Nil illegitimi carborundum – The customer isn’ t always right, except when he is…

Henry Ford, inventor of the motor car, and originator of many an insightful statement, once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

When designing a new product, or coming up with a new service – of course it’s important to listen to what the customer wants, but equally, if your product is the first of its kind, sometimes you just have to be brave and believe that if you build it, they will come.

Introducing something totally new requires extreme courage, and utter conviction that you have a viable business idea. It also requires a healthy injection of common sense. Many new concepts crash and burn because they simply aren’t very good ideas. The inventors are dogged in their determination to prove to the world that their idea is going to be the next big thing, and will not allow constructive criticism to get in the way of their quest to get their product to market. The trick is to maintain your faith, but also to seek out and listen to advice from people who have been there and done it before. If your mentors and advisers all say “No”, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache by taking it on the chin, and going back to the drawing board.

You may have spent years coming up with a concept that sends shivers of excitement down your spine, only to find that, at first, everyone looks at your business plan, and backs away nervously. Dealing with negativity is part and parcel of the process of bringing something entirely new to market, and it’s easy to become disillusioned. Just remember that before the refrigerator was invented, everyone was perfectly happy with a larder, and before the telephone arrived, no-one grumbled about having to sit down and write a letter.

Human beings are programmed to make do with what they have. More often than not, they are very happy with what they already have, and can be a little resistant to change. If you and your advisers are convinced that your idea has legs, your job is to package up the concept in a way that clearly sets out its advantages to the customer, identifies and addresses potential objections, and infuses the customer with excitement about the opportunity to be in at the birth of something that is going to revolutionise their marketplace. It won’t be easy, but if introducing groundbreaking products or services was simple, everyone would be doing it!