I have written a variety of posts regarding changes in the corporate landscape and the impact upon average worker's wages including:
Whereas technology has disrupted the corporate landscape to the detriment of many middle class workers, quite the opposite is true for the new invention landscape where technology is your best friend.
When I filed my first patent in 2002, the landscape for inventors was rather bleak by today's standards. There were inventor's clubs and organizations and also good patent search tools were available via USPTO.gov – just as today. Capital options for funding an invention were limited to the inventors friends and family and, on rare occasions, bank loans. There was no Kickstarter or Indiegogo for crowd funding, no such resource for new ideas as Quirky or Edison Nation, and no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media platforms and no Shark Tank for national television exposure and millionaire deal makers.
The dawning of a new age of innovation and invention beckons!
Resources for inventors are ubiquitous – the New Invention Landscape is fantastic! You just need a strategy to succeed with this new landscape.
Strategy for Success
I recommend you view yourself and your potential invention ideas like a portfolio of financial investments. Mutual funds may have investment categories such as small cap, medium cap, large cap, and growth funds. As an inventor, you may have:
- Quirky products
- Edison Nation products
- Lambert & Lambert products
- DRTV products
- Products licensed to manufacturers
- Kickstarter/Indiegogo products
- HSN/QVC products
- Shark Tank products
- Your own products
We can simplify the above list as following into three broader categories:
- Items that are licensed at arms length (minimal involvement from you) 1 – 3
- Items that are licensed with considerable effort and involvement from you: 4 – 5
- Items where you manufacture, package, market and sell your product: 6 – 9
Let's say you have 10 or more product ideas you think have some potential in the marketplace.
Take those which you would be least likely to want to develop or license yourself and provide them to Quirky or Edison Nation – minimal cost, low risk. Then consider whether or not you have some products that Lambert & Lambert might license for you or that might be suitable for DRTV (sell on TV commercials). You may have the skill and knowledge to license directly to manufacturers in particular industries (category 5).
If you wish to to manufacture your own product, consider Kickstarter/Indiegogo as a low risk way to test the market with someone else's money. If it does very well, you might consider taking it to the next level or be in a better position to license it. Also, HSN or QVC may be an excellent platform to launch your product and test its appeal to a broad marketplace of consumers. Shark Tank provides yet a different way to get your product in front of millions of TV viewers and potentially land a deal with one or more of the sharks to assist you in launching and financing your product in a big way. Even no deal can be great exposure to many investors and others you could provide material assistance.
After you have tried or considered all of the above options, you may have a product you feel so strongly about that you want to take it on yourself – manufacture it, package it, market it, sell and distribute it. Good luck! This approach is very risky, but the rewards of success are great.