How to Find Out If Your Product Is Any Good

Dennis Green
A free video tutorial from Dennis Green
Entrepreneur / Inventor
3.9 instructor rating • 2 courses • 5,002 students

Learn more from the full course

How to Invent a New Physical Product That People Will Buy

The Step-by-Step Guide to Inventing Simple Gadgets That Earn Millions

03:15:38 of on-demand video • Updated February 2020

  • Learn how to create a useful gadget that has a good chance of selling to retailers and online distributors like Amazon
English [Auto] In this lesson we are going to help you answer the number one question entrepreneurs face when creating a new product or starting a new business. That question is how do you know if your product is any good. How do you know what people go buy it. We have been counseling entrepreneurs for decades. And over and over we see them fall into the same destructive pattern. They fall in love with an idea rush off and invest a ton of money in patents and inventory without first understanding the fundamental reasons why their big idea is destined to fail. We know how exciting it is when you get a big idea you can't wait to get started. You think all you need is the perfect name. A patent pending and a great Web site and you'll be on your way. And yet you haven't asked yourself this critical question. What is wrong with my big idea and how can I fix it. How can I be sure my product makes sense before I throw money at it. We have seen too many entrepreneurs fail because they didn't ask the basic question of what makes a marketable product. That's why this first lesson is about making sure your product solves a problem that enough people care about for you to make money. Let's talk about problems. Consumers need to buy products that solve problems. People also buy products that add pleasure and joy to their lives. But for now we're going to talk about and focus on problems. How do you pick a problem to solve. How do you know if it's a problem that's worth your time and energy to solve. If you have several problems to choose from how do you pick the one that has the best chance of delighting the customer and making money. When we created our first product in 1976 we thought people would love it. We wanted to express ourselves and make enough money to keep doing what we love doing. So we didn't have to work for somebody else doing what we didn't love doing but that was more my need that it was Mary Louise. Yes I was teaching sixth grade at the time and loving it. I was an architect and we were going through another recession and like our last recession in 2009 nobody was building anything. I was lucky enough to get a job with an Arts Foundation and I should have been grateful. But I wasn't really creating anything. We had this big idea that people would buy abstract art if it were offered in a different way like package is a gift for a housewarming present you can give instead of a bottle of wine. Did it turn out to be a great idea in the first year. We sold twenty eight thousand dollars worth and we lost money. We won't list all the problems but the big problem was. Why. Why did people need our product. We discovered that to our surprise people didn't need it for one obvious reason. People don't typically give art to one another. It's a little like giving friends personal items like underwear shoes. Art is also very personal and it's something we choose for ourselves not for others. Why didn't we realize that before spending twenty thousand dollars on printing and frames and glass and shipping boxes. This story is a prime example of solving a problem for yourself rather than for the user or consumer was giving art. A well known problem we were solving. No it was a problem we dreamed up to give ourselves a reason to start a business. We created a solution for a problem that didn't exist. You could argue that finding a good gift is a problem and that's true and here's why gift stores exist. Gifts solve problems for the giver. But what about the receiver. The products you create need to solve a problem for the customer or user not for yourself. It's OK to create something you would buy yourself but you have to be sure it is something enough other people want to justify starting a business with. If you create something you think will sell and gift stores or shoe stores or in pet stores or maybe hardware stores you need to be sure that a lot of other people are looking for that kind of product. The point of our sad story is this. We want you to think about the most basic reason for creating a new product and that reason is to add something positive to the fabric of someone's life not your life. It doesn't matter what you like or you don't like. What matters are the problems you solved for people and how you enhance their lives. Be sure your product has a reason to exist apart from your need to create it. It's why we begin by asking you to think about the problem you are solving and your typical customer and by customer we mean many customers not three people who said they like your idea. Are you bringing to the world something that people want and offering a benefit. They care about. Ask yourself Are you assuming a real problem that more than a few people have expressed is bothering them. Is there already a market for your product. Are there other products that solve the same problem you are solving. How does your product compare to other products that are selling in the same category. Is there something special about the way you solve the problem that a smaller cheaper longer lasting easier to use. Does it save time or money. Does it make people laugh cry. Does it make them feel loved or remembered or smart or admired. Now you should be thinking more strategically about identifying a problem and have a better understanding of how to look for problems to solve. You now know the most basic reason for creating a new product is to add something positive to someone else's life not your life in the next lesson or focus on the importance of testing your big idea before you try to turn into a real product.