Picture Thomas Edison, toiling away in the late evening hours trying one after another type of filament in his new invention to turn electricity not into heat, but into light. He just tried another filament that looked promising, but it burned in two and produced no light. Another failure.
The inventor is classically portrayed as a lonely figure, toiling away for hours, days, months, perhaps years and, finally, one day, he/she has an epitome – a solution is found and voila, a new product is unveiled to great success. That's great, but it is merely the beginning of a much longer process that involves lots of other people.
While the ideation process of creating a new idea or invention may be solitary, nothing else about successful inventing is solitary.
It takes a team to succeed.
Below is a short list of resources an inventor may need to succeed in bringing a new product to market
- Patent attorney/agent
- Website designer/software developer
- Agent or rep for QVC or HSN
- Manufacturer's rep or retail rep
- Contract attorney
- Business or financial partner
- Invention marketing or licensing rep
Wow! That is a lot of people! Odds are you will need some of the above but not all of them.
As an inventor, you have a unique set of skills that few others have. You keenly observe your daily surroundings and look for “problems” that need to be solved. I thought that thick bulky wallets were a problem, so I conceived a solution: a thin, flexible wallet. You are both creative and are good at creating new concepts.
Those skills are valuable. But, they are not enough for success in developing and launching new products.
Prototypes will be needed to show how your product works to potential manufacturers or licensees. You may need to obtain assistance from a prototyper. You will need sell sheets and other marketing collateral. Are you great at marketing? If not, you will need someone to assist with marketing.
How do you determine what resources you will need and who you can trust?
Ask yourself a couple of simple but crucial questions about every need that arises for your business:
- Is this something I have the skills to do well?
- Is this something I should do, is it a good use of my limited time?
Boiled down, the question is: can I do it; and, if so, should I do it?
If the answer is to get someone to help you, then you need to feel they are trustworthy. How do you do this?
Ask the resource a lot of questions. Who else have you done work for? What was their outcomes? Can you provide referrals? Will you sign a non-disclosure? You need to reach a comfort level that they will work with you in a predictable and bona fide way.
Determine your skills and assess your needs. Assemble a team and move forward!