you will have enough moments of stress and frustration that if you can't be yourself you'll probably go over the edge.  With that said, be confident in your ability to learn, adapt and apply what you learn to your project.  Who you are now in the beginning is not who you will be when you complete your journey and bring a product successfully into a marketplace.

Persistence.  You will have good days and bad days but you must persevere.  Persistence is a core value for entrepreneurs.  Does it mean you relentlessly pursue a single path?  No.  This is a journey and no particular direction is fixed.  The value of a startup is the ability to rapidly "pivot" and change direction.  You need to persistently pursue your markets, your R&D, your distribution methods and your manufacturing.  Don’t give up.

Flexibility.  You will never have as much money; people resources or time as you'd like.  Get over it.  It's every entrepreneur’s reality.  You must remain flexible to work with what you have and what you can get a hold of.  If you are constantly chasing more, you'll sacrifice current achievement for uncertain achievement in the future.  You will have imperfect knowledge and you will learn by doing.  As you gain knowledge it will increase your confidence and ultimately it will open up new doors.

Be flexible (and creative) to figuring out what you can do now.  Be flexible as new opportunities present themselves.

Skeptical.  We've already explored this topic.  I'll add one more thought.  If you don't like the word skeptical then use critical.  There have been critics in newspapers and magazines for as long as there have been publications.  Why?  People value educated opinions.  It gives a basis of comparison, things they have not considered and it reduces risk in a bad dining experience, a dumb movie, etc.  Don’t blindly always think you’re right and others are wrong.  They may be very valuable critics.

Simplify.  Simple things are good things.  Complexity is the enemy of achievement.  You need to take a hard look at your product and focus on JUST what you understand people are willing to pay for.  Everything else is fluff.  If you can cost effectively fit in the fluff - great.  But fluff gets shoved to the end of the priority line.  Start simple.  When you think you've stripped down the idea enough - strip it down some more until it's just about unbearable.

Iterate.  Okay we've also touched on this topic and we'll be discussing it even more.  Start basic and build from there.  In the beginning of your efforts think that everything will probably be "throw away".  It is unlikely that your first direction will be the best direction OR even a viable direction.  As humans we increase our efficiency and the quality of our efforts through repetition, refinement and evolution of task.  You must iterate your product ideas and development.

Improve.  The piggyback on the concept of iteration you will be going through a process of constant improvement.  You will learn over time.  You will get new ideas and constant feedback.  You start small (see simplify above) and build up.  IT IS FAR EASIER TO MAKE SOMETHING MORE COMPLICATED THAN TO SIMPLIFY SOMETHING.

Your Transit Map for Success!

The map below is your key to a successful product business.  It's based on best practices and its highly useful.

Case Study – Gramovox.

I met Pavan Bapu in the fall of 2012.  He was an energetic and impassioned online marketer that had the vision of taking an old-fashioned gramophone and bringing it into the modern Bluetooth age.  He didn't know anything about manufacturing.  He didn't have a background in engineering, manufacturing, distribution or anything else.  His strength was researching his market.  This was natural as he's a millennial and he was professionally doing web based marketing.  So, his occupation involved figuring out what people were interested in and providing it.

That's a simple concept but powerful - figure out what people are interested in and provide it.

Large companies do this through research studies.  Politicians do it through polling.  BUT anyone can research their markets.  They need to know what to look for.

We'll come back to Pavan and Gramovox later but leave it to be stated he created a functioning prototype for under $20,000 and subsequently raised over $240,0000 on Kickstarter to complete his R&D.

Top 13 Reasons to Start a Product Company

  1. You can profitably manufacture products in the US
    2. A 12-year-old programming in his basement is never your competition
    3. Tangible goods can be highly profitable
    4. Tangible goods can be stored
    5. Economies of scale apply
    6. Everyone needs "stuff"
    7. Perceived value can be immensely greater with tangible goods verses digital goods
    8. Businesses with marketable tangible goods are easy to sell
    9. Research and development is a real and credible barrier to competition
    10. Patents are highly applicable in ways well beyond software
    11. Tangible goods companies employ a greater range of labor skills benefiting more classes of society
    12. It a very proud moment to hold something useful in your hand and say "I made this" and hand it to the person next to you
    13. A whole extended family can earn their livings at the business

Recognizing Who You Are and Where You’ll Need the Most Help

Technocrats, Marketeers and Passionates.  In general, entrepreneurs looking to create a product fall into three categories:

1) Technocrats.  Those with technical knowledge but lack business skills for business planning.

2)  Marketeers.  Those with marketing, business knowledge but lack technical knowledge.

3) Passionates. Those with enthusiasm but a lack of both technical and business knowledge.

Each category of entrepreneur brings different skills and abilities to their project.  Each one requires different levels of assistance to achieve market success.  All require money, knowledge expertise and business partnerships to be successful.  However, there can be very large differences in foundational knowledge.  Mostly these differences translate into increased timelines to fully development and deploy a product to market.

Technocrats.  Those with technical backgrounds or prior experience with manufacturing often have reduced timelines to complete R&D cycles but often fall victim to ignoring business planning.  They tend to "finish" a tangible deliverable (i.e. prototype, engineering plans, first articles of production) but then are "dead in the water" for lack of knowledge in how to validate their market or even approach their market.

Often the product they are working on is an offshoot or outgrowth of one of their full-time technical efforts.  It could be a product path abandoned by a client.  It could be a product concept they derived from work on a project.  Often it is a mash up of engineering concepts they know and understand but applied in a new way or a new market.  Often, they know instinctively that a product is technically viable.  Technical viability means they know that the technology exists to build the product (a R&D success metric), they know that a product is manufacturable (a manufacturing success metric) and they know in general how much the product will cost to R&D, tool and manufacture (a business planning success metric).

But often they lack the knowledge base of determining a market environment and customizing the product specifically for the customer among many other market related issues.  They also typically don't know how to create sales channels and lack access to financial capital.

Marketeers.  Those with business planning experience are sales persons, marketers, small business owners, channel managers, etc.  They tend to understand product targeting and distribution methods.  They have experience with targeted markets.  Their product may or may not deal with that specific market expertise.  Regardless they often feel confident that once they have "it" they will convince the market they need to buy.

In general, these entrepreneurs get excited about the selling, marketing aspect of the product.  They tend to create very large, very complex market targets and speak in terms of the many millions of buyers or the many billions of dollars spent in that product category.  They are passionate about the enormity of the opportunity.  Often however, they lack concrete and definitive steps for getting started, testing and validating markets or "laser" targeting who their first customers are.

Usually this category of entrepreneur will have at least some of the pieces of a business plan.  They will have product statement and descriptions.  They will have some market research on industry size.  They may have product competitive listings.  They will list different channels of distribution.  They may have profiles written on customer types and targets.

Often, they don't know where to get started in creating a product.  Usually they start by filing for a provisional patent because they believe they are "protected" in some way.  They are often intimidated by technical teams and "latch on" to the first friendly people who will begin to educate them on R&D and manufacturing.  Are these resources a good fit?  They don't know.  They have no basis to compare.  Usually they are just relieved to get some help.

Passionates.  For those without technical or business backgrounds they tend to run on pure and unbridled passion for an idea.  Some might refer to them as "barstool" entrepreneurs but unlike idle dreamers they begin to "take the plunge" and spend some of their money and focused time principally on learning, albeit piecemeal, about what they need to do to turn their idea into something real.  Once again, many in this category start by filing provisional patents and pursuing technical resources that will donate time to their foundational learning.

Often the Passionates will talk about several iterations of their products.  "I'll start with X and then I'll change this and this."  Often, they are debating in their own minds several product ideas and lament over which product to start with.

A good way to think of these individuals are a powerhouse of energy but a high level of inefficiency because they lack a good knowledge base to channel that energy into.  Often creating a structure by which they pursue and learn allows them to advance their business planning and R&D dramatically fast.  When they improve their efficiency their sheer determination to move forward can fundamentally overcome many issues of lack of prior experience or gaps in knowledge.

This drive is counterweighted by extended timelines in R&D and business planning.  "They don't know enough to know what they don't know".  That gap in knowledge needs to be filled before they progress.  One-on-one it requires a tremendous amount of time to fill the gaps.

So, where did you self-identify?  It was certainly one or two categories.  This is going to give you a good insight on the kind of people you need to partner with.  Speaking of partner, you may want to consider having a partner in your new business.  Partner teams of Marketeers and Technocrats tend to be great matches.  Don’t take the first person who comes along in that category but do give it some thought.

If you identified with all three categories, then I’m not sure what’s holding you back other than fear of failure.  You should have all the general skill sets and drivers to make your product a reality.

Now, in touching on fear holding you back, that’s common.  Everyone suffers from that demotivation.  It’s part of being human.  It’s also something that can be overcome.  A great way to overcome fear of failure is to have a plan for success.  And oh, yes, we’ll be building a plan.