Inventor Explains How to Market Your Great Idea
Not everyone can invent a successful product that booms in the marketplace, giving its creator success, money and notoriety. But, according to Secrets from an Inventor's Notebook by Maurice Kanbar, it is easier than one might think. Kanbar, an inventor who first triumphed at the age of 22 with the D-Fuzz-It sweater comb, lays out five steps for developing, patenting and marketing a successful new product:
- Solve a Problem. A successful invention comes from infusing a good idea, which is based on observation and curiosity, with as much knowledge about the public's needs as possible. Don't waste time reinventing the wheel.
- Prove Your Invention/Build a Prototype. Starting with a basic design, turning it into a functional model, modifying it based on testing, creating a working prototype and selling production models in a test market are all crucial factors in taking an idea to an audience. Raising money and observing users play important roles at this stage of the game.
- Protect Your Idea. Kanbar defines the terms "patent," trademark, copyright, trade secret and explains what "patent pending" means. Then he goes on to stress the importance of documenting every stage along the way when developing a new product. Is it time to conduct a patent search and hire a patent attorney?
- Manufacture or License? At this point it might be time to compare the advantages of manufacturing your own product to sharing the profits with a manufacturer through licensing. This is where deals are made and royalties are discussed.
- Market with a Twist. Naming, packaging and pricing lead to important decisions regarding how to spread the word about a product with publicity, promotion and advertising.
These are the fundamentals which helped the author create successes that include: New York's first multi-plex movie theater, state-of-the-art medical devices, the puzzle game Tangoes, and SKYY vodka.
Observe the World Around You
Kanbar cites his insatiable curiosity as the source of his endless entrepreneurial drive. "Inventions solve problems. You can't see problems if you aren't observant, and you won't invent solutions if you aren't curious."
According to Kanbar, every one of his inventions links back to a casual observation he made while involved in daily activities. "When your ideas are prompted by observations and curiosity about the world around you, you stand a better chance of inventing things that other people will care about and need," he explains.
Knowledge Is Power
The key to successfully developing and marketing new products is knowledge, Kanbar writes. The more you know, the better prepared you are to enter the marketplace with a new idea. Kanbar urges would-be inventors to consult authorities, read everything pertaining to the subject of the product, prod experts without disclosing crucial ideas, and respect market and product research before diving into the rough waters of a new product launch. Along the way he throws in pointers about the Patent and Trademark Office, raising capital, inspiring investors, financing options, naming, packaging, pricing and the importance of keeping it simple.
An appendix lists numbers and addresses for invention developers, suppliers and financial resources, as well as for documentation, disclosure and patenting resources.
Part autobiography and part how-to guidebook, Secrets from an Inventor's Notebook is a unique one-stop resource for entrepreneurial inventors.