Inventors often have more ideas than money. The result is that inventors have a tough time figuring out just how to proceed. One option most inventors don’t often consider is selling on commission. An inventor gets orders for his or her product and then has a manufacturer make the product. But instead of a license agreement, the inventor just becomes the sales rep and takes a commission. The inventor may have to surrender control of the idea, especially if the development costs are high, but they often still have a great deal of input and they can usually negotiate a long term commission agreement. This is often an easier deal for the manufacturer to accept and in the end the inventor makes more money at a 10% commission rather than a three to five percent royalty. The whole secret of success is land a big order, then manufacturers will be interested in talking to you, provided the product fits within their manufacturing capability. The benefit to the inventor is that he or she is selling the product with the backing of an established company. That backing both enhances the inventor’s credibility and provides the funding needed to launch the product. Read the rest of this entry »
Basic Steps Toward Branding through Package Design
Run a couple package design web searches and you’ll see this phrase repeatedly: “Packaging is just as important as the product.” It’s almost common sense, really. Some even go as far as saying, “The package is the product.” That may be bold, but nonetheless, packaging plays a tremendous role in selling your product—it’s the last chance (or maybe even the first chance) to advertise just before consumers make a purchase and studies have shown that most people make brand choices at the point of purchase. Spend the time researching packaging while thinking carefully about your audience and the stores you’ll be featured in and brand your product accordingly. Bring a designer into the picture early on and he/ she will help the package design solutions develop from the information and ideas that have gathered. Read the rest of this entry »
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Many inventors have small novelty products where they want their products sold to convenience stores. This has been a difficult market for inventors because the distributors are typically rack jobbers who actually own the merchandise and buy at 40 to 45% of retail. The distributors can be hard to find as they don’t have a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) dedicated to them, and most operate on the office supplies distributor SIC code. (For more information on SIC codes go to http://www.siccode.com/about.php.) Read the rest of this entry »
Inventors often look at big new ideas with big needs but sometimes you can find a way to create a product idea in an old category and have some success. I live in Minnesota and some years ago I started seeing many people with the new style of ear muffs that wrap around the back of the head, the 180s, www.180s.com. They look great. Most people don’t realize this high style line was originally put out by a couple of inventors. You don’t need a high tech product, or even a product that is hard to make. Hopefully this story will inspire you to get out with your idea and see if you can make it. Read the rest of this entry »
Provisional patents have the advantage of being low cost but they have another additional advantage that make them a plus for inventors.
The provisional application must be made in the name(s) of all of the inventor(s). It can be filed up to 12 months following the date of first sale, offer for sale, public use, or publication of the invention, whichever occurs first. (These pre-filing disclosures, although protected in the United States, may preclude patenting in foreign countries.) Read the rest of this entry »
Often inventors need to raise some early investments to help pay for prototypes, patents or other items to help get the project off the ground. You have three goals: one, avoid trying to write a 40 to 50 page business plan, two, to show you are serious about taking your product to market, and finally, you need to show your idea has a real chance to succeed. Read the rest of this entry »
50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within five years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Does your business have staying power? In this article we will talk about what contributes to staying power and how to incorporate that into your own business. Read the rest of this entry »
As anyone who has studied inventions knows, inventor success isn’t always a case of having the best product or the best strategy. Often the difference between a successful inventor and an unsuccessful one is that one inventor chose a market that has outstanding characteristics, or what Don likes to call them, outstanding GEL Factors, (Great Customers, Easy Sales and Long Life) and the other one didn’t. If you idea doesn’t approach a market with excellent GEL factors you will have trouble introducing your idea and should consider a different idea or market. To learn more about GEL factors look into Don’s book Business Models Made Easy, (Entrepreneur Press, 2006). Read the rest of this entry »
What makes some inventors succeed while others fail? Success isn’t always a case of having the best product or the best strategy; often the difference between a successful inventor and an unsuccessful one is that one inventor chose a market that has outstanding characteristics, or what Don likes to call them, outstanding GEL Factors, (Great customers, Easy sales and Long life), while the other did not. If your idea isn’t targeted for a market with excellent GEL factors, you will have trouble introducing your idea and should consider trying a different idea or market. To learn more about GEL factors look into Don’s book Business Models Made Easy, (Entrepreneur Press, 2006).
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Setting up a sales rep network is one of the most cost effective ways to start selling regionally, nationally or internationally. Expect sales reps to take a 10-12% commission, but for inventors starting out selling their product, this is much cheaper and more effective than trying to hire, train and motivate his or her own sales employees. Read the rest of this entry »