I get this question all the time. “But,” inventors ask, “Who do I call?” They’ve invited this great idea, they’ve filed a provisional patent application for protection, and they’re bewildered. What next? How do they know which company is the right one to call?
It’s really simple. Envision your product. Where is it going to be sold? What aisle is it going to be located on? What products will it be sold next to? Essentially, what category does it fall under? Visit a store that could potentially sell your product and find the aisle/shelf/location you envisioned. Call every company who sells a product within a two-foot radius of that location.
People ask me, but isn’t that my competition? No. In the licensing game, the goal is to find a home for your product. Ideally, you want to find a company that can insert your product into its existing product line. It should fit comfortably – that’s why selling your product will be so appealing! Because it makes sense.
Examine the products that surround your ‘imaginary’ product. What’s missing from these items? Compare your idea to other products on the shelf. How is it unique? What’s the benefit? Do you think your product could be packaged similarly to another product on the shelf? The most successful products are ones that work with what a company’s already got going for it; if they have to choose between buying an entirely new packaging machine, or using the ones they already have, which do you think makes more sense? Examine these products to get an idea of an appropriate price point for your product as well. Is it similar? Again, does it fit with the line?
The products that match a company’s line the best will be the most successful! Find a company whose existing products match your idea; you may need to edit or change your idea if you discover it is in someway radically different (in price point, in potential packaging… etc)!
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.