Business Lessons from a Frustrated Customer

Sir James Dyson was frustrated with his Hoover vacuum cleaner and decided to invent his own. He was inspired by a 30-foot-high centrifuge at a local sawmill to infuse a cyclonic separation technology into a vacuum cleaner. After 5,127 prototypes, rejection from the manufacturers and distributors in the United Kingdom and a disastrous experience in the United States, his product, G-Force, was finally launched in Japan, where it later won the 1991 International Design Fair Prize.

  1. View challenges differently: it is ridiculous to think Dyson was the first to experience discomfort from using Hoover. He, however, decided to do something about it. The problem you notice and are passionate about may be an indication of your gift.
  2. Find inspiration: inspiration works in strange and unexpected ways. The centrifuge at the sawmill that inspired Dyson had been there for years and was seen by many. When your heart is searching for answers, even the wind may inspire you. With inspiration, ordinary things become extraordinary.
  3. Allow no limitation: Dyson had several reasons not to pursue the project, and chief among them was his education. What is strong enough to kill your dream? If you don’t take the first step, it is doubtful you will ever arrive at your destination.
  4. Try again: you are not a failure until you stop trying. Dyson worked on 5,127 prototypes before success. If you believe in it, don’t give up on it, but you must earn it.
  5. Rejection is temporary: when you have great ideas, hope for the best but expect some rejects along the way. Dyson was rejected in the UK, not because his product was no-good, but because it was so good that it would ruin their existing business structure.
  6. Venture out: after the rejections, he decided to travel the world until he ended up in Japan, where he not only got a market but also won an award.
  7. Don’t stop at one solution: so, you have solved a problem successfully? Great! That means you can solve the next one, and then the next. Dyson went on to establish a company that has about 60 consumer products. By solving one problem, he received the courage to solve at least 59 others. There are more significant achievements ahead of you. Never settle with an old record when you can break new ones.