The fundamental gap between a brilliant idea and tangible success.

I have spent the last fifteen years working closely with entrepreneurs and senior leaders of companies across multiple industries and there is one consistent takeaway from nearly every single one of these engagements: the dreamers that originally came up with the concept for anew product or service ALWAYS want to rush to the sale of that solution. It is understandable why this is the case in that sales lead to revenue and revenue is the first step to profitability. Profitability, of course, is the ultimate pursuit of most organizations.

However, there tend to be a few critical steps that reside between a new offering and first revenue and these steps are often rushed, done poorly or ignored altogether. These steps include market positioning, key messaging, basic marketing and sales preparation. Some people, like myself, consider these steps the core elements of the often misunderstood commercialization process.

In essence, these steps are the building blocks to “the story” that MUST accompany any new product or service to market. Without the ability to effectively communicate the unique virtues and relevant benefits of your offering to a clearly articulated target market, even the world’s greatest inventions are doomed to failure. Regardless of what Ralph WaldoEmerson quoted in the nineteenth century, building a better mousetrap is simply not enough in today’s hyper competitive world.

This is not to suggest that there needs to bean endless investment in time and resources prior to the direct pursuit of revenue. On the contrary, provided that you can identify a resource (or group of resources) that possesses the range of skills required, these four fundamental steps can and should be integrated seamlessly and executed in an efficient and effective manner.    

The reality is that provided that you can align the right story with the right audience and have prepared your organization accordingly, selling your product or service is relatively easy. Once the inventors and entrepreneurs learn to redirect some of their finite energy and resources into building a solid bridge between their ideas and the revenue streams that ultimately define success, there will simply be no stopping them.Until that time, however, many of those individuals so brilliant at generating new product or service ideas will be left wondering why the world so rarely beats a path to their door.  Tom Mawhinney is the President and Founder of Marketing the Mousetrap(, a consulting organization committed todevising go-to-market strategies for growth-oriented organizations and to executing the commercialization process central to the success of every new product or service. Established in 2001, Marketing the Mousetrap has now assisted more than 200 customers across 35 industry sectors.