by: Geoff Ficke

Converting an Idea to Income Is a Process That Requires Planting and Fertilization, Not Hope and Dreaming

Under the category of inexperienced blind hope, a surprising number of people that approach my Consumer Product Development group with a new business idea want us to find someone who will buy the concept in its undeveloped form. This always amazes, even after so many years of hearing these vapid elevator pitches. A person has an idea, they have performed little or no due diligence, and they believe it has commercial value. Daffy!

Behind every existing product, service or successful business there was originally an idea. In order to achieve any level of viability and ultimately market success, the idea was planted and fertilized with work, research, investment (money and sweat), strategizing, and so many other necessary layers of work product that confirm the concepts usefulness or lack thereof.

A person that attempts to peddle an idea without conducting necessary due diligence is immediately obviated as a wastrel. Ideas are a dime a dozen, actually they are worth 10 cents less than a dime. The reasons so few people become successful entrepreneurs, even though most people dream of entrepreneurial conquests, is that they are dreamers not doers.

I recently took a call from a supposed entrepreneur who was looking for someone to buy his toy idea. In response to my qualifying probes he was entirely negative. He did not have patent filings. He did not have 3D CAD art. He did not have, or worse, want to build rough prototypes, so, of course, he was never going to have production quality prototypes. Without 3D CAD art and prototypes he was never going to discover manufacturing protocols and Cost of Goods.

In short, he was the ultimate dreamer. Many of these poseurs are serial stalkers of investment, partners and/or licensing relationships. They troll the internet endlessly looking for a home for their get-rich-schemes. The time and effort that could be devoted to productive due diligence is wasted on blind hopes and dreams.

I have counseled clients, students and prospective entrepreneurs for many years to avoid taking shortcuts at all costs. Resources are more easily found and utilized today than ever before. Many, many years ago, when I launched my first product there was no e-mail, internet, cell-phone, Software, Google or WikiPedia. Heck, there weren’t even fax machines or FedEx. Every step of the process was slower and more arduous than today.

The ease and availability of contemporary resource tools makes the launching of a new Consumer Product or Small Business a much simpler process. An idea which is not accompanied by at least a smattering of supporting design and data is a non-starter. Worse it brands the presenter as an amateur.

Let’s assume you are shopping for shoes. If you visited a shoe store, and the store only had pictures of shoes, but none to try on, how would you react? Of course, you can buy shoes on-line, but typically you know the brand, style and size you need and search for an on-line match at a price. When in a store, you want to touch and feel the products you seek. It is the same with venture capital and licensees.

The market is flush with opportunities for investment. Money always seeks the most market ready products. You have no chance to compete for seed monies or licensing unless your project is fully vetted. A successful entrepreneur always plants and fertilizes their work product to maximize chances of achieving a great result.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.