November 2012

How do you raise that elusive “bumper crop” in your business? How do you pick the right variety of wheat (or product) to grow?  It is very easy for us to emotionally invest too deeply into a new product idea too quickly.

Aside from lots of planning, hard work in execution, and some luck, you should see where your idea stacks up versus these five ideal requirements of a winning product before throwing too much emotional and real capital in the game.  I believe it takes hitting on at least three of these for any chance of success, and four for a near guarantee.

Five Criteria for a “Winning Product or Business”

1.   Addresses previously unmet need(s)
2.  Uses a creative new technical solution(s) or combination of
3.  Locks in some proprietary value
4.  Creates or serves significant market size
5.  Contains recurring revenue component

The most important requirement is arguably #1 – the unmet need. If you can nail this one, then the importance of the others lessen. If not, then you will need #2, #3, and #4 to win.  #2 and #3 are where an organization can flex its internal technical muscle. #3 allows for many years of success and brand/product protection. #4 is market size dependent, but usually means the product can capture at least 2% of the market in the first 3 years. #5 is not mandatory but when you get it, it really ups the odds of winning.

Next time you are fired up about a new idea, use these simple five criteria before planting your seeds.


November 3, 2012

The other central figure in my book.

Gordy & Bolo the dog, circa 1980

Gordy with all the essentials for work – a pair of pliers, a jack knife, and a snot rag. Couple these with a can of Copenhagen and an amazing German Sheppard dog who rode tall on the shop truck tool box, and there was hardly a job that Gordy would not tackle. The phrase There is more than one way to skin a cat” remains etched in my brain forever. I credit Gordy for teaching me problem solving skills and unconventional solutions.