How to Get Good Information From an Invention Survey

Brutally Honest versus Guaranteed Good News

There are two good reasons to do a survey with your invention. One is to learn for yourself what people think about your idea - get suggestions for improvements and determine if enough people will buy it at a profitable price to make further investment of time and money worthwhile. The second good reason is to offer proof of market potential to partners and investors. In both cases it is important that your survey accurately reflects market realities. A survey done for good reasons does not prejudice answers with leading questions; it informs respondents about alternative solutions and asks hard questions that may result in negative answers. It is brutally honest.

There's also a bad reason for a survey. A bad reason is to use a survey to justify investment of time and money regardless of reality. This kind of survey asks gentle questions that prompt respondents to provide encouraging answers.

Just as some invention companies will tell you that your idea is patentable while ignoring the question of whether or not the patent might have value, some will conduct Good News Surveys that ignore the question of whether or not people will actually buy the product. In both cases, the goal is to encourage inventors to spend more money on services.

Obviously, if you are spending your own money you should care about reality.

A Good News Survey asks questions like these:

  • Do you think this product idea is different?
  • Would you like a solution to this problem?
  • Are you interested in learning more?

The Good News Survey also presents the invention idea alone so that there is no basis for comparison to alternative products and solutions.

A Brutally Honest Survey presents alternatives and asks questions like these:

  • Do like this product more or less than the alternative?
  • Would you actually buy the product?
  • How much would you actually pay?

Some inventors have trouble conceiving of alternatives. If you look at the forest surrounding your single tree and you can almost always find something reasonably close.

Survey Monkey offers a good template for new product surveys and you can buy responses for an affordable $1 each. Invention City likes to survey at least 100 people to get a feel for things. After a first survey we may refine questions and perform a second one of 100 people at a different time of day to see if the results are similar. If the results align we feel confident in them.

You can also perform a survey on your own using the survey form here.

Invention City can create and execute a survey for you. Before taking that step we strongly recommend a Brutally Honest Review.

- Mike

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