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5 Key Lessons To Turn Your Tech Idea Into A Business

If you are a techie who wants to turn your high-tech idea into a business, it’s a good thing to remember the battle of the electric current between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. There is a lesson in that story that can guide your aspirations.

business idea

While Tesla was a far better inventor, Edison was a better businessman. The only reason, Tesla achieved success at all with his superior long-range alternating current over Edison’s inferior short-range direct current was because George Westinghouse, an excellent inventor and a sharp businessman, stepped in and came to Tesla’s aid. If it were not for Westinghouse, we would probably be stuck with direct current today, paying far bigger electric bills while the far superior alternating current would have slipped into obscurity.

Five Key Lessons

So, how do you become the George Westinghouse of your niche?

Here is a brief five-step lesson course on how to turn your creative ideas into a practical business plan to bring your product to the marketplace:

Lesson #1: It’s not about the product, but about the business model. When it comes to hamburgers, McDonald’s beats any gourmet restaurant, despite the fact that their product is noticeably inferior.

Lesson #2: Put the idea together in a way that people can understand its value. Steve Blank, co-author of The Startup Owner’s Manual  says, “Having a technology idea is not the same as having a company. There’s often a disconnect between engineers and scientists and what commerce and capitalism is about. These people are often the smartest but you don’t get paid for being the smartest in the world in a start-up. You get paid for being the one who put it together the right way.”

Lesson #3: Know your customer. Unless you know your customer, you will not know how to package your product, what channels to use to distribute it, how to create a demand for your product, and what revenue model to use. A postman must know the address to which the letter is to be delivered. All his or her postal delivery skills in sorting through mail and delivering letters efficiently come to naught if he is missing the address.

Lesson #4: Use efficient business processes throughout your operations. For instance, you have to get good at making spending decision and adjust to fluctuating business conditions, but if you’re using an outdated invoicing system, you have already been beaten by the competitors in your niche. The solution is to find a high-tech human resources company to take care of those issues so that you can focus on marketing your product. ADP’s Procure-to-Pay is one such invoicing solution for handling electronic invoicing and payment. Using a solution like this makes it easy to reduce the cost of payments, control spending, and scale up your business.

Lesson #5: Get feedback from early adopters of your system. This is one reason why Microsoft has done so well with rolling out one operating system after another at high-speed. When their operating systems hits the market, all the bugs have not been worked out, but by using feedback from millions of users, Microsoft is able to get the feedback to fix errors through Internet-based communications.


The ultimate lesson here is that a good idea, even a brilliant one, is not enough. It needs business smarts to make it come alive as a viable commodity in the marketplace. Additionally, it is rare to be good at both invention and business, as they both require completely different skill sets, so you need to either learn business skills, hire the work out to people who have it.

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