We all have them. That great idea where we wonder, “Why hasn’t anyone else ever thought of this?” We come up with the idea, product or service that is just so practical that it is bound to be worth a fortune. But then what? How do we monetize this great idea for our own benefit and the benefit of society on a whole?
This has been a question on my mind a lot lately – as I am sure it is on the mind of every entrepreneur creating a start-up. The problem is that there is no clear cut answer that works in every situation. Many companies and individuals have turned to patents to protect their intellectual property. This however has also led to abuse of the patent system by companies who produce no products but own patents for the sole purpose of suing or settling with whoever infringes on these patents in the future. While this may benefit the patent holder the process, as it is now, stiffles innovation and may actually be detrimental to society on a whole.
I am convinced that the key to monetizing great ideas is to have the right team of people on your side. This does not need to be a team of experts but it does help to have people knowlegable enough in their fields to help you make the difficult decisions. These fields do not have to be strictly academic either. The motivator to provide the encouragement that keeps you going when success seems far away. The investor who has enough faith in you to provide financial support. The advisor who knows the industry and the challenges you are likely to face. The family members who uderstand the long hours and demands of running your own business.
Ultimately, before you can monetize your idea, you have to believe in it. You also have to be able to convince others to believe in your idea. Great ideas are the backbone of innovation and are usually accompanied by an extended family of not-so-great ideas. Even before your great idea has emerged you can begin working on your support team that will help you bring your idea into fruition.