How to Get Your Customers to Pay for New Ideas

Andre Abi Awad
The Freedom Owner
Published in
3 min readMay 27, 2024

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There is never enough money to invest in developing products when you’re running a self-funded business. When you’re running your company out of cash flow, most of your resources go into selling your existing products and services, leaving little left over to fund your new product ideas.

You could keep plugging away with your existing product or service lineup, but you will leave yourself exposed to competitors that dream up a better offering. The other option is to develop unique new offerings for customers that ask you to customize your solution, but that can eliminate any scale in your business as you develop a unique thing for every opportunity.

The other option is to offer to develop a custom product for one client with the understanding that you will retain the rights to the intellectual property (IP) associated with developing their unique solution.

The most famous example of getting your customer to fund your new product development comes from Microsoft. As legend has it, co-founder Bill Gates negotiated a deal with IBM that paid Microsoft $430,000 to develop the DOS programming language, which IBM was given a license to use. However, Gates retained ownership over the code, which allowed him to sell it under the MS-DOS brand.

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Andre Abi Awad
The Freedom Owner

Claim your Freedom as a Business Owner — Read more on “The Freedom Owner” publication on my profile. Helping Entrepreneurs in 54 countries since 2008.