Guest post by Stephen Key (learn more about Stephen at the end of this post)
My experience as a mentor to entrepreneurs and inventors has taught me that women are especially well suited to picking up the skills and knowledge needed to license their ideas. I think it might have something to do with your capacity to juggle multiple tasks at a time and to gather information quickly. I’ve worked with many mothers who, in their constant attempt to get everything done on time and well, realize that there’s simply got to be a better way of doing things. Inspiration strikes!
I’m a proponent of licensing because it’s a low-risk venture. You don’t need to quit your day job to successfully license your product ideas and you don’t need to spend a lot of money. In fact, I argue you don’t even need a patent or prototype. The rest of this blog will detail some of the most important steps to licensing your ideas.
First, identify an industry you want to develop for. What are you passionate about? Where do your most creative ideas come from? Remember, your product idea need not be revolutionary. In fact, I think it’s much easier to license a simple idea that offers a clear benefit. After you’ve come up with an idea, do a Google product search. Does this idea already exist? Has someone thought of it before? Continue your investigation at local stores. As you’re perusing aisles with similar products, write down the names of the companies that sell these products. These are the companies you’re going to try to license your product to.
The best way to pitch your idea is through the use of a sales sheet. This sheet should include a simple drawing of your product and a short statement about its benefit. Before you submit your product idea to any company, make sure to file for a provisional patent application. It only costs $110 to do so and will protect your idea for up to a year. There are many software programs to help you, like PatentWizard.
Target companies that aren’t the largest or smallest in their field; mid-sized companies who desire greater market share are often the most receptive to new outside ideas. I guarantee that you will be amazed at the welcome you receive when you contact them to submit your idea!
About the Author
Stephen Key is a nationally renown licensing and inventing expert. He has licensed over 20 of his own products and holds over 12 patents, having had his products in Wal-Mart, the Disney Stores & Theme Parks and 7/11. Stephen has been in national newspapers and magazines and on national TV shows such as The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and Dr. Phil. Mr. Key has also been a keynote speaker at the recent US Patent and Trademark Office’s Independent Inventors Conference. His products have won awards all over the world including two finalist spots in the 2011 Edison Awards. Mr. Key’s new book “One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work,” hits store shelves March 18th, 2011 and is available now via online booksellers. Visit Stephen’s website at www.inventright.com.