Getting Help

Inventor Lady

I’ve never met an inventor who was capable of doing all that was necessary to move his or her invention from concept to the market place.  The inventors who have tried to do it alone admit that they have made mistakes, with the biggest mistake being, they almost always say, not getting help when it was needed.

Most serious inventors have at least one strength that they bring to the process:  sometimes its an engineering background, sometimes expertise in marketing, or sometimes it just plain old business “horse sense” gained from hard-won experience.  However, none of them have it all.  And inventors need not take this simple truth personally.  That’s just the way it is. 

I frequently run into inventors who think they can do it alone.  Bad decision!  Every time–EVERY time — they either fail outright, or at a minimum, end up spending or losing many thousands of dollars. Whether it is trying to write their own patent, do their own engineering, or be their own business advisor, this type of thinking sets inventors up to fail.

I had an inventor call me for some help but didn’t want to pay for the help.  Six months later he called back and was willing to pay, but by then the mistakes were so overwhelming, there was nothing I or anyone else could do to clean up the mess, so I, sadly, had to decline.  The upsetting part was that he had a really good product to begin with and good intellectual property, i.e., patents and trademarks.   Two of the major manufacturers and distributors of similar products were interested initially, but the business decisions the inventor made were so bad that these two companies ultimately walked away, not willing to get involved in an attempt to untangle the mess the inventor had created.

Another client didn’t listen to the advice (given at no charge) and rushed to manufacture her product without doing any testing of the prototypes.  She had a big box store that was interested in her product.  The product didn’t work right.  In fact, it didn’t work at all.  Some testing would have allowed her to correct the problem before paying to have the molds made.   Once the product was in the store and it was determined that the product didn’t work, it was too late.  The damage was done and all credibility with the store chain was lost.  This type of thing is a major disaster; once your credibility is lost in the market place, you might as well move on.  Independent inventors don’t have the money to do a “recall” and survive financially. 

The best thing you can do as an inventor is be honest with yourself.  Understand your strengths and get help for everything else.

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