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There are many functions that need to be performed for a successful invention. You need to be sure that you have people on you team that can perform all these functions. Inventors typically have some but not all the skills needed to launch their product. For success be sure you line up the help you need as you proceed with your invention.
- Someone who understands the needs of the end user. Inventors often observe a need in others, such as an inventor that notices that a spouse struggles getting items off the top shelf of a cabinet. In these cases, inventors often assume they understand the needs of the end-users. That is a mistake. Inventors rarely understand all the issues when they are not an end-user.
- Someone who can do product design and engineering drawings. This will allow you to take rough drawings and turn them into professional looking materials. These drawings help you appear professional to a manufacturer, and can cut down you patent expenses. Plus the engineering help will often point flaws in your product design, or come up with improved ways to produce your product. If you can’t afford product design firms, you can use sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, or Crewscale, to find lower cost freelancers to help you.
- Small business start-up assistance. Most inventors don’t know if they should be a sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation. A good source of basic start-up advices are Small Business Development Centers, which are located around the country and sponsored by the Small Business Development Center. www.sbdc.org.
- Patent assistance. Before going to a patent attorney or patent agent you can learn a lot about patent basics from then United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)web site. Check out General information concerning patents | USPTO (https://www.uspto.gov/patents/basics) and the USPTO’s Inventors Assistance Center Inventors Assistance Center | USPTO (https:/www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/support-centers/inventors-assistance-center-iac). A good spot to find a patent attorney or patent agent that works with independent inventors is your local inventors club. Inventor Organizations – Inventors Digest.
- Prototype help. There are many advantages to making a prototype. It will help you work out design flaws, it will cut your set-up and design costs when you go for a license , it dramatically improves your chances of getting a license deal and it can help you raise money either from investors or from a crowd funding platform. A good starting point for prototype assistance is your local inventor’s club. You should find several people their who can help you. In many cases you might be able to make a prototype at a library with 3D printers available at many libraries https://www.3dprintingmedia.network/800-registered-3d-printers-in-libraries/ . You can also check out prototype builders on Upwork and other freelance sites, and Make Magazine prototyping News, Reviews and More | Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers (makezine.com)
- Social Media Help. This is a new item to my key helper lists. The benefits of knowing how to work social media has just too great to ignore. Facebook groups are great sites for market research and focus on your project as well as a good spot to start selling your product. In addition if you are doing a crowd funding campaign you need to know how to work social media to generate interest in your product to build momentum for the fundraising campaign. Plus social media groups can help you find reps and retailers who might help your early sales efforts.
- Manufacturing interface. Most inventors leave everything up to the manufacturer when starting production. This can create problems as the manufacturer will do everything to favor them. What you need to help you is either a quality control engineer or a production engineer who can protect your interest. Your inventor’s club might have someone who can help, or you can use the sites like Upwork to find a freelance engineer to help.
- Sales and marketing help. Often if you are active in social media groups you can find someone with market experience to help you design a marketing plan. You can use sites like Upwork but it can be difficult to line up someone with industry experience. You can also use LinkedIn where you can find people with experience in a certain market. I recommend someone with social media experience to find someone in a social media group. These groups operate much more informally than LinkedIn and I believe you will have an easier time connecting with an interested party that will give you sound sales and marketing advice.