How to Research and Evaluate Your New Idea

It’s time to stand up and cheer for the doer, the achiever—the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it.

—Vince Lombardi, Coach of the Green Bay Packers

So far, all you’ve spent on your idea is some time and maybe a few dollars for this book (unless you’re reading it in the library). You have an idea in your head and maybe some doodles on a scrap of paper. You can walk away and no harm done. However, we will soon be approaching the point where some money must be spent—maybe some serious money—so we want to tread carefully.

The next step in the process, thankfully a free or nominally free one, is to search the market to determine whether your idea has enough originality and commercial potential to continue with its development. Depending on what you find, you’ll either walk away or start reaching for your checkbook. So honesty, as they say, is the best policy.

Alfred Hitchcock, the great film director, used to say that the crime the evildoers commit in his movies—stealing the famous diamond or the secret plans or anything else—was incidental. It was, as he called it, simply the McGuffin—a device to move the story along. The story was really about the chase, the danger, and the boy-meets-girl love connection. I urge you to regard your idea the same way—it’s a McGuffin—simply a commercial idea to hopefully earn you some money. It’s not “your baby” that no one dare speak evil of (or assuming that they’re idiots ...

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