There is not one person or one thing that is the key to your success. This is true in life, but especially relevant for inventors. I love hearing from creative people who want to change the world. But more often than not, what I hear is a variation of if I could just find the right person... or the right company... or the right investor... or the right partner.... Which is too bad, because only you control your destiny! It really is up to you, you and you only. Stop chasing false opportunities. Television, contests, competitions, trade shows, companies purporting to want to represent you -- these are not your ticket to success. An extremely small percentage of inventors do benefit from them. But fundamentally, what I want you to realize is they're not about you, they're about them. You need to adopt the same mentality.
What do I mean by that? Chart a road map for yourself and stick to it. Stay focused. Embrace being in the drivers' seat. Double down on yourself instead of searching for an external savior.
Use these tips to increase your likelihood of success.
1. Develop a product people want and will spend money on. Test the market to find out. One of the most efficient ways of doing so is by trying to license the idea. Don't fool yourself. The only opinion that truly matters if you want to license an idea is that of the companies you show it to. Not your attorney. Not your family. Not your friends. Not even me.
2. Protect your idea with a provisional patent application. The patent and prototype method of innovation is fraught with risk, which doesn't work for me. I'm a no risk entrepreneur. I know the vast majority of patented ideas are never profitable. Filing a PPA is affordable, and enables you to spend a year testing the market first. Are companies interested? Is your idea any good? You need to know. You can and should teach yourself how to write a PPA. The more of an expert on your idea you become the better.
3. Create a few strong marketing materials. You need a killer one-line benefit statement, an attractive sell sheet, and an effective infomercial. What do I mean by infomercial? Nothing brings an idea better to life than video. Video sell sheets are detailed at length in this article.
4. Contact the right companies. Whether you actually want to license your idea or are trying to get feedback, you need to approach companies that are truly a good fit. You waste your time when you don't. Create an exhaustive list of companies that are already manufacturing and selling similar products. When your idea fits in seamlessly with a company's current product line, that's a good fit. Contact all of these companies -- at least 25 to 30. Don't make the mistake of giving up too early. Most likely you will need to follow up. And you may even need to ask for a yes or no to get the critical insight you need.
5. Don't become too financially or emotionally attached to your idea. Inevitably, it will begin to feel like your baby. But it's not. You will have many ideas. So don't forget to exercise common sense.
6. Be reasonable. What is your idea really worth? What someone is willing to pay you for it. Don't lost sight of that. At the end of the day, you want your idea to see the light of day, don't you?