Author: Don Debelak

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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Getting Help but Keeping Control

If you partner in an invention, get expectations in writing.  Because getting a new product on the market requires many skills that we may not be comfortable with, some inventors benefit from teaming with someone who has complementary talents. But for a partnership to work, you should outline your expectations in an agreement—even if it is a checklist—to share with prospective team members: 1 Responsibilities. Explain clearly what each party is responsible for doing and what each party is financially committing to the project. 2 Decision making. You should state that the final decision is yours but that you...

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Hero Clean: From Concept to Retail Shelves

Hero Clean inventor learned valuable lessons along the way. Mike Eaton of Hero Clean, Inc. has branded his product line Cleaning Products Made for Men. Starting in August 2015, Hero Clean’s product line was on the endcaps of 16 Target stores in  California, poised to go into select stores on Long Island. Eaton’s 3 1/2-year journey from idea conception to Target shelves was more complicated than he expected, but his lessons can benefit every inventor. Inspiration Eaton’s story started when he would open laundry detergents to see which detergents had the least offensive odors. He couldn’t take the heavy fragrances of many brands and wasn’t looking for...

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