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Help moving forward

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Help moving forward

Post  cphyt7 on Thu 29 Mar 2012 - 20:26

Greetings all,

This is my first post! My name is Chaz, and I am a college student and aspiring entrepreneur.

I have recently developed an invention! I have patent pending status (provisional patent filed), a prototype, a trademark intent to use filed (for the brand name), CAD/SolidWorks renders, drawings, and manufacturing files as well (all from the engineer who was hired to help me make this dream a reality).

I have a few questions. I have been continually working on a business plan, but I am sort of stuck. Basically, this invention is going to be used in households by end consumers. I do not want to build a factory and manufacturer it myself, nor do I really want to have someone else manufacture it and be involved in distributing. I believe the option I would like is licensing.

How do I get in touch with companies who might be interested in this idea? There are 80 manufacturers in the United States in the industry. Do I literally just call them up (their 1-800 number) and ask to speak to someone about my invention? I will take all necessary legal precautions, so I am not looking for advice to keep my idea protected. I am more interested in getting the companies interested in the idea.

I do believe my idea is revolutionary, and it will change the game for this industry. I think once companies see the idea, they will go crazy over it. But how do I get to them first? How do I land meetings? What information do I need? They know all about the industry (since they are in it), so I don't really know how to present my idea other than "hey this is a good idea."

Any information would be awesome. I can go more into detail as well, but I think this is plenty of text for my first post. What else can I tell you that can help you help me?

Thanks in advance,

Chaz

cphyt7

Posts : 3
Join date : 2012-03-29

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Cold Calling

Post  Admin on Fri 30 Mar 2012 - 8:08

Chaz, it sounds like you are taking your time to do this right the first time, which is commendable. Do as much research up front as you can on the target market you are wanting to approach. You can use hoovers.com, and linkedin.com to find out more information about companies before you call or email. Make a list of your top 10 prospects and look at their websites and see if they list any contact names you may need, read articles about those compnaies so you know what they seem to like and target towars their customers. You want to make sure yoru product fits their line and why. KNow your and their competitors and how you are better.
You want to make sure you have your material in a Sell Sheet format that is short and concise. You can see examples on the uiausa.org website. You need to know the policies of the companies you are approaching and if they look at outside products and if they state what you may expect in compensation.
You may want to consider signing up for a UIA's membership if you haven't already. This blog by the UIA is also filled with fantastic information every Inventor can use http://inventoropinion.blogspot.com/ also find an Inventor group near you here. http://www.inventorsdigest.com/archives/6025
Make sure you are approaching a company from an informed position and are ready to answer any questions a company may ask you. Look through this forum for even more information and help. You need to decide if you are looking to license your idea or manufacture and build a business around it.
Below are two articles that you may find helpful.

How to Submit Ideas to Companies Think Before You Send
http://www.inventorsdigest.com/archives/6674

Licensing Vs Manufacturing
http://www.inventorsdigest.com/archives/2927

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Thanks!

Post  cphyt7 on Fri 30 Mar 2012 - 13:03

Thanks for the reply.

I looked over a lot of those resources, and they are great. Awesome information. A couple of follow-up questions.

The industry I am interested in approaching is cookware/kitchenware. I am looking for cookware manufacturers or companies with strong cookware brands. How can I find out more about their target markets? Everyone cooks or spends time in the kitchen! The only kind of information I can find, real market research, has to be paid for, and is very very expensive. I don't really want to pay thousands of dollars for market research that may or may not be helpful. Any other resources to help narrow down a target market, and understand how and who companies target? This sort of ties in with hoovers.com. Do I always have to spend money to learn more?

And what about estimating manufacturing costs? Do I need more target market information to approach a manufacturer, to get them to take me seriously, to estimate the cost?

Since I am targeting cookware, I don't see myself setting up shop to manufacture and produce this on my own. I would rather license it, and create a new brand for an already established company.

Secondly, I have never done/seen a Sell sheet. I looked those over on the uiausa.org website, and now I understand. Would a sell sheet be in addition to my business plan/market research? Or in place of it? Do companies want all of the information that would be in my business plan (10-20 pages worth), or are they looking for a sell sheet to sum everything up in 1 page? I anticipate on exchanging NDA's with any company I work with, so I won't be sending a sell sheet before we discuss anything, but I am just wondering how to use this tool.

Thanks!

cphyt7

Posts : 3
Join date : 2012-03-29

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Kitchen market

Post  Admin on Tue 3 Apr 2012 - 21:21

If you are looking at licensing your product you don't really need a business plan since that is normally meant for building a company around your product or getting investors involved. Most prefer the sell sheet giving them a short and concise listing of your products benefits. You can go to local stores and find the companies that have the most brand recoginition and shelf space. Do your research on those companies and see who is approachable and what their requirements are for submitting.
You can make the sell sheet yourself or check out your local college and find graphic arts or computer design students. These students will do great work for a fraction of the cost of a design firm. Make sure they sign a nondisclosure and do a work for hire contract for the work.

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Great information

Post  cphyt7 on Tue 3 Apr 2012 - 23:20

Thanks so much for the information. I have just begun the process of creating a sell sheet. I have been doing research like crazy, and I think I have nailed down some potential companies to approach.

However, you don't think it will be necessary to know things like manufacturing costs, or potential market reception? Things like potential demand, a selling price point, how much it costs to make, etc etc? Just a sell sheet? I know companies want things concise, but I want to make sure I have enough information for them to take me seriously.

Thanks!

cphyt7

Posts : 3
Join date : 2012-03-29

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