June 1, 2021

If I Were an Inventor: Upright Vacuum Edition

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Over the weekend, I decided it was time to give our robovac “Frank” a break and do some manual vacuuming. Frank gets the central areas and reachable edges like a pro, but if he can’t roll to it, it won’t get cleaned. Because of this, when I pull out the traditional upright vacuum, I am primarily using the hose attachment.

Maybe you have been here before too. You move the entire vacuum around and lean over to get all the dusty fuzz that accumulates in the odd corners of your home. All good. But then you reach and stretch just that little bit further, and the combination of hose length and powerful suction contracts the tube. Suddenly, the vacuum races towards your heels, careening into them with a dull thud of plastic on thinly covered bone. Ouch.

If I were a vacuum designer, I would add a lock to the wheels when the canister is in the upright position. Why does the vacuum need to move at this point? It doesn’t matter how many units I have owned and used over the last 20 years; they all do some version of this heel obliterating “function.”

The suction mechanism seems like it can’t be engineered to be any more powerful, yet that is still the primary feature improvement I see in vacuum marketing. What about the vacuum that won’t roll into your feet or off of the landing on the stairs? I can see the ads now; the “Hoover Heel Saver.”

The point is, there is room for improvement almost everywhere you look, even in the mundane products that we all use day in and day out. What about your business? What product or service are you selling that could use a fresh look? Maybe it is as simple as adding a timer to your OPEN signs.

An entrepreneurial spirit is essential for staying competitive in today’s economy. Sharpen yours by looking for ways to close the gap between what is and what could be – which is one indispensable part of being an entrepreneur. And then apply that sharpened skill to your workplace, company, product, or service!

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