Author: Don Debelak

6 Steps to Catch an Inside Contact

Making that key company connection boosts your invention’s chance of success. Inventors have a much better chance of launching their product with a larger company if they can find an inside contact to give them advice and help make connections. You don’t need to go hat in hand when working on an inside contact. These connections gain as much as you do when they present the project. In fact, it is a win-win situation for them. An insider who brings the project to the company for a licensing, marketing or private label deal looks like a go-getter who is helping to make deals whether the project goes to completion or not. These steps can get you an inside contact with a potential partner company: 1. Go in armed with data You won’t strike your best deal by just showing your invention. You’ll need to show positive first market research and initial sales success with intriguing possibilities, then tell the insider that your concept seems so strong you feel it will do best if you partner with a marketer immediately. This approach allows you to enlist partners in the beginning phases of an exciting opportunity, rather than risk the insider’s perception that you’re looking to team up after failing to successfully market your product on your own. 2. Start with a salesperson You can meet salespeople by requesting literature from...

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Team Is Her Ace in the Hole

Golfer’s high standards, expert help led to successful cart fan     Houston’s average winter temperature is in the mid-50s, but this day in 2009 was a warm exception. Area resident Cynthia Wark, an avid golfer, felt the need for a strong fan to keep her cool. Her search for that product yielded subpar results. “All of the cart fans had to be hard wired in the cart, which didn’t help people without a cart, and the battery-powered fans just didn’t put out the airflow I thought was needed,” she recalls. Wark has addressed that market need, with some expert help. The inventor of the Personal Golf Fan and the Personal Go Fan has sold more than 4,500 of the fans at a suggested retail price of $149 through her company, Cynwark Corp., since 2014. The fan has a rechargeable battery and sits in the cup holder of any golf cart. Wark’s road to success was fueled by a strong team that could handle many of the technical aspects of the invention and her dedication to providing the customer a top-notch product.   The planning begins In planning her product, Wark had four design requirements. She wanted to keep the fans at a reasonable weight; create high-velocity airflow; feature an attractive design; and configure the product to fit into a golf cart’s cup holder. She knew she first needed...

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Know Your Cost Breakdowns

Keep manufacturing expenses lower than 25%.  One of the most important planning aspects for inventors is determining costs associated with manufacturing, marketing and selling your product. Inventors often don’t realize that they need their product’s manufacturing costs to be only 20 percent to 25 percent of their projected retail sales price if they hope to make money. See this chart for a typical $100 retail sale: The problem most inventors have before spending large amounts of money is not knowing how to estimate what their product will cost in large production. Often, they only have quotes for prototypes and...

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Slowly, Market Successes Take Weight off Inventor

Backpack alternative helps posture, comfort, sheds light on ergonomics issue.  Physical therapist Marilyn Miller von Foerster had what many would think is an inventor’s dream—until she encountered a common but significant obstacle. She created the BackTpack®, an ergonomically designed backpack substitute that loads the body properly through its central axis for proper posture and better comfort. But she didn’t have the resources needed to educate the market and create instant success. The innovation story Von Foerster has been a physical therapist since 1969, with a focus on back health and rehabilitation. In the 1980s, she was in Nepal and...

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Smaller Shows Can Be Big for You

Regional, highly specific events may improve your odds for key contacts, customers Many inventors, especially those on a tight budget, can benefit by starting their marketing efforts at smaller regional or highly specific trade shows and conferences. Such shows are usually less expensive. Focusing on smaller regional shows makes it easier to meet industry people in your geographic area who can become your mentors and help successfully launch your product. Highly specific shows allow you to target customers who particularly benefit from your product. Success at conferences Twenty-five-year-old Thomas Larson was a student volunteer in the mechanical engineering department...

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