Importance of Focus for Inventors and Entrepreneurs

September 10, 2012 | By | Reply More

One of the most important pieces of advice that I can give inventors is to focus. That is, to devote your inventing to an area where you develop experience, contacts, and a track record.


The advantages to focus include having the chance to learn all of the players, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and developing a reputation (helping to open doors). Each market today is so particularly about prices points, regulatory issues, and retailer demands that it becomes impractical for an inventor to understand these matters for more than one area.

How you define your focus can vary:

  • An area of focus might be a client: I only develop products for Sunbeam.
  • Or it might be a retail category: I design office pens and desktop items.
  • Or it might be a material or technology: I design products with a new multi-use adhesive.

Inventors sometimes argue that focus hampers their creativity and puts too many eggs in one basket. In my experience, just the opposite takes place. By concentrating on a niche, inventors achieve greater success.

For example, one of our inventors designs exclusively for Mattel. He knows what lines are working and what lines are failing. He stays up on the latest chip developments. And he meets once a quarter with his key contacts. He makes a living inventing full time.

Another inventor has developed a great relationship with a leading sound chip company. She meets regularly to see what they have. Armed with this information, she comes up with toys and simple computer gadgets. She, too, has been very successful.

Sometimes the right thing is to put all your eggs in one basket—and then, as the saying goes, watch that basket very carefully.

Think innovation. Think BIG.

Recommended Books for Inventors:

 About the Author: 

Mike Collins is the Founder & CEO of Big Idea Group. Article originally published on August 2008.
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Category: Success Factors

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