The Economic Explanation
This article is the third in the series of explaining wealth. The first was the scientific explanation and the second was the spiritual. This article will inject some economic insight to the process of creating wealth but don't worry it won't be boring - I promise.
Unlike the previous two articles on this subject this one concentrates on what is being sold rather than the seller. Everyone knows that if something becomes abundant it is cheaper to buy and if it is scarce, the price goes up. I think that we are more interested in why some products never make the cut while others, sometimes the most stupid ones (e.g. the safety pin), sell with no difficulty whatsoever. So let us talk in general terms about this illusive product.
What Makes a Product Sell
One thing there is plenty of is opinion and they all claim to be in possession of the answers. I have read many books, articles and website content all telling us how it is to be done. That is, how to sell, how to present, how and where to advertise, how to use power words, how to use psychology, how to package, how to manage and a lot more besides. But there is very much less about what makes one product a best seller and most others a flop. We tend to concentrate too much on the seller rather than the product. I think that the biggest mistake is sometimes thinking that any product sells as long as it's in the right market. Each product is nothing in itself. It is the function that matters. Every product in the world has a function. Many have the same function and one can choose which of the different brands is able to perform this particular function best. So without further ado, let us give a list of generic functional properties that any product must possess in order to stand any chance of it being bought by the masses.
Ask yourself - is the function of my product
1. able to improve the quality of life
8. environmentally friendly
9. able to entertain
You might be able to come up with more, though these were the ones I could think of just now. But do not imagine that a product needs to exhibit all nine in order to become a best seller. It is sufficient for a product to exceed in only one and this often makes the rest either irrelevant or negligible. Just to make it absolutely clear, we can name a few examples.
Cars - must exhibit all 9
Buildings - must exhibit 1- 8
Magazines - must exhibit 1 but must excel in 9
Clothes - must exhibit 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9
Food - must exhibit 1, 2, 3, 7, 9
Any product that you decide to sell, whether it is a newly invented inanimate object or intellectual property, must exhibit one or more of these functions. However, if it is to exceed in sales, it must excel in one or more them. So, let's have some fun by examining real examples that definitely didn't and won't sell.
1. An MP3 watch
2. Tiny television set
3. Binocular shaped cameras
4. Fork with an alarm clock
5. Eye protectors for chickens
6. Fishing hook with attached mirror
7. Dry - Mobile (a car with clothing line to dry clothes as you drive)
8. Food cooler (small fan attached to your fork or chop sticks)
9. Butter stick - squeeze out butter onto your toast like glue
10. Instant face lift. (mesh of wires attached from face to hair to pull skin back)
It's easy to see how none of the above are able to demonstrate a function that results or excels in any of the nine criteria listed above.
Now for contrast, let's examine some absolute winners.
1. The paper clip
2. The calculator
3. The computer
4. The telephone
5. The washing machine
6. The fridge
9. The pen
The list is endless because we all know them like our own names.
To me, the laws of economics are more suited to well known products. Those everyday ones that we all use, despite the grief and stress that a great many of them cause us from time to time.
Now for a word on methods some people use to circumvent the economics behind the products which add real benefit to those who purchase them. If the seller has to lie, trick, mislead, pretend, hide behind jargon or generally use dishonest means in order to cajole you into parting with your money for something that exhibits none of the nine qualities above, it is your duty to stay well clear. If you are tricked or bullied into investing in something of this nature for the purposes of starting some internet business or business of any kind, the chances are that you yourself will have to repeat and perpetuate the same dishonest means in order to continue charade in the hope of making cash.
Now for the good news
A lot of people firmly believe that almost everything has been discovered or invented and there is really nothing much left. This is nonsense. There is an infinite number of undiscovered or un-invented products that are well capable of demonstrating the criteria given above. All you need is the will and the imagination and one day it will land on your lap and you will wonder why you hadn't thought of it before.