If I had to break down the different components of bringing a product to market into percentages, this is how I’d do it: 5% of your success depends on your idea, 5% on its protection, 5% on the prototype you design, and 85% on what you do after you make your first phone call to a potential licensee. Are you surprised? Most inventors invest much more time in the initial steps of the process, like crafting a great prototype or filing for a patent. But my experience has taught me that those aspects of inventing are not nearly as important as how diligently and intelligently you pursue potential licensees. Inventing isn’t about creativity so much as perseverance!
What do I mean?
Many inventors underestimate how much work occurs after they invent a new product; although they believe they’ve perfected the idea, that’s often far from the truth. Ideas undergo so many changes throughout the licensing process. Your final product may not reassemble your initial prototype. In fact, I bet it won’t. There’s two reasons I believe this is so. If your idea is rejected from a company, there’s a reason why. Ask! You will hopefully be able to incorporate the advice given into your product. And when and if you do begin to work with a potential licensee, in all likelihood there will be changes they want to make as well.
These are just two of the reasons why I want to remind you not to spend too much time and energy on the prototype and protection of your idea – what I believe to be only a very small portion of your success! I’ve learned this the hard way. One of my biggest ideas, Spinformation, underwent a bewildering amount of changes before being produced. I ended up filing for dozens of different claims after each new change was made.
Because these percentages are so, it’s imperative you begin contacting potential licensees as soon as possible. Start getting feedback now. Experienced inventors know better than to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours on a product they’re not sure they can license. Do yourself a favor and follow their example.
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
outlets find you for news stories.