Step 4 Open Up Your Concept

A good friend who runs a major U.S. corporation had a competition with another director to see which could make more money selling something they could get for nothing. His colleague thought he had struck gold when he started to sell pressurized water as a cosmetic product. My friend went one better and sold pressurized air as a cleaning agent for medical, hi-tech, and photographic equipment.

The idea of making your concept more attractive to more people is usually possible. Initially, think laterally from other points of view. A mosquito might be a pest to you, but you're a midnight feast to it. Consider all possibilities, no matter how bizarre.

The larger the audience a product can attract the better its chances. Could you, for instance, incorporate your embryo product inside another? Could it be part of a more significant package? Could it be sold on the back of other products? This is exactly what Mr. Dunlop and Mr. Gates did.

Mr. Dunlop took Mr. Goodyear's vulcanized rubber, which had been around for over 40 years by then, and turned it into an indispensable product—the pneumatic tire. Mr. Gates got his operating system incorporated into every IBM PC. We take many of these very smart moves so much for granted that we forget that they began as clever ideas.

If at this stage you are feeling held back by not having a finalized, killer name for your idea, just do what they do in Hollywood—give it a working title, something that's good for the time being and indicative of what you aspire to, such as "Project Everest."

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