Millions of people have good ideas but get intimidated by the complexities and costs of bringing a product to market. Venturing requires you to borrow money from friends, family, the government or banks- never easy, particularly at time like these. But from the teacher of Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) One Simple Idea (McGraw-Hill, April 2011, £17.99) demonstrates how Stephen Key has become the entrepreneur he had always dreamed of- without starting a business with a lot of risk, overhead and debt- and how anyone can do the same. All it takes is one simple idea—and the ability to translate it into a product that consumers want and that a company will want to make and market for you.
‘What's fantastic about this game’, Key says, ‘is that anyone can play it! Anybody can do what I've done’. One Simple Idea lays out Key’s ten steps to bringing your simple idea to market, and offers real opportunities for the individual inventor as so many companies are now embracing open innovation for new product development. ‘I don't have a background in sales or marketing or engineering’, he says, ‘all I have are ideas. It doesn't matter whether your idea is big or small. It doesn't have to change the world. It doesn't have to be the next best thing since sliced bread. And you don't have to quit your day job to start creating and licensing ideas’.
The secret to making your ideas profitable, Key says, is to put your talent and your time where the market is: ‘Don't be one of those nutty professor types who spends years and years and thousands upon thousands of dollars "inventing" something that can't be manufactured or sold’, he says. ‘Don't cling to an idea that isn't working and that no company wants to license. Good ideas are those that sell- plain and simple’.
Key has successfully licensed more than 20 of his simple ideas which have generated billions of pounds in revenue. ‘My product ideas range from the simple to the silly to the life-saving’, he says. ‘I re-envisioned the plain grey guitar pick as a blank slate for new colours and designs—paisley patterns and skull shapes, to name but a few—as well as for marketing tie-ins, such as names of bands and artists. This simple insight upped a 25p purchase to a £1 purchase, and has sold 20 million picks. One of my most successful inventions is the Spinformation rotating label, which adds 75 percent more information to bottle labels and has sold more than 400 million units worldwide’.
The book covers how to:
- Find winning ideas
- Protect your idea without expensive patents
- Create sales tools to bring your product to life
- Find potential licensees and the right contacts there
- Pitch your idea
- Negotiate a win-win licensing agreement
Key says: ‘All you need to create the life of your dreams are the 10 simple steps for bringing ideas to market—and one simple idea. Then another simple idea. And another simple idea . . . You get the idea.’