It’s often difficult to relinquish control of an idea you’ve invested so much of yourself into. But sometimes, you might not have to.
After you’ve licensed your idea to a company, they may want you to essentially go away and let them handle the process of bringing it to market alone. But I’ve noticed that today, in a tighter economy, companies are more inclined to ask you for help, or at the very least, are willing to consider involving you in future plans. The last two or three times I have licensed, I’ve experienced this new attitude – and it’s a great one.
As the creator of the product, you have a degree of expertise. And it’s helpful for the success of the product if a company realizes this truth. The information and perspective you can offer them is of great value. But you need to understand the best ways you can go about doing so. You can ask for a fee for your services, but I volunteer my assistance free of charge. At the end of the day, I want my product to see the consumer shelf. And my help can guarantee that happens.
I meet regularly with the few companies with whom I have this relationship, and go out of my way to be supportive. I offer my expertise, but I also work with their teams. I want them to know that they can call me and that they can count on me, that I have their backs. I sort of consider myself to be an “outside manager”. If you can write your role in the contract, do so.
However, there are several key mistakes to avoid making. Don’t overstep your bounds – you need to give the company due credit, and respect their authority. Do not be a pest or a nuisance. Focus on making the team you’re working with look good. They will appreciate it, and work even harder to make sure your product is a success if they know it’s linked to their own corporate success.
If you and the company you have licensed to work together, the likelihood that your product will make it to market is much, much higher. I’ve seen the ball dropped on certain projects for absolutely no reason. Don’t let it happen to yours.
InventRight: Helping to Bring Your Product to Market