Showtime! Our submission was accepted! We were picked to be in the running for the contract along with 4 or 5 other companies. And the pressure was on to prepare for a second presentation of our product. This time, we’d actually be pitching to the Department of Education in person. We had to make sure that everything looked production-perfect, like we were ready to roll out soyu tomorrow. The product needed to taste great, the packaging needed to look interesting, and our power point presentation needed to be perfect. I became even further invested in the project, designing the logo and investigating trademark options.
The time finally came for us to make the presentation. The excitement was palpable. All of the team members met in New York for the weekend. Imagine it: twenty people had been working on a project for nearly three months, only to have its fate be decided in one twenty minute meeting! There was no way we could include everything we wanted to in just twenty minutes. I remember it being a very a hot and humid day. We had our samples. We had our presentation. We had our best smiles on. We were ready.
Or were we?
I have to be honest: the presentation didn’t go well. We had everything in place. Our product was perfect – or so we thought. Not even halfway through the presentation, it became clear that we had miscalculated. The Department of Education was looking for something different than what we were offering. They wanted to work with another huge corporation like Snapple. They wanted someone that could guarantee a certain amount of product, a certain amount of revenue – basically, a different company to fulfill the exact same role that Snapple had. We weren’t that company. Our presentation was cut short.
It was a harsh realization. We thought we were enjoying our day in the sun! We’d done everything right, but it didn’t matter. We weren’t the right choice. This situation happens more often than I wish it did. Sometimes I’ve pitched to the wrong people. Sometimes I’ve pitched at the wrong time. For whatever reason, a pitch fails. This one did too. Were we going to abandon the project?
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio
show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media
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