The previous blog – B – Balancing Risk versus Opportunity – pointed to mitigating the high risk associated with inventing by choosing and pursuing opportunities carefully.
Regarding resources for inventors, there are a variety of recognized resources, including: patent searching via USPTO.GOV or Google/patents (I prefer the former), inventors groups both locally and nationally, Alibaba.com (for manufacturing leads etc.) and quite a few good books on inventing. Check one of my previous posts for a variety of useful resources.
Key resources are often overlooked or unrecognized. Why? They are hidden within challenges, problems and efforts that don’t succeed as planned.
Years ago, I took my patented thin wallets – Savvy Caddy – to a large manufacturer hoping to obtain a licensing agreement and ongoing royalty payments. I met with the CEO and his team and after strong initial interest – they had said they were interested in seriously considering the item – they passed on licensing it. I was mortified.
But, there was hidden value within the meetings. The CEO suggested that I take my product to QVC (which I later did, successfully) and I chose to keep his contact information and to follow up periodically. He turned out to be a great information resource for me recommending, among other things a good Chinese manufacturer for my product and a variety of marketing strategies. Had I ignored his QVC suggestion and not chosen to follow up with him, I would have overlooked a key resource for my business. A positive result evolved from a very negative event – this happens all the time in the inventing world.
As you meet with people, always look for a hidden gem of opportunity for your business. Ask yourself before the meeting: what, specifically, do they know that could be valuable information for my business? I once had a short meeting with a retail buyer for men’s products at JC Penney even though I was almost certain he would not choose to buy my product. I just wanted answers to two key questions: did my product look like one his company would buy under the right circumstances (answer was yes) and was my proposed wholesale price within their range (answer – no it was too high). By meeting with a buyer who wouldn’t actually buy, I obtained very valuable information.
The executive summary: look for valuable information and resources everywhere; never leave any meeting without securing useful information for your business.
The next key to inventing success is I – Invent Things that are Simple and Low Cost
B – Balance Risk versus Opportunity
R – Resources, Find and Develop Them
I – Invent Things that are Simple and Low Cost