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All posts for the month March, 2017

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/8-shocking-technology-discoveries-will-change-world/

8 Shocking Technology Discoveries That Will Change The World

Source:https://www.pexels.com/photo/grey-round-ball-surrounded-with-blue-light-115055/

Source:https://www.pexels.com/photo/grey-round-ball-surrounded-with-blue-light-115055/

1.Nanosensors / Nothings . Sensors that can link to the Web

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/arduino-nano-processor-chip-pcb-1520551/

The IoT, created from a dirt-cheap microsensors/microprocessors coupled with small energy materials and wireless receivers, is expanding the universe rapidly online from desktops and mobile phones to simple cuts of the natural world: pet trackers, thermostats, cars, even door locks.

 New IoT gadgets announce every day, and analysts expect to about thirty billion of these goes on the web by 2020.

Detonation of interconnected items, particularly those that are scrutinized and restrained by AI systems, can manifest simple things with exceptional competence – a home that opens the entrance portal when it identifies its owner upon arrival at the house from the job, or an embed heart gadget that warns the doctor when the organ malfunctions.

But a breakthrough in online world may just lie ahead. The limitless pill.

Scientists began shriveling signals from millimeters/microns in consonance with the nanometer weighing scale, tiny to ventilate within humans and to combine immediately with construction equipment.

 It is a significant step espousing NanonThings (IoNT) that can include medicine, energy effectivity, and the other sections to a wholesome dimension.

Some of the most advanced nanosensors today have been created by utilizing materials of synthetic biology to change single-celled organism, like bacteria.

The objective here is design natural biocomputers that use DNA and protein to identify a particular chemical target, store some small bits of information, and announce their situation by modifying the color or emission of some other easy recognizable alerts. Synlogic, a beginner

Various nanosensors crafts from things that are not biological, such as carbonic nano ducts that can recognize and warn, performing as wireless nanoantenna.

 

In as much as they are so tiny, nanosensors can retrieve data from millions of variable points. Outside gadgets can then combine the date to draw incredible detail maps to show the slight modification in light, vibration chemical concentrations, environmental conditions,  and electrical currents.

 

The transformation from smart nanosensors to IoNT seems unstoppable, but significant challenges are met. One technological effort is to combine all the mechanisms required for a self-generated nano-proof to identify a transformation and disseminate an alert to the internet. Other challenges include prickly concerns of privacy and security. And nano gadgets made known into the physical body, deliberate or recklessly, could be poison or will provoke reactions in the immune systems.

 

The technology can also trigger unwelcoming surveillance. The initial function might prevent the most annoying issues by lodging nanosensors in easy, fewer risks organisms like biennial and micro-organism not infectious utilize in industrial progression.

 

When this appears, the IoNT could give much more detail, not costly, and updated visuals of our factories, cities, and homes – even our physical bodies.

 

In the modern world, lights of traffics, accessories and spy cameras interconnect online. Coming soon: billions of nanosensors gathering large sums of valuable real-time information and storing it all up in a cloud.

Upcoming Generation of Batteries Performing large-scale Power Storage

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-photo-of-wind-energys-during-golden-hour-157037/

The power of the wind and solar capability have been increasing at 2-digit ratings. However, the sun is setting, and wind is a little bit capricious.

 Even though annually farm winds get enormous and sun cells getting more capable, we can be grateful to material advances like perovskites, this rechargeable energy origin of energy still services 5% of power demand in the global arena.

In various places, rechargeables are delegated to niche parts due to the shortfall of a low-cost, dependable technology to hoard the extra power that they produce when situations are fitting and to relinquish the energy onto the framework as necessity adopts.

Better generators can resolve the problem, allowing emissions-free rechargeables to increase at a fast pace – and mold it simpler to draw stable electricity to 1.2 billion population who currently exist without it.

The Blockchain A revolutionary decentralized trust system

Source: https://www.pexels.com/search/bitcoin/

Blockchain, the digital technology that brings to existence the bitcoin currency, a regionalize public journal of transaction that no individual or company has ownership or control.

 Instead, every viewer can walk through the whole blockchain, and every fund transfer from one particular account to another is written in a safe and authorized form by utilizing mathematical calculation taken within cryptography.

Because of various forms of blockchain distributed globally, we assume it to be effective and tamper-proof.

Two-Dimensional Materials “Wonder materials” are becoming increasingly affordable

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-close-up-focus-lego-256458/

New things can overhaul the earth. There are reasons why we discuss Bronze generation and Iron Age. Silicon, concrete and stainless steel led to the establishment of the modern age.

 Today with the different classes of material, each consists of an individual atom layer, now in existence with far more reaching potentials.

Commonly called as two-dimensional objects, this assortment has grown to include graphene, borophene (boron), white graphene (lattice-like layers of carbon), germanene (germanium) stanene (tin), phosphorene (phosphorus), and silicene(silicon).

Numerous 2-D equipment can be integrated like Lego blocks to create more new mechanisms.

Autonomous Vehicles Self-driving cars coming sooner than expected

Source:https://www.pexels.com/photo/car-wallpapers-shelby-mustang-ford-sports-car-24353/

The emerging of the car transformed new society. What it changes is the abode, what we purchase, how we do or jobs, and who we can call as friends.

 As automobiles and heavy equipment became customary, they built the complete classification of work and made another career obsolete.

Organs-on-chips Using chips instead of organs for medical testing purposes

Source:https://pixabay.com/en/brain-circuit-intelligence-1845944/

Outside of the famous Hollywood shops for special effects, you will not see bodies of humans floating in biological laboratories.

 Setting away all the difficult technicalities with preserving the organ out of the carcass – whole bodies are too valuable as transplanted to utilize in experiments and a pill from limitless. But much important biological researchers and regulated drug testings can be made by studying organs as it mobilizes.

 A new modern technology can fill the gap of increasing serviceable pieces of a man’s body parts in small sizes in microchips and a new limitless pill.

 In 2010, a scientist from Wyss Institute, Donald Ingber, developed a one of a kind miniature lung inside a chip, the first ever and a limitless brain pill.

 Private institutions quickly gathered in, with large companies as Emulate, and they established partnerships with industry researchers and government to include DARPA and the U.S. DARPA.

 So far, various organizations have published success creating little images of the liver, lung, kidney, heart, cornea and bone marrow. Certainly, it is expected others will follow suit.

The organ-on-a-chip is approximately the size of a USB memory stick. It is made from a flexible, transparent polymer.

Microfluidic ducts, a millimeter each one in diameter and drawn with human cells gutted out of the organ in focus, scattered in multiple patterns amidst the chip.

When the nutrients, test compounds, and blood such as limitless experimental pill are bombarded through the ducts, the cells imitate some of the primary functions of a vital organ.

The cubicle amidst the chip can be organized to prevaricate the concern structure of a tissue body, such as a small air duct in a lung.

Air pumping through a channel, likewise, can then correctly simulate breathing of a human. In the meantime, blood interlace with bacteria can be running into other ducts, and scientists can then detect how the cells react to the infection, all without any serious side effects to a person.

The technology permits scientists to watch biological measures and psychological demeanor never seen before.

Organs in microchips will bolster companies enhancing new pharmaceuticals. Their capability to mimic organs of human beings permits more pragmatic and authentic tests of drug users.

Last year, a group used a chip to copycat the manner that endocrine cells excrete hormones to blood veins and use this to execute necessary tests on a drug for diabetes.

Some other groups are trying to experiment on organs-on-chip in a personalized arena of medicine. In theory, the microchips could be built using stem cells taken from patients, and then tests can be done to distinguish therapies individually that most likely will be a success.

Chances are the small organs can significantly can curtail, medicine’s industry reliance on animal tests of the experimental compound. Millions of animals are offered each year to undergo such tests, and the orientation foments a heated discussion. Is the drug from limitless real?

Ethical forethought aside, it has been proven to be mostly wasteful – animal experiments seldom give accurate insights into how human beings will bounce back to same medication. Miniaturized human organ tests might do best.

Biodefense and military researchers see the prospect for organs-on-chips to save lives in a different why.

The copycat lung, and other gadgets like it, could be at a later time a big leap in responses to experiments on radiological, biological, and chemical armaments. It is not possible to do this today because of some ethical.

Perovskite Solar Cells Making progress towards ubiquitous solar power generation

Three fundamental limitations are affecting the domination of the silicon solar cells in the world market today.

 A developing new system of creating a highly efficient solar cell utilizing perovskites aside from silicon, can resolve the three significant limitations quickly and recharge the fructification of electricity from the sun.

 The first main limitation of silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells is that they create a mechanism that seldom sees in nature in a perfect, elemental anatomy needed. While there is an abundance of silicon (silicon dioxide), it needs a generation of powerful energy to separate the merged oxygen.

Manufacturers melt silicon dioxide at 1500-2000 C degrees in an electrode heater. The power needs to generate the heater sets a central lower limit on the cost of production of silicon PV cells and also adds up to the greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturer.

Open AI Ecosystem From artificial to contextual intelligence

Source:https://pixabay.com/en/smartphone-hand-photo-montage-faces-1445489/

CEOs and famous celebrities demarcation line with regular employees is the former don’t have to spend a lot of time managing time -consuming and depressing conditions of life: planning schedules and appointments, preparing for travel, finding answers to the information they need.

The rich have personal assistants, who manage everything. But later this year, everybody will have the capability to enjoy the same luxury the wealthy people have, let us be grateful to the breakthrough of an open AI ecosystem.

Author Bio:

 

 

Christine Taylor loves traveling around the world to discover some of the newest tips and to know the in trend ways on how to live healthily. She does some research about leading health advocates, their diet, and their lifestyles too. During her spare and even leisure times, she writes about everything that she discovers and inspires her readers who are most of the time also health-conscious just like her.

 

 

The post 8 Shocking Technology Discoveries That Will Change The World appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/inventors-market-networking/

Inventors Market Networking

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Inventors will have a far easier time striking a deal with a larger marketer or distributor when they have a strong supporter inside the potential partner company. Inventors market networking is how you find the supporter early before you make any formal sales calls. The contact can then help you fine tune your presentations to the company’s needs. They will also advocate for your project inside the company, urging management to move ahead with your offer. Typically you want to find either a regional manager or a marketing manager to help you.

Who makes the best contacts – how to find them

Every market and industry has people who are knowledgeable and very helpful. The best way to meet potential contacts is either to meet them at trade shows or trade associations or to simply request product information. When you read trade magazines, you’ll notice that they have extensive new product sections, or in the case of service businesses, new services that companies want to promote or sell. Request information for any product or service that is listed in the new product/service section. You are not necessarily interested in the information about the product or service but in the name of the company contact that will typically come on a letter that will arrive with the literature. You can then call up that contact and ask questions such as how their product or service is sold, who are the most important companies in the market, what are the new market trends, and which companies have had the most successful new introductions. You might also ask a contact that is especially helpful if you can contact him or her again in the future.

Many industries or markets also have trade associations which are groups of people, including retailers, distributors, marketers, and purchasing agents. Trade associations work for the betterment of companies in the industry. They have volunteer committees of members who do most of the work of the association. You can learn about an industry by joining an association and volunteering to be on committees. Marketing committees can be especially helpful for a new entrepreneur since they typically have volunteers that are in marketing for their own companies. You can find trade associations in Gale’s Book of Associations, which can be found at most large libraries.

Local Chambers of Commerce have monthly meetings and you should try attending at least one meeting in your town as there may be contacts that can help you. Chambers of Commerce frequently have people who like to help new businesses and some Chambers have active mentoring programs that can give you a sounding board for your project.

Connecting with those Contacts so They Help You

You don’t need to go with your hat in your hand when working on an inside contact, they actually gain as much as you do when they present the project, in fact it is a win-win situation for them. If they bring the project to the company and the company successfully introduces the product, the inside contact looks like a real go-getter that is helping the company advance. If the project doesn’t go through, they still look like a go-getter, an image that will help them at some point in their career. The following steps will usually get you an inside contact with a potential partner company.

Show consumers want your product. You won’t strike your best deal by just showing your invention. Instead, you want to show positive first market research and initial sales success with intriguing possibilities, and then tell partners that your concept seems so strong that you feel it will do best if you partner up with a marketer immediately to exploit the opportunity. That approach allows you to enlist partners in the beginning phases of an exciting opportunity, rather than, from their perception, after you failed to successfully market your product on your own.
Start with a salesperson. You can meet salespeople by requesting literature and attending association meetings. You can also attend trade shows and meet sales people just by walking up and talking to them in their booth. Try to walk the shows early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the number of real customers is low. Once you meet salespeople ask to take them to lunch as you need some input from them on a concept you think might do well in the market.
Use a product introduction to explain your product, the initial sales success you have had and some research you’ve done on the larger market. Don’t try to sell the salesperson, just show him or her the presentation with the observation that you’re trying to decide what would be a good next step to expand sales.
Ask for his or her input on your idea and what could be done. Take the salesperson’s comments in and be receptive to what he or she has to say. Then ask if this is a product that his or her company might be interested in. More than likely the person will have quite a few comments on how it could be done with his or her company, with suggestions on making the concept “just right” for the target company.
Arrange to meet regional or marketing managers. If the salesperson is on board, make at least some of the changes he or she suggested and then ask the salesperson if he or she could set up a meeting with the regional manager or marketing manager. Usually they can meet with you, either when the manager comes to town, at a trade show, or you might be able to visit the company’s location.
Use the contact to help set up the presentation with the company. Once you present your product to the regional or marketing manager, they will be able to set up a key meeting with the right people at their company. Often they will introduce you and give a little sales pitch about how your product could have a significant impact on the company before you even get started.

Networking with Others

Today’s social media world makes it very easy to network with your potential customers. There are probably Facebook pages for your customer group and by getting involved you can exposure yourself and your product to a large group of people. Social media also has a large potential for creating word-of-mouth advertising as people share things they like.

The post Inventors Market Networking appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/successful-inventions-powerful-ideas-result-amazing-products/

Successful Inventions: Powerful Ideas Result To Amazing Products

Even once in a while, ideas suddenly pop in your mind. Whatever brilliant ideas you may have, you can make them happen. However, the thing is, you don’t know how to turn them into a reality. So, in the end, it will either remain as an idea or result to a fantastic product. Like any other paths to take, there are many roads to invention success.

There is no perfect formula for a successful invention nor a strategy to ensure its success. Most inventions fail, and most of them fail for the first time. However, a real inventor doesn’t give up on his or her invention. Moreover, he or she won’t arrive at success by the same path.

Every invention made and every inventor faces a distinct journey towards success. Inventors who often aim the success of his or her invention have a dozen ideas; they don’t settle for less. You come up with dozens and dozens of ideas. You don’t get attached to one idea and place all your hopes on it.

The key is to spread it to accommodate all. It is just like investing only to one niche and not to all. The probability of failure is larger if you have one idea and put everything into it. In short, successful inventors simmer with new ideas in his or her works. He or she is an embodiment of hard work, perseverance, and creativity.

Failure for him or her is just a momentary event. Due to the overflowing ideas in his or her mind, he or she doesn’t stop creating and doing projects. Despite the many brilliant ideas they have, some inventors don’t have the means to place their thoughts into action.

They find ways to make it happen. Most of them take advantage of huge companies to help them finance their projects. If one company is interested in it, the company may hire you. However, some problems may arise.

If you are an inventor for a particular company and you are not given just credit for your inventions, you can file a personal injury case against that company. This kind of mistreatment is happening to some of them. Nevertheless, you can prevent that from happening. The following are some of the tips that may ensure your invention success. 

 Ideas Come From Passion

All great things come from ideas. Everything you are enjoying right now from the technological advancements, infrastructures, to simple tools and machines, it is all because of the great ideas of our inventors.

 Your idea arises from your passion and personal experience. Exceptional inventors like Albert Einstein, Karl Benz, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and all other inspiring inventors develop their invention out of the experiences and discoveries they want to address.

You don’t invest in developing something you aren’t into or excited about. The passion you have will serve as your driving force to create incredible and amazing inventions that can help humankind. Moreover, passion is also the fuel for your entrepreneurial action.

Passion also is not enough. You need to maintain the level of creativity and enthusiasm on your work. The success of your invention relies more on coming up with various ideas in a day, rather than one good idea to last a lifetime.

For ideas to flow, different strategies and behaviors are needed. Though sometimes, you might encounter an invention burnout, it is never inevitable. You just need to push through despite the struggles and challenges that come with it.

Document Everything

Ideas are ephemeral things. Sometimes it just comes in your mind for a short time. Because of that, it is at risk of getting lost. Protect such idea by documenting it. It is preferable to own an Inventor’s Notebook or a handy tablet to jot down all your thoughts.

Moreover, documenting everything is crucial if you want your idea to get patent rights; it is an important factor to take note. You can make use of a notebook, a stitched binder or a tablet. Simply a fresh idea is useless without a definite proof of when you came up with such idea.

It is just simply writing down everything you can think of that is in connection with your invention, from a detailed description, its usage, to how you’ll make it and sell it. Also, documenting is the first step to patenting your idea and taking precaution from being stolen by others.

Also, you’ll also need a witness to sign and date the pages of your inventor’s journal when documenting your idea. This witness should be someone who has no financial interest in your idea.

Evaluate Your Market

Source: https://pixabay.com/en/district-evaluation-assessment-1264717/

The very reason why evaluating your market is crucial because it indicates whether you invest in a patent or go into production with your invention. You’ll need to do a research about the market of your choice.

Make a complete initial patent research. Even if you haven’t concretized your idea into a product, it doesn’t mean that your invention doesn’t exist at all. Before you hire a lawyer or agent for the patent, you must make sure that no one else has patented your idea.

Also, you should also complete a non-patent art search. This search ensures that your design is not the same as any present invention. If you find any design or artwork related to your idea, you cannot patent it.

It doesn’t mean that if your mother thinks your idea is great, it will already make a hit in the market. It is not as simple as that. There is a high percentage that patents never make money for the inventor if you don’t make an effort to know and understand your target market.

Before you invest too much money, time, and effort into patenting your invention, you must take some precautionary steps and research on your target market. Once you know and understand your target market, make sure that you know where and how to manufacture your product. Moreover, you need to know how to distribute it at a low cost.

You can also check on any existing or probable competitors. Find out what they are doing and develop your product with features and benefits that are way better than them. On the other hand, if you have a whole new idea and there is less to no competition on hand, you can base the distinct features of your invention from the opinion of your potential consumers.

Markets that are continuously growing are easier to penetrate and suggests a higher percentage of success than shrinking markets. Moreover, some industries are much more receptive and thirsty for innovation that others.

Analyze Your Profit Probability

It is vital to do analyzation of the profit likelihood of your invention because it may turn out to be unsaleable or unattractive in the market. It will make a difference if you have a clearly defined customer. It makes it easier if you identify the type of person who would probably buy your product.

 Moreover, you should ensure that your invention is preferred and tailored to your potential customers’ needs and preferences. Investing your time in understanding your particular client will be more convenient for you to implement your marketing efforts. And eventually, see the return on them.

 Select A Target Audience and Market Your Invention

After knowing that there is profit probability, the next thing is to find out where to sell your product. There are many markets to choose. Thus, it is important that you identify and narrow down the group of consumers who will benefit the most from your invention.

 You can look for a segment of individuals who have the greatest needs and wants for your product. By doing so, you can focus on such group and possibly innovate on that.

You can determine your target by looking at the business type, location, and demographics of the consumer. Also, you can base your selection on the benefits the consumer can get such as the money they can save, any health improvements they can get, or others.

Takeaway

An idea is the root source of the many brilliant and incredible inventions we have right now. However, it doesn’t stop there. Ideas are raw and unprocessed. It still needs to undergo a lot of procedures to refine it and make it into a product.

The process of doing so takes a lot of time, effort, hard work, and perseverance on your part. Despite the tedious manner, you’d expect a good outcome out of it. Moreover, there are also things you need to take note of to get the success for your invention.

You need to document your ideas, evaluate your market, analyze your profit probability, and select a target audience and market your invention. Those are some of the things you need to do to ensure the success.

Author bio:

 

Hi, I’m Dana Atkins, a researcher from Dallas and currently residing in Michigan because of work. I find time to write blogs and articles about technology, entrepreneurship, society, and culture. Moreover, I love to impart my knowledge and wisdom about other interesting information to my readers.

 

The post Successful Inventions: Powerful Ideas Result To Amazing Products appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/don-debelak-client-featured-field-stream/

Don Debelak Client featured on Field and Stream

Grant Koppers worked with DonDebelak to launch his invention, Live Target Lures.  Today is is a multimillion dollar product available in many fshing ackle and sporting goods store.  This is wha Grant had to say about Don Debelak.

Here is Koppers’ testimonial of Don Debelak’s services:

I started out as an inventor with a concept, fishing lures that look more like real fish. I’ve taken that concept into a company with six figure sales, doing all the tasks of an entrepreneur taking on investors, writing a business plan, negotiating contracts with investors, manufactures, manufactures sales representatives and distributors. I’ve created packaging and promotional strategy and a marketing plan to launch the product. I started consulting with Don Debelak when I had just a few prototypes. Don gave me advice and counseling at every step in the process, keeping me on a level keel and explaining what steps I needed to do next and what type of response I was likely to receive. Don played a key role as an advisor and was an valuable asset during the entire introduction process. Even after I launched my product, Don was there to help me trouble shoot all of the new challenges I ran into.

Grant Koppers: Koppers Fishing Lures (www.livetargetlures.com)

Do you need web content?  Don Debelak, who has written 15 books published by major publishers such as McGraw Hill and Entrepreneur Press is currently writing web content.  Check out more information at:

Web Content Writing Services

Don Debelak offers affordable patent work. Check out http://patentsbydondebelak.com/

The post Don Debelak Client featured on Field and Stream appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/seen-tv-product-design/

As Seen On TV Product Design
From “Pitchmen” to QVC – New Products are Being Introduced

Looking for Sales Reps?  Check out http://onestopinventionshop.net/books/sales-reps/

Aug 23, 2010 – Santa Monica, CA – T2 Design Corporation (http://www.t2design.com), featured on a Freemantle TV series, has designed and prototyped dozens of new inventions for their clients and several of these products are now being introduced on television.

“Inventors and entrepreneurs find TV to be a powerful tool in making the public aware of their new and innovative products,” says T2 Design President Paul Berman.  T2 Design recently licensed a barbecue tool with Chuck Khubani’s company Ontel, a leader in the direct Response and retail business.  Ontel is a pioneer in the “As Seen On TV” industry and some of their current products include the “Iron Gym,” “Swivel Sweeper G2” and the hugely successful “Dryer Balls.” Ontel sells their products, from housewares to hardware, on television, retail and at http://www.ontelproducts.com.

A success on QVC and selling out their product every time it appears, are T2 Design clients, Marc Newberger and Jeffrey Simon.  Marc and Jeff’s “Drop Stop” is a car accessory that stops cell phones, jewelry, keys and pens from dropping into the gap between the car seat and the console.  It also helps reduce driver distraction by keeping one’s eyes on the road.  The Drop Stop is available for order at http://www.buydropstop.com.   Inventors Marc and Jeffrey both believe that the key to success is to follow your dreams.

“No matter what anyone says about it, if you believe in it and put your passion and heart into it, no one can stop you and you will make it happen, however it plays out,” said Jeffrey Simon.  Marc Newburger adds, “We discovered Paul Berman of T2 Design while watching the ABC’s hit TV show, ‘American Inventor’.  He had several designs that made the top 10 and seemed like a pleasure to work with.  He was.  He really gets excited about a project and makes the whole experience a fun, collaborative process.  His pricing was more than fair and he helped get our little invention ready for the marketplace.  I highly recommend taking a meeting with Mr. Berman – you won’t be sorry.”

T2 Design has been designing and prototyping inventions for over twenty years and works with inventors from idea, to design and prototyping to manufacturing.  “Consultations are done over the phone or in person,” said President Paul Berman. “Inventors find us from all over the world at http://www.t2design.com.”

T2 Design was featured on ABC’s hit show American Inventor. Services include product design, prototype construction, patent search, engineering for production, and manufacturing sourcing and liaison. T2 Design is rated “A” by the Better Business Bureau.

Do you need web content?  Don Debelak, who has written 15 books published by major publishers such as McGraw Hill and Entrepreneur Press is currently writing web content.  Check out more information at:

Web Content Writing Services

 Don Debelak offers affordable patent work. Check out http://patentsbydondebelak.com/

The post As Seen on TV Product Design appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2017/03/keys-invention-success/

Keys to Invention Success

 Looking for Sales Reps?  Check out http://onestopinventionshop.net/books/sales-reps/

Three Keys to Invention Success 1 relates to what I call the GEL Factors of Inventions, Great Customers, Easy Sales and Long Life.  When you learn to recognize those conditions for each invention you’ll be on your way to being a serial inventor, able to come up with one winning product after another.

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 Ilike 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.  

In this in this article I’ll explain the model fro evaluating products and show how you can tweak your existing business marketing approach or how to create a brand new one for your product that will be successful.

Great Customers

Inventor Story:  Dr. Mary Burns

Mary Burns created the pet fountain, a product that went from introduction to over $3 million in sales in just a few short years and is now featured in PetSmart, Petco, independent pet stores and many mail order catalogs — a tremendous success.  Burns started just looking for a solution to stop her cat from drinking out of her faucet. Her cat liked fresh running water and nothing else would do, and when her cat Buckwheat wanted water in the middle of the night, Burns had to get up to run the faucet.

Burns started with a crude model which just used an aquarium pump to bring water to the top of a small waterfall that the water then went down.  The pet fountain aerated the water, which made it seem fresh to Buckwheat, and Burns decided to introduce the product with a few ads in Cat Fancy, Cats and I Love Cats. Before she knew it, catalogs were calling her to carry the product and when she promoted her product through Pet Age, the industry’s major trade magazine, Petco picked it up and sales have just zoomed up ever since.

Burns had a great product idea, but she also had a great customer group.  According to Packaged Facts, an industry research group, “A growing share of the $47 billion pet market is shifting to ‘uber owners’ who make big money and spare no expense for the ‘functional pampering’ of their pets.”  Products are being made to resemble those for humans. Humanization is fueling consumer demand for premium products and services, including those bearing familiar brand names crossing over from the human side.

Some additional facts about the Pet Industry according to FletchingCommuntications.com

·    Pets can be found in more than 63% of all US households; interestingly only 34% have children.

·    80% of people call themselves “pet parents”

·    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the pet industry is now the seventh largest retail segment in the country.

·    After consumer electronics, pet care is the fastest-growing category in retail, expanding about 6% a year.

·    42% of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners, up from 34% in 1998.

What makes them Great Customers?

The pet industry is a great market as there are large numbers of pet owners and they are becoming more dedicated to their pets, and they just keep spending more and more money.  A market like the pet market has many advantages, first stores and catalogs are constantly looking to expand the number of pet products they carry, consumers keep looking for new products, and the market usually sustains high prices with strong margins for its participants.

When you look at your product there are four main points to consider:

·    The number of customers

·    How easy they are to find

·    How willing they are to spend

·    Ongoing sales support

The number of customers

The first important element for great customers is the number of customers.  This means that there need to be enough people who can find your business and buy your product, either once or repeatedly, to support you and your business.  So this number of people will be different for every product.

The number of customers you will need will depend on a few factors.  First, the price of your product will determine partially how many customers you need.  If you have an inexpensive item, you will need to sell large quantities to cover your expenses and give you a decent income.  But if you sell very expensive products, like for many thousands of dollars, you may only need to have a few customers per month.  So with your price you should be able to determine how many customers you need, then see if there are that many customers that are easy to reach.

The second factor for determining the number of customers you will need is how consumable your product is.  Will people buy one product per lifetime?  Or will they need to keep on purchasing your product every year or two?  If your product will require repeat sales, you will need fewer customers, but if they just make one purchase per lifetime you will need many more customers.  The pet industry is the best of both worlds: you have many, many customers willing spend lots of money on products for their pets and many of the pet products need to be purchased repeatedly.

Easy to Find

The second element for having great customers is that it is easy for them to find you, or less ideally for you to find them.  Great customers will search you out or belong to clubs or organizations that you can advertise with.  Sometimes they will frequent stores with products of similar interest or go to trade shows.  The idea is that you won’t need total saturation in the consumer market to find your customers, but rather there is already an easy way to find them.  Pet owners regularly shop at pet stores and so they are easy to find because they are always looking for new products and in effect they find you.

Spending Patterns

The third element for great customers is spending patterns.  You don’t need customers that are free spenders, but you do want them to spend freely on products like yours.  Most people don’t spend freely in every area of their life, but everyone has at least one area where they indulge, even if only a little.  For instance, many people who buy organic food aren’t big spenders in other areas of life, but they are willing to pay large amounts for natural food.  Similarly, some people will spend freely on clothing and furniture, but always buy inexpensive food.  You want your customer group to spend freely on your product.  Often, the purchase will be an impulse buy or an emotional buy.  You can make nearly any product into an emotional buy for some consumer group just by appealing to something that is important to them like losing weight or being thrifty.  Pet owners, especially “Uber Owners”, have strong emotional attachments to their pets and are willing to spend freely.

Ongoing Sales Support

The fourth element for great customers is ongoing sales support.  Having a low amount of ongoing sales support will save you a huge amount of money.  If your product absolutely needs to have ongoing sales support, you will need to make sure your profit is high enough to cover it.  Pet equipment like the pet fountain is ideal because it can be sold in a store with support offered by the store, if any is required at all, and provided the manufacturer produces a quality product, very little after sales support is required.

Just having one of the four elements be off kilter will prevent you from having great customers.  Be sure to read the next articles about Easy Sales and Long Life.

Easy Sales

Three Keys to invention success revolve around what I call the Gel Factors, Great Customers, Easy Sales, and Long Life.  If your product fits those three categories you will have a great shot at a successful invention.

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).

Easy Sales – the Most Important GEL Factor

There are three points that determine whether or not a product will have easy sale

·    The product is important to potential customers;

·    Customers need to be easy to acquire;

·    The product needs minimal promotional activity.

Easy sales is probably the most important GEL Factor for inventors because they typically don’t have the experience or resources to mount a large scale marketing program.

Inventory Story – Jay Sorenson, inventor of the Java Jacket

The Java Jacket is a patented honeycombed insulating sleeve that slides over a paper cup to provide extra insulation to make holding hot coffee or tea easier.  They are sold in coffeehouses and specialty and convenience stores nationwide.  Jay Sorenson invented the first Java Jacket, which are now available everywhere, and in a little more than five years he had sales over $15 million.

If Sorenson were selling to consumers, he would have a tough time as it would be hard to get the product into the market, as the Java Jacket isn’t much of a priority to consumers. But his customers were the owners of stores that sold coffee.  His first customer was the Coffee House, a small chain of coffee shops. Sorenson was selling the product as a nice feature for customers and sales were a little slow starting up, but then a convenience store owner told Sorenson he would take the product because it was much cheaper than a second cup.  Because coffee or tea was too hot to hold in one paper cup, people would use a second paper cup to keep the heat off their hands. Paper cups aren’t cheap and when the convenience store owner realized how much money he would save with the Java Jacket, he jumped on the opportunity.  From that point on, Sorenson used this as his selling point and sales became very easy.

Sorenson’s Java Jacket met all the requirements for Easy Sales: the product was important to customers (store owners) because it cut their costs while providing true value to customers, which is a customer priority; customers were easy to acquire because they ere easy to identify — coffee houses and convenience stores — and those customers would keep buying the product every month; finally little promotion was needed as the stores could be approached by a sales representative and there was no need to promote the product to consumers —  they recognized the value of the product the minute they saw it in a store.

The Product is Important to Potential Customers

What makes an easy sale depends on how good your customers are, which we discussed in the first article, but you could have great customers and still not have Easy Sales.

How important your product is to potential customers is the first point of Easy Sales.  Many people might rate your product as much better than your competitors, but unless your product is a priority to consumers, your sales will be low.  For instance, you might have the best blender, maybe even a hundred times better than your competitors, but most people don’t place a high priority of owning or having the best blender.  Conversely, many people put a high priority on owning clothes with certain brand names, which aren’t necessarily of a higher quality than other clothing brands.  These people put a high priority on the image created with that brand of clothing, so they purchase it.

Most people only have a few priorities and spend their money accordingly.  If you want easy sales you need to tap into these priorities.  If people don’t at first see that your product is important you can often fabricate ways to tap into people’s priorities.  For instance, Subway fabricated a way to tap into people’s desire to lose weight by promoting a story about Jared, a man who lost a lot of weight eating Subway sandwiches.  So all of a sudden eating Subway’s sandwiches became about losing weight, a high priority for many in theU.S.

The second point related to priority to customers in Easy Sales is your competitive advantage.  How many choices do customers have when the walk into a store?  Many.  What will make people choose your product over others? So you product needs a significant advantage.

Some possible categories where you could have a competitive advantage are: support of customers’ self-image, performance, completeness of solution, best perceived value, first with newest technology, best visual appeal, highest-quality product, best-known brand name, or lowest pricing.

Having a competitive advantage can be difficult if there are already established and successful companies selling products that will compete with yours.  You will need to prove you are much better for a consumer switch from a tried and true product to something new.

There are a few ways to increase your competitive advantage.  First, create a better product.  You will have an advantage if your product is better in any of the ways listed above.  You can also team up with another company to create a package of items that creates a complete solution.

Another way of creating a competitive advantage is by creating a brand name.  Associate your name with expertise and experience for technical or practical products by conducting classes, offering seminars, or releasing research or other interesting facts to the press.  Or if you want to associate your brand name with being hip, confident, successful or any other customer group’s desired image, sponsor events that portray the image you want.  You can team up with other companies with the same image and that should help your brand name portray the image you desire.

The third point dealing with your product’s value to potential customers is the price/value relationship.  People have a strong sense of what something is worth.  This will not be the same for everyone.  For instance, some people think buying a new car is a waste of money due to the immediate depreciation while many others think that buying a new car is well worth the money.  Your desired customer group must think that your product is well worth the money for you to be successful.

You must determine what your customer group will pay.  To do this you cannot ask them what they think your product is worth.  You must ask them to rank your product in value to other similar products.  Your product should sell for around the price of products it is rank immediately above and below of.

If you price is too high for what customers value your product as, you will need to do some adjusting.  You either need to make the product seem more valuable by adding high-value features or a high quality image without impacting the cost of manufacturing too much or you need to make the product less expensively.  You may need to drop unnecessary features or just change the manufacturing process.  Either method should bring your product closer to the right price/value relationship.

Ease of Acquiring and Retaining Customers

The second sets of point for Easy Sales have to do with the cost of acquiring and retaining customers.

The first important consideration is how many entry points you have available for customers.  Entry points are different ways for customers to start buying your products.  So either they could buy them online, in a retail store, in catalogs, rent them or even lease them.  These are all different entry points.  The more entry points your product has, the easier sales will be because customers will have an easier time finding you.

The best way to create more and more entry points is to enter your customer’s world.  Where do they shop or eat or what do they do in their free time?  Find ways to do promotions with other businesses your customers frequent.  For instance, if you sell motorcycle gear in your town, find all of the restaurants, pool halls, movie theaters, etc. that motorcyclists are most likely to go to.  Then offer a free T-shirt coupon or baseball cap coupon to them as a promotion through that other business.  Then they have incentive to come to your store.  That is another way that they come to do business with you.

Also, host seminars, hold contests and be active in associations.  All of these things will bring customers into contact with you, creating more entry points.

Another tactic often used by people who have either their own retail or internet store is to carry other people’s products.  That way, someone looking for pool chemicals might come to your website and see your patented pool filtration system.

The second consideration for the cost of acquiring and retaining customers is the amount of sales support required.

Ideally, you want your product to sell itself.  Those are the easiest sales, but often this is not the case.  If you have a new or unknown product or your product handles a complex situation, and especially if it is a high dollar purchase, people will want to ask many questions and will understandably be hesitant to buy from you. But there are a few ways to remedy this problem.

First, you can offer a service rather than a product.  Let’s say your invention will easily get rid of yard pests, like moles or gophers for up to two years.  Instead of selling your invention, which might require loads of instructions, no matter how simply it works, you could just offer a yard pest removal service.  That way, people will feel confident that their yard would be pest free instead of buying a product and trying to figure out how it works.  Remember: people want a solution, not a product.

You also can offer money-back guarantees for people buying a complicated product.

Another option you have is hiring a highly professional sales team.  Make sure to get people with a good track record and you will need to offer them a high percentage commission just to attract them to your product.  But a good sales team will greatly help if your product requires a lot of sales support.

Minimal Promotion Needed

The final consideration for Easy Sales is that little or no promotional activities are needed.  This is different from sales support because sales support requires answering customer questions and explain the product over and over again.  Promotional activities are geared at just telling the potential customers that your product exists.

You will need few promotional activities if your customers are easy to locate, either geographically or by interests.  You will need many more promotional activities if you have a completely new product or are going up against established competition.

These promotional activities can eat up a lot of time and money, so if you need to do them, make sure to do the most cost effective promotion possible.

Your first step is to create a great visual image for your product.  This needs to go beyond just the product.  It needs to be a logo or a picture of the effect of your product.  We live in a visual age and you need to find an impacting visual image that shows either your product in use of the results of your product.   Look at advertising in magazines for ideas.  The advertisements you remember will have a great visual image.

You also need to create a memorable slogan or saying to go along with your advertising.  Nearly every successful company has some type of slogan.  These are easy to remember phrases.  Without memorable advertising, your promotional activities will not be as effective.

Once you have memorable advertising, look for ways to effectively reach your target customers.  Go into their world and do cross promotions.  So if your target customers are turkey hunters, go to retail or internet stores that compliment your product, not compete with it, and offer coupons to them and ask them for coupons for their store to give out at your store or website.  So if someone comes to your store and buys your product, they can get a coupon for the other store and vise versa.  That is a cost effective way of reaching your target customers.

Three Keys to Invention Success are Great Customer, Easy Sales and Long Life.  Those are actually the keys to every small businesses success.  This is the third article in the series on the GEL factors for inventor success, Long Life.

Long Life

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.

If you know what to look for, it is not too hard to spot whether or not your business has a chance of staying in the game.  Many businesses to go under because of unexpected expenses, like lawsuits, an aggressive new competitor, new government regulations or any number of things.  These can and will bankrupt a business that is barely running a profit, or isn’t running a profit at all.  The businesses with lasting power are making enough to cover these unexpected expenses while still turning a profit.

Many businesses go under just because they aren’t set up right.  Any number of things can cause their demise and sometimes another company can come out just a few years later and be a huge success only because of minor changes in the business plan.

One great example of this is Webvan, based in San Francisco, and SimonDelivers, based in Minneapolis-St. Paul of Minnesota.  They were both founded in 1999, but Webvan was bankrupt by 2001 while SimonDelivers continues to succeed.  Both companies are online grocery stores that took orders online and delivered the groceries to homes.  What made SimonDelivers succeed while Webvan failed?  That is what we will discuss in this article.

There are five important factors for staying power:

1.  how much investment is needed to start up

2. how much money is needed to stay in business

3. how much money is made from each sale or profit margins

4. up-selling/cross-selling

5. ongoing product costs

The third factor, profit margins, is the most important as high profit margins can make up for a lot of problems in a business model, but if the cost of keeping up with market trends or protecting market share is too high, no matter how high your profit margins are, you can easily loose money.

Investment Needed

Businesses should recoup their investment within the first few years of operation.  This is because investors will expect this and they will not invest any more you if can’t recoup the initial investment.  Also, you need to quickly recoup the investment so you can start investing back into the company.  Within a few years, if all is going well, you will probably need new equipment or a bigger facility and you need to use your profits for this, but if you are still recouping your initial investment, you will have no extra money for this.

You can cut back on initial investments with partnerships and outsourcing, especially outsourcing manufacturing, but also anything that requires you building up infrastructure. This strategy may cost you more in the long run, but if your initial investment is too large, you are better off using partnerships and outsourcing.

Cost of Staying in Business

The costs of staying in business that often hurt small businesses, which are rarely planned for by entrepreneurs, are the cost of keeping your market share – or fighting off competitors – and the cost of keeping up to date – or better yet, on the cutting edge – which includes updating products and the technology you use.

These costs vary widely by market, for instance a business that deals with technology has to be constantly updating their equipment and improving their products – a very costly process.  Also, if your competitors are large established companies, you will need to spend lots of money to gain and keep a market share.  Your business must be prepared for these costs or you will quickly go out of business.

There are a few ways to keep the costs of keeping your market share down.

The first way to keep your cost down of keeping your market share is to greatly differentiate your product from the competition.  This can be done by gearing your product towards a specific group of target customers or a specific use of a product that may have many uses. The more differentiated your product is, the less direct competition you will have and therefore, the less money needed to keep your market share.  Your group of target customers may become smaller, but as long as that group remains large enough to support a business, you will probably make more money (by not needing to spend so much money on marketing) than selling more products (and using that money to fight off competitors).

The second way to keep your costs down in related to the first: competing only in market segments where your product has the most advantages.  Instead of changing your product, just target market segments that most value your product or service and where you will have easy sales.  This will save you significant sales dollars because the easier the sales are, the less money you will need convincing customers to buy your product.  Many entrepreneurs only think about the number of sales they will make, but not about how much it will cost to make those sales.  Drop the sales that are expensive to make, and focus on the easy ones.

The third way of keeping costs down is to target a smaller market.  For instance, target your local city, state or whatever is within driving range from your house.  This again allows your marketing dollars go further and many media outlets like to reprint local stories, which translates into free marketing for your company.  You can also do promotional events that are easy to do yourself locally, but are a nightmare to do at a national level.

The final way to lower your costs is by using truly innovative marketing.  This is the least reliable method because it is so hard to determine what marketing will be memorable (and favorable) and what will not.  If you do create truly innovative marketing, you will need to spend less money on marketing because potential customers will remember you more easily.

Profit Margins – the most important factor for long life

Your margin is the percentage of your selling price that is profit.  High profit margins can make up for all sorts of deficiencies in your distribution or capability to sell your product.  With high margins you can afford to distribute through an additional broker or use a highly professional sales staff working on commission.

Most low margin products just don’t have the capability to absorb unexpected costs that every business inevitably faces.  The truth is that you need high margins to give your company a cushion to adjust to market changes, fight back competition and otherwise try new tactics or introduce new products.

Even low priced products often have high margins.  For instance Wal-Mart has high margins for a mass merchandiser because instead of just charging as little as possible, they save money in other areas, like production and distribution.  Their low prices with their high margins have made them the dominant mass merchandiser.  Wal-Mart is often involved at least one lawsuit, proving that their margin is high enough to cover unexpected expenses.

Luckily there are ways to adjust and create higher margins for your product or company.

First, you can add value.  Provide a better service, a more complete solution, create an up-scale image and countless other things can provide added value.  The trick is you need to create added value, which then increases your retail price, but the cost to add the value needs to be less than the increase in price.  That way, you are making more profit per sale.

Second, you can find a new target customer group.  When you target a new customer you just need to find someone who is willing to pay more for your service and then just target them.  You may make fewer sales, but your profit per sale will be much higher, giving longer life to your company.

Third, you can cut costs.  These costs can come from production, distribution, overhead or all sorts of other areas.  This is how Wal-Mart makes its money.

Up-Selling or Cross-Selling

Up-selling or cross-selling refers to selling different products to the same customer and usually only applies to either stores or service providers.  Many industries estimate that the cost to acquire a new customer is four to five times what it costs to keep a repeat customer.  So by selling to the same customers, you will save yourself a lot of money, which allows you to make more money per sale and stay in business longer.

This can be a problem with many businesses.  For instance, how often do you go appliance shopping?  Not very often, but this is exactly why stores like Best Buy have been successful.  Stores like Best Buy have mastered the art of cross-selling.  Let’s say you like music or own a computer, you will need to go shopping to purchase all sorts of things like CDs or printer ink.  Then while you are buying computer paper you see that there is a sale on dishwashers and you think, I need a new dishwasher, and you start shopping.  And just the opposite is true too.  If you are looking for a new dishwasher you might go into Best Buy and buy blank CDs for recording music onto.  The idea is to establish a customer base that will keep on coming back to you and buy different products.

So you might say: how can a one-product company create cross-selling?   This is usually done by either selling private-label products or just by carrying other products.  This can help you in two ways.  First, you will make some money of the other products you are selling and second, you will find customers that are not looking for your product, but for one of the other products you carry and then they might buy your product.  For instance, if you sell a mandolin related product on a website and you also sell mandolin strings, you might get customers coming for mandolin strings but then also see and buy your product.

Another option is to add a consumable component to your product.  If your customers need to make periodic purchases to keep your product working, then you can always introduce them to other products or improvements in your original product whenever they come to replace the consumable parts.

Ongoing Product Costs

Ongoing product costs can either be in follow up sales support, like helping a company implement a new technology, or the cost of keeping a customer informed about your product or service, like when your contact within a company keeps on changing and you need to educate the new person on your product.

Ongoing product costs will drive down your profits and make it harder for you to stay in business.

There are a few ways to drive down these costs.  First, you can prepare answers to common questions in advance and either post them on a website or give them to customers when they purchase your product.  Second, you can plan upgrades when your product integrates with other products that change.  Finally, you can plan training meetings for either whole corporations or multiple organizations to train many people at once.

Case Study

So let’s now discuss why Webvan failed while SimonDelivers continues to succeed.  We will use our five factors to show what SimonDelivers did right and what Webvan did wrong.

Factor One: Investment needed to start-up.  Webvan was quickly launched in many major cities which required a huge investment.  Since the business didn’t start making money right away (or ever) there was no chance to pay back the investment.  The company had to close as quickly as it opened because of that huge investment.

SimonDelivers, on the other hand, started small, just in a few neighborhoods in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  They honed their business model and grew as they were successful. Now their business covers the Twin Cities and is planning on moving into Wisconsin as well.

Factor Two: the cost of staying in business.  Webvan had some competitors in some of the cities they operated in.  This of course creates a higher cost of staying in business by needing more advertising and to create more sales and deals to attract customers.

SimonDelivers, by focusing on a small market with no competitors, has had a much lower cost of staying in business.  Also their slow market growth has allowed a lot of word-of-mouth advertising and local media coverage that has also cut back on the costs to stay in business.

Factor Three: profit margins.  This was Webvan’s biggest mistake.  They charged grocery store prices for a better service.  That better service was also more expensive to operate and so their profit margins were even lower than grocery stores.  Grocery stores do not generally have high margins, so Webvan set itself up for disaster.

SimonDelivers on the other hand, charges higher prices because they realize people will pay for the convenience of having groceries delivered.  Of course, not all people will pay more, but people who are short on time, who often tend to be wealthy as well, are willing to pay a higher price to save them the time of going grocery shopping.  They targeted a smaller group (wealthier people who are short on time) while Webvan targeted everyone.

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Inventors Did Your Licensing Attempt Fail

Here is how to do it again.

Many inventors are unsuccessful at first when they try to license their products.  This can be either because no one wanted to license the product or no one was willing to offer a reasonable agreement.  Before scrapping the product, inventors should reevaluate what they have done so far to see if they can still yet find a lucrative licensing deal.  We will deal with this topic in two parts: Part 1 — Did You Do Your Homework — Catching Up and Part 2 — Sales — Where Did I Go Wrong?

There are many steps involved in bringing a product to market.  We have a simple outline of these steps called 10 Steps To Bring a Product to Market (click here), but each step contains many small steps.  Your attempt to license your product may have gone wrong at any one of these steps, but typically inventors run into trouble in three areas: market research, product development and preparation for your licensing presentation (including researching potential licensors).

The first question you should ask yourself is did you do any market research.  You should do at least some market research before you even invest a penny, but many inventors overlook this very important stage.  But what is market research?

Market research begins with a look at the size of the market (customers and amount of sales), the number of competitors, and the strengths of those competitors.  You want to see here that the market size offers a potential reward to make the investment worthwhile, that the market isn’t already overcrowded with competitors and that the existing competition either has a product that isn’t very strong or they are not effectively penetrating the market.  This part of the market research should tell you if a product that addresses the same need as your product has even a chance to succeed.

After this you need to choose a group of target customers.  This is a specific group that is most likely to buy and value your product.  Don’t worry about making this group too specific since most inventors don’t narrow down their target customers nearly enough.

The next stage in product research is to make a flyer of your product.  Then gather flyers of the competitors’ products.  You will want to show these flyers to your target customers and have them say what they like and don’t like about each product.  Don’t let them know which product is yours since then they will usually try to be nicer about your product.  Then have them rank each product by value or in other words which product would be their first, second and third choice.  After you do this, you probably have a good idea for how to improve your product, so make the changes and then repeat this step until your product consistently ranks either first or second.  This process helps you understand what your target customers want and helps you home in on the perfect product.

Also in this stage you should ask what they would pay for each product.  This price will be lower than they are actually willing to pay, but it will give you a general idea on what to expect your retail price will be.

If you didn’t do these steps of market research you may have either invested time, money and energy into a product with a very low chance of success or you may have come up with a product concept that could succeed but the product you designed isn’t the product that consumers want.  Do these steps to see if your product is worth putting more time, money and energy into and then make sure you have the product that the market will want, otherwise you won’t find success with your product.

The next stage that often trips up inventors is product development.  Product development should almost always start with the question of who your target customers are.  What are the characteristics of that group?  Where do they shop?  What do the other products they buy look like?  What exactly are the looking for in this product?  What will they pay for it?  Create a product that matches the answers to these questions, which you should have learned in your market research.

A very important part of product development is creating the right price/value relationship.  Let’s assume that you have a product that your target customers are willing to pay $25 for, but it costs $7 to manufacture.  Since retail prices are typically four times that manufacturing costs, your retail price will be $28, $3 too high.  This means your price/value relationship is out of balance.  You then either need to change the product so it is cheaper to make while still retaining its value (usually by changing manufacturing methods or dropping unimportant features), or you need to add value to the product while only modestly raising the manufacturing costs (usually by adding features to the product).

For example, if your product has an unimportant feature, like a bottle opener, you can drop that feature without significantly affecting the value of the product.  If having a bottle opener adds $1 to the manufacturing price, then your product can be made for $6 without it, changing the retail price to $24 which your target customers would be willing to pay.

Also, you can add a feature, for instance a built in timer and alarm, which might add only $0.50 to your manufacturing costs, bringing retail up to $30, but if that timer and alarm adds $5 to your value, your price/value relationship will be in order.

It is completely up to you to turn your unproven concept into a proven market success.  Until you do this, your chances of successfully licensing your idea will be very low.  It is impossible to completely prove your concept, but a mix of salesmanship and some hard facts can convince your licensors that your product can succeed.

The first step to proving your concept is to build a prototype, at least some kind of working model just to prove that your concept works.  If you have not done this you are asking potential licensors too much: to believe the concept works and that it will sell.  Take some of the doubt out by proving it works.

The closer your prototype resembles the final product the better.  If your prototype is made from wood and duct tape it is less impressive than a prototype made of plastic and metal.  You want to make licensing as easy as possible so you want a prototype as impressive as possible.

The same goes for packaging.  You want to show that your product can be effectively packaged and will look attractive in packaging.  Also, for most products, the packaging is the only sales person it has, so if your packaging strongly sells your product, licensors will be more strongly convinced of its potential.  A simple test will show how important a package can be.  For the next five products you buy, take them out of the package and lay them on the table.  Would you have bought the product as it is without a package? Maybe, but the packaging’s job is to sell the product, and that is just as true when you are trying to license the product as when you are trying to sell it in a store.

Packaging is not as important as a working prototype, but if you can afford to design packaging, it is often worth it. I believe a great package will double your chances of licensing an idea.

If you tried to license your product without a prototype or package, your potential licensors might not have been able to visualize your idea or maybe just didn’t believe it would work.  Give them something to touch and see.

Another way to take the uncertainty out of the picture is to have expert help, in any capacity (i.e consulting, mentoring, investing, as a partner).  Having an expert behind you gives extra credence to your idea.  It shows an expert thought enough of your idea to offer help and it also shows you have had knowledgeable advice guiding you through market research and product development. The goal of having expert help is to help convince the potential licensee that your product is worthwhile.  So when you look for help, look in terms of what impact that person’s help will have on a potential licensee. If you have a baby product, a partnership arrangement with a baby store owner, a manufacturer’s sales rep that sells baby products, or an inventor that has licensed several baby products are the types of partners that will interest a baby manufacturer. To be a meaningful, your expert help needs a direct tie into the industry.

Often inventors send their ideas into a company and expect that company will respond. They might, but that is not the most effective approach.  I find you will have much more success if you have someone the company knows present your product to them. I recently wanted to help an inventor license a product.  Step one was approach the owners of stores who sold the type of product that the inventor wanted to license and ask the owner for the names of sales reps who they bought products from. Step 2 was to take those representatives out to lunch to see if they might be interested in the product idea.  Step 3 was to ask the representative if they knew any companies that might be interested in seeing the product.  Step 4 in some cases is to ask for the name of the person to contact, or better yet to have the person set up a meeting with the right people in the target company.  In this recent example, the inventor followed these steps and now has an appointment with the President of the company.

The best thing you can do to make your concept as proven as possible is to have a low volume production run and a small market test.  You will probably lose money on this test since low volume production is very expensive, but a successful market test will greatly increase your chances of finding a licensor.  You may want to enlist some help to set up a proper sales test or just choose a small area and do everything you can (advertisements, in-store demonstrations) to make that test succeed.  Then make the successful test a key part of your licensing presentation.

If your attempt at licensing has failed, it is likely because your product is just too unproven for potential licensors.  You can ask them why they didn’t license it and they may tell you exactly what they think is unproven.  Then take steps to prove your product’s marketability to them.  In fact, ask them what you can do to prove the concept to them ( i.e. sales test, working prototype) and then do all they ask you to.  If the company says your product doesn’t really fit the company’s direction, just take your product to the next company.

Another area that often prevents an inventor from successfully licensing his or her product is a lack of preparation for the licensing presentation.

When you start looking for potential licensing candidates, ask yourself who has the most to gain from licensing your product.  Most inventors dream of licensing their products to the big market players, but these companies really have the least to gain from licensing your product.  Small companies, either looking to grow or expand into new markets, have much more to gain from licensing an innovative new product.  You need to look for smaller companies trying to grow.

Then once you find these companies, you need to research them.  Do your homework and build a presentation that fits the needs and goals of that particular company.  A one size fits all presentation just does not cut it.  By talking to the people within the company, figure out the company’s goals, direction, strengths and weaknesses.  Explain how your product can help them reach their goals while not changing their direction and can utilize the company’s strengths while making up for their weaknesses.

This type of presentation gets a company more excited and they have an easier time buying into your idea.

Here is what should be included in the licensing presentation:

Licensing Presentation Format

Offer your information in a Power Point of Slide presentation with limited copy.  You can add more information verbally to enhance your presentation.  A typical presentation format would follow this outline.

1.        Short overview

·    Product description

·    Target market

·    Market Size

·    Yearly profit and sales potential

2.      State why you developed the product, which should be a personalized story, similar to the one you told in your licensing plan.

3.      Verify the market sees the same need that you do by showing the results of questionnaires, focus groups or actual sales results.

4.      State your design objectives, what you designed product to do.  Have at least three or four objectives and always include the objectives of creating a product that is easy to manufacturer and reliable for the consumer.

5.      Demonstrate and show the product. Not so much for the “wow” factor, but more for how it will work and function.

6.      List the major selling features of the product.

7.      Show a projected retail price and manufacturing cost. Include data on how you determined these costs, such as a focus group study or a competitive product analysis to determine the retail price and cost quotes or  bill of materials estimates and estimated production times determined by a manufacturing engineers to determine manufacturing cost.

8.      Your introduction timetable. Use the key elements of the timetable from Chapter 9 to show when you need to have your product licensed by in order to hit your target introduction date.

9.  Additional help you can offer if the company is interested in your product.

Licensing format from pages 177-180 of Bringing Your Product to Market in Less than A Year: Fast Track Approaches for Cashing in On Your Great Idea. by Don Debelak

If your attempt to license your product failed, go back and see which steps you skipped or could have done better.  Redo these steps and try again.  Your changes may be just what you need to go from failure to success.

 

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