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 »
When bringing a product to market, every inventor has a very important decision to make: start a company to introduce the product themselves or team up with a big player already in the market. Both approaches work, but depending on your invention, skills and goals, one approach might work might much better than the other. In this article we will discuss when it is better to team up with a bigger company. Read the rest of this entry »
Inventors frequently have multiple ideas. The question is which one to pursue. Other inventors feel like they are creative and can solve many problems and wonder which ones to attack. Even in winning categories there are some products that are better than others. Recognizing winning categories and then the wining products in that category will greatly help you succeed. This article will help you recognize which ideas have the best chance of success. Read the rest of this entry »
The first three steps in evaluating a new product are: Step 1, evaluating product features and the reasons people will buy; Step 2, determining how the product will be manufactured; and Step 3, whether or not the product has, or can receive, adequate intellectual property protection while not infringing on other patents. Inventors and people in the know for new products tend to be in sync for these three steps in evaluating a product, although inventors tend to put patents as the most important step, while most new product experts put that lower on the list, but never the less the first three steps are very similar.
The next key evaluation step for people in the industry, and one that is often overlooked by inventors, is to answer the question: “Can the product make money?” And hopefully lots of money. Inventors tend to feel if the product is right it will make money. New product experts know this is not the case. Pricing and perceived value versus manufacturing costs is the key issue for the experts. The purpose of this article is to give inventors a better understanding of the money issues involved with a new product that determine whether or not the inventor will make money on each product sold. The goal is to assist inventors in evaluating the perceived value of the product to the end user, understanding how much they will receive from the sale of each product based on their chosen distribution channel, and then to understand if they will make money when they compare that amount to their manufacturing costs. Read the rest of this entry »