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5 Practical Tips for Brainstorming Business Ideas

When you hear the word “inventor” what comes to your mind? Images of America’s most accomplished inventors like Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison? Or do you think of the silly characters in movies—like Belle’s father, Maurice, in Beauty and the Beast, or Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown of the Back to The Future movie trilogy?

Obviously, not all inventors are as prolific as Edison and Franklin or as incompetent as Maurice and Doc Brown. Yet most people don’t think they have what it takes to be an inventor, to turn ideas into products, to build something from nothing.

But inventions aren’t all about scientific or mathematical formulas. Sometimes they’re just about the same entrepreneurial adage: find a niche and fill it.

Retailers can be inventors, too

Of course, retail and e-tail success is all about selling merchandise. But all too often you’re selling the same stuff as the store down the street or via dozens of websites around the country. One way to stand apart from the competition is to sell unique products. These can be hard to find since so many retail businesses source from the same places. So to really stand out, why not create your own exclusive products?

Yes, you can be an inventor. Here’s how:

1. Identify a niche

The best place to start is figuring out what the market needs. Don’t waste time and money creating a product you think consumers will love, only to find out too late they don’t. Start by reviewing your best-selling products. Then check your results against industry trends. Is there something you can create—an offshoot—that no one else is selling?

For example, let’s say you sell fashion accessories and one of your best-selling products are cross-body handbags. After talking to your customers you learn women like them because they can be hands-free. Think of other products you could create that have the same effect, like fanny packs.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel—you don’t have to create an entirely new product

The truth is only a small number of inventions are something that’s never existed before. Most new product launches are improvements or add-ons to something that already exists. You can expand your customer base by creating a lower-priced or more expensive version of that product.

3. Do market research on your new business idea

Doing market research to learn more about whether there is product demand

Expand your initial research and ascertain whether there really is a market demand for your new product. Make sure it doesn’t already exist in the market. Learn more by surveying your customer base. Also, check into secondary research sources, like Census Bureau data, information from the Commerce Department and industry trade magazines and websites.

Go online and search for products that resemble what you’ve come up with. Go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website, and do a patent search (it’s free) to see if anyone else has already invented and patented your idea.

4. Protect your business idea

Depending on what you’ve invented, you may need a design patent, a utility patent, or a copyright. A copyright protects artistic expression such as a graphic pattern or design on a clothing or home décor item. A design patentprotects a new, nonobvious ornamental design of products, and is mostly used for designs that are a slight variation or improvement on an existing product. A utility patentprotects the functionality of an invention. You can find if your concept is patentable by going to the USPTO site.

It’s smart business to hire an attorney who knows patents to make sure you’re protecting your idea and not inadvertently stealing someone else’s work.

5. Take notes—document the process from step one

Just in case you end up patenting your idea, you should document your idea generation and product development process. You’ll need a bound notebook with numbered pages that can’t be removed (meaning they’re not perforated). Computer entries will not work in this case. Write down your idea and everything you do to bring it to life. Date each page and keep it in safe place.

Source: allbusiness.com


  • ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ Robert Kiyosaki Asks, ‘Who’s Right?’ He Is A Billionaire $1.2 Billion In Debt, But Dave Ramsey Says ‘Live Debt Free’

    In a March 16 post on X, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki revitalized the ongoing debate regarding the role of debt in achieving financial success.

    Contrasting his stance with that of radio personality Dave Ramsey, a vocal advocate for a debt-free lifestyle, Kiyosaki’s insights stir a compelling discussion on financial strategies. “WHO IS RIGHT? My friend Dave Ramsey says ‘Live debt free.’ I say ‘I use debt to invest. I am $1.2 billion in debt,‘” Kiyosaki wrote, offering a bold entrance into the dialogue on debt management and financial freedom.

    Kiyosaki’s argument unfolds with a reflection on the wisdom behind Ramsey’s advice versus his own. Acknowledging the validity of living debt-free for the majority, he said, “For most people with low financial acumen, Dave’s advice is the smarter advice.”

    Yet, he counters this by highlighting the potential benefits of debt as an investment tool for those well-versed in financial matters. “For the financially educated and experienced, my advice may be better,” Kiyosaki said, suggesting a tailored approach to financial decision-making based on individual knowledge and experience levels.

    This perspective is rooted in Kiyosaki’s financial journey, marked by his substantial $1.2 billion debt — incurred not as a burden, but as a deliberate strategy to invest in assets like gold and silver. Critiquing the conventional approach of saving cash, especially after the U.S. dollar’s decoupling from the gold standard in 1971, he presents his debt as a calculated risk aimed at wealth accumulation.

    “If I go bust, the bank goes bust. Not my problem,” he said.

    He views debt not only as a leverage tool but also as a means to potentially exploit tax advantages. He has repeatedly declared being a “debtor” means he doesn’t pay taxes. A 2022 YouTube short adds depth to Kiyosaki’s perspective, showcasing his direct critique of the debt-free lifestyle popularized by Ramsey. “And my friend Dave Ramsey says ‘live debt free.’ Well, you’re an idiot. I mean he’s my friend, but I say ‘Dave, I like debt,’” Kiyosaki said, indicating a preference for debt as a vehicle for financial advancement. Despite his bold stance, he concedes, “I know but most people can’t handle debt.”

    At the heart of this debate lies the key issue of financial literacy. Kiyosaki emphasizes the importance of individual acumen in navigating the complexities of debt and investment. By urging his audience to evaluate their financial literacy, he invites them to choose the path that best aligns with their understanding and experience.

    The question of who is right in this debate depends on your individual goals and comfort level with debt. For some, the idea of owing money to creditors is unbearable, creating immense stress and anxiety. Having zero debt provides peace of mind and aligns with a more conservative, risk-averse approach to personal finances.

    However, for others like Kiyosaki, using debt as a tool to invest and grow wealth is a core part of their business and investment strategy. His model is built on leveraging debt to acquire assets while using that debt to reduce tax liabilities.For anyone navigating financial decisions, understanding core financial concepts and being prepared to manage obligations responsibly is crucial, regardless of whether you plan to take on debt. Consulting with a qualified financial adviser can provide personalized insights, helping individuals assess the suitability of various strategies — including leveraging debt for investments — based on their unique financial situations and goals.

    Sources: Yahoo Finance

    © 2024 Yahoo Finance . Yahoo Finance does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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