Selling a New Idea
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How to Sell a New Idea
Society’s saved a special place for the altruistic inventor who uses their innovative gifts to bring benevolent advances to the rest of the world. People praise those who invest an unimaginable amount of time and effort into developing ideas that will make their neighbor’s life easier, especially when they do so without any interest in turning a profit on their brilliance.
While selflessness may be an admirable character trait, realistically speaking, if you never commercialize your new ideas, you won’t be able to reach all the people who need your invention. In fact, almost all of the inventions we cherish today would’ve remained hopeful ideas, locked away in some earnest creator’s basement. If you need a little more help putting things into context, let’s take a look at a few wise words from a prized Silicon Valley venture capitalist:
“Developing new technology is a pain in the ass. It is, as Edison said, one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Without the incentive of wealth, no one wants to do it.”
– How to Make Wealth, Paul Graham
You Deserve a Reward
What’s most interesting, is the way Graham placed the world’s greatest technology into perspective when he said, “Engineers will work on sexy projects like fighter planes and moon rockets for ordinary salaries, but more mundane technologies like light bulbs or semiconductors have to be developed by entrepreneurs.”
You must understand that what you do as an entrepreneur is necessary. Without the lightbulb, an engineer wouldn’t have the workspace they need to etch out the blueprint for a jet. Remove the guilt complex that shames you out of the realization that you deserve to profit from your idea. Once you’re in a place where you can accept the fact that commercialization is a win-win situation for you and everyone who’s waiting on your invention to hit the market, the next step is to master how its done.
You can take two routes to begin working on commercializing your ideas.
Option #1 – Market Them Yourself
Option #2 – Sell and/or License
The Individual Marketing Strategy
The best plan of action depends on you, your invention, and the type of capital you have access to. Both are great strategies, you just need to know how to go about pursing them.
If you want to stay in control of the marketing process, first you need to walk your idea through all the stages of maturation. Once the idea is fully developed, you’re ready to bring it to market.
There are a few challenges to anticipate, when traveling down this road. You could have a great idea but struggle with getting your buyer to play ball. Still, if you let your wits and creative ingenuity take the lead, you can come out on top, with a little extra effort.
Here’s where you need to concentrate your attention:
- Step One: Learn Your Target Market
While you’re nurturing your idea, it’s important to keep your target audience at the forefront of your mind. You need to know who they are, where they are, and what they need to make their lives easier.
It’s also important to know how to reach your target audience. You can’t market to a group you don’t know how to find.
- Step Two: Price It Out
Pricing and production costs are another important fact to consider. Knowing hard facts and figures makes it much easier to market your ideas. Interested buyers will want you to make the process as simple as possible for them. They’ll likely ask questions about the smallest details, including how to build your invention from start to finish.
- Step Three: Develop A Marketing Plan
How do you want to sell your idea? Are you targeting an online audience? Would you prefer breaking into the traditional retail environment? With the right strategy in place, you could tackle both markets at the same time.
It’s important to make sure you’ve checked off the first two steps before trying to sell – it just makes things easier for everyone involved. Once you have the finished product ready to sell, you can tackle the challenge of selling it yourself.
Search for retail buyers that are willing to have a meeting with you. Prepare a detailed presentation that lets them know everything they need to learn about what makes your product so special. You could also go the extra mile and create a marketing website to showcase the product. Promote the site in the right circles and, before long, you’ll start negotiating offers.
Sell or License Your Patent
With the first route, you’d stay in the driver’s seat throughout the entire transaction. With this option, you’d hand off some of the more stressful aspects of selling to someone else. People are generally masters in specific areas; it’s rare to find someone who’s capable of handing everything from invention to creation, marketing to sales. Even if they could, most inventors don’t have that much free time.
Rather than spend your days trying to piece together such an inconspicuous puzzle, you may decide it’s in your best interest to sell or license your idea to a professional. With this option, you’ll still reap the benefits of getting your product sold, but you’ll also see many other perks.
Professionals have access to more buyers than one can find through your average online search. Those relationships open the door for you to place your products in front of the best companies – companies that are willing to pay what your worth.
They also have departments and teams dedicated to handling specific stages of the sales or licensing process. Though both options require a considerable investment of time and effort, having an experienced group of knowledgeable people backing your product helps smooth the process along.
Every inventor and invention are unique, so the best route may vary on a case-by-case basis. No matter which road you choose to travel, make sure you cover the basics:
- Complete a detailed business plan
- Include clear, high-resolution pictures of the product
- Add drawings and specifications to further explain its functions
- Share your information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Buyers are on the hunt for quality products all the time. With the right package in place, you’ll be profiting off your commercialized idea in no time.