How to Avoid Failure

Why Ideas fail Barry-selling at show

Many great ideas fail due to a lack of funds, despite having a solid plan and a talented team. This is a common issue among start-ups, as entrepreneurs often misspend on unnecessary features, services, or tools. To avoid this pitfall, it’s essential to keep a close eye on expenses and only spend what is truly necessary. Additionally, it’s important to secure investment before running out of money.

One common misconception among start-up founders is that their project will cost less and take less time than it does. A good rule of thumb is to double the estimated cost and time for the project. This will bring you closer to the actual figures.

We’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs on over 500 projects, and while many have been successful, an unfortunate number have failed. The top three reasons for these failures are:

  1. Running out of money before the product can gain traction.
  2. Losing interest and moving on to a different project.
  3. Bringing on the wrong team.

To avoid these pitfalls, it’s essential to focus on raising capital, assembling the right team, and ensuring that the project is something you’re truly passionate about and willing to commit to for the long term. Team issues can be devastating, as one bad apple can ruin the entire project.

One example of a successful project is the CouchCoaster, created by Barry. It may not seem like much at first glance, but this product now sells worldwide and generates over £1 million in revenue annually with minimal overhead. Please watch the accompanying video to learn more about the CouchCoaster and Barry’s story.

The key to success for any startup is keeping costs low while delivering a high-quality product. This can be a delicate balance, but it is one that Barry, the creator of CouchCoaster, has mastered. By keeping his idea simple and creating a minimum viable product (MVP), Barry could develop and test multiple prototypes before bringing the final product to market.

One of the most important lessons Barry learned was to watch every penny and only spend what was necessary. By doing much of the work himself and keeping costs down, he could secure investment and bring his product to market without running out of funds.

CouchCoaster is a prime example of a minimum viable product that delivers a premium user experience. The coaster features intelligent design elements such as glossy, soft, internally weighted silicone and a cleverly engineered base that provides optimal gripping and stability. Additionally, the coaster has a built-in mug handle slot and a subtle drip tray to prevent staining.

The success of CouchCoaster has allowed Barry to launch two more products in his range and sell them worldwide. He now turns over £1 million in products annually with minimal overhead.

When protecting ideas, Barry’s top tip is to secure a patent or trademark before sharing your idea with anyone. This can save you or your business tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs and protect your idea.

In summary, a startup’s success can depend on various factors, such as keeping costs low, developing an MVP, and assembling the right team. However, by keeping these three common reasons for failure in mind and following the example of successful entrepreneurs like Barry, you can increase the chances of success for your startup.

Barry’s idea for CouchCoaster was simple and focused on delivering a minimum viable product (MVP). However, this didn’t mean he compromised on quality. The product was designed with weights on each side and tested on multiple sofas and chairs to ensure it would perform well.

Barry did much of the work to keep costs low, creating multiple rough prototypes to get the size right before bringing in outside help. Once the initial design and research were completed, Barry worked closely with his team to develop multiple prototypes, iteratively refining the concept.

CouchCoaster boasts several intelligent design features that set it apart, such as glossy, soft, internally weighted silicone and a cleverly engineered base that provides an optimal gripping surface that stabilizes and conforms to the shape of almost any sofa or chair arm. Additionally, a reinforcement insert keeps the drink holder rigid, upright and secure. The coaster also features an in-built mug handle slot for traditional tea and coffee cups and a simple adaptor for smaller drinks. A subtle drip tray also prevents minor spills from staining the sofa.

Despite being an MVP, CouchCoaster is a premium product that commands a reasonable price while delivering a great user experience. The product is now sold worldwide, and Barry has even launched two additional products in his range. To learn more, check out the blog post.

And now, for Barry’s top tip on protecting ideas: This advice can save you or your business tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.

Barry knew that his product, the CouchCoaster, would be susceptible to knock-off versions once it hit the market. Instead of spending a fortune on legal action, he took a different approach. When copies of his product started appearing on Amazon, he contacted the platform and provided them with proof of his patent. Amazon promptly delisted the infringing product, and Barry has continued to do the same with other retailers.

This method saves Barry the cost of legal action and puts pressure on the copyists. Many retailers do not want to be associated with infringing products and will delist them quickly, causing the copyists to move on to a different product. Barry’s strategy has proven effective, and he believes the couple of thousand dollars he spent on patents was the best investment he made for his business.

At D2M Innovation, we understand the importance of protecting your product’s IP and will work with you to develop an efficient and effective process. We are not just product designers but also offer various services to help bring your idea to market. To learn more about the process, check out our website’s infographic that gives an overview of what the journey may look like for your product.

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Bonus 40min extended case-study video!