We are approached by a very wide range of potential customers. From garden shed inventors to household brands.
There is an interesting difference of opinion kept by these different party’s regarding what type of products to develop. Whilst larger company’s usually focus their product development efforts on servicing an existing market, private inventors often feel they only have a chance if their idea is completely new, no equivalent product exists. We have seen many such people visibly deflated if they happen across a similar product on the internet after believing they were inventing a new product.
Whilst it may be easier to differentiate your new product if it has no direct competitors, the other side of the coin is that consumers may not be looking for it. So without clever and/or expensive marketing campaigns, how will the inventor persuade customers to buy their product? They have never needed it before.
Many recent innovations and headline grabbing successful product businesses don’t develop completely new products. They build on an existing platform with a proven customer base.
Dyson made an innovative step within an existing (and very competitive) market. But millions of people globally were already buying vacuum cleaners. Apple didn’t invent the personal music player. Many people owned ‘personal stereos’ for decades before the iPod was launched. They did create an object that was very desirable, but it could be argued the real innovation was the software that made buying and organising your music so simple.
The world is a big place, and consumers like choice. Don’t see a little competition as a bad thing! Work out what you can improve on and work with good designers who can help you make it a reality.