The second most common mistake I witness inventors make over and over again is to drop several thousand dollars on an expensive prototype. Making a prototype is not an inherently bad decision. But timing and resources are huge factors. Most of the time, you simply don’t need a prototype – an inexpensive sell sheet will actually accomplish more for you. And more often that not, inventors invest in prototypes before they’ve even received interest from a potential licensee. Essentially, you are spending money you don’t need to, and that probably won’t help you.
You need to sell the benefits of your idea. I reiterate this philosophy time and time again. You’re not selling your patent or your prototype. What is a benefit? For example, “New hammer innovation hits nail straight every time.” One of the most effective ways to convey the benefits of your product to a potential licensee is to use a sell sheet.
A sell sheet is an 8.5 x 11” piece of paper with an image or a drawing of your invention, a big one sentence benefit statement, your contact information, and a patent pending notice if you filed a provisional patent application.
It’s crucial to get the potential licensee interested in the benefits of your idea before you start talking about manufacturing details, features, or anything else. If they are interested in the benefit, nothing else is relevant. Sell the benefit, and worry about the details later. If an idea is so beneficial, whatever steps necessary will be taken to insure that it becomes a real project and is brought to market.
In summation, the smartest way you can work is to conserve your most precious resources, your time and money, before you receive some initial “green lights” from potential licensees. Utilize the cost efficient and highly effective tools out there: the provisional patent application and the sell sheet. They’ve worked for me, and they will work for you.
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