James Dyson is a famous British inventor, engineer and chief executive of Dyson Ltd who made a name for himself when he invented a dual cyclone vacuum cleaner. He has introduced some of the most revolutionary products to our homes, and there’s a lot to be admired about him. In his article, we look at the four main things to learn from Dyson about thriving in business.
Persistence is Key
James Dyson had the idea of creating a vacuum cleaner using cyclonic separation in the 1970s when his vacuum cleaner at the time became filled with dirt and wouldn’t suck properly. He did not have enough finance nor could he find any start up loans. He spent five years working on the project before the idea was successful in 1983, but that’s where the hard part began. Even after the invention, no distributor entertained his product in the market, and he was extremely demoralised. Eventually, he opened his own company and introduced the product in Japan where it won the prize for best design. It was ten years after he launched the G-Force cleaner that the UK market accepted his invention, proving that patience and persistence eventually win the day when you believe you have an idea worth persisting with.
Do your research
Dyson is a firm believer in researching before working. ‘I am still an engineer and love to go to the lab to try and solve a problem,’ he said. Dyson is a company which spends a large amount of their revenue on research – around 18%. This is far more than many other famous brands. Apple, for example, spends just 5% of its revenue on research, and Amazon put only 12% of their money into research. Dyson believes that’s the reason they have been able to become a top technology company from producing only vacuum cleaners.
Believe in better
According to Dyson, a person who wants to be an inventor needs to think differently from others. They should always believe that the current way of doing things can be improved upon even further. It is unrealistic to think you will be successful in doing something world changing the first time you put your mind to it. James Dyson’s creation had more than 5000 prototypes developed in the engineering phase before he was finally satisfied with it and introduced it into the market. Even after the introduction in 1993, the product went through 50 more design changes to ensure it fulfilled the general requirements of the public and suited the current trends. Dyson finds it extraordinarily frustrating but believes that the moment you stop innovating the passion dies.
Think big but be practical
When you start making something, it’s difficult to say how the results will pan out. However, what matters is that you aim as high as possible. That’s the message Dyson gives to everyone working for him and others who want to be successful business people. It can take a stroke of luck or a spark of an idea to make an excellent product. However, you must always remember, no matter how good a product looks, the most important thing to a customer is the way the product performs. Sure you want to dream big, and the product should look innovative but keep your basics strong. Work on the design so that it solves a problem because that’s what people want.
It is inspirational to learn from the lives of those who have been through the process of building something big from the ground up, and James Dyson is definitely one such person to admire and learn from.