Top 4 Things People Say to Product Inventors September 29 2015
On the eve of traveling to QVC, I've been reflecting on my path that produced Peepsnake. It has been FIVE years since I dropped my iPhone in the mud, leading me to come up with a solution to not have to lug my purse around. Throughout the years, while there has been many ups and downs, a few things have remained consistent-- the questions I'm asked on a weekly basis.
--> What a great idea, wish I would have thought of that. Do you have a patent?
YES! FINALLY!! After 3 1/2 years, I've had to exercise a great deal of patience, to not keep hounding my attorney, and to keep confident that it would get approved. I can say without a doubt that ten years ago, I never would have dreamed that one day, I would be the proud owner of a U.S. Patent.
My advice: Be diligent in protecting your idea from the beginning. Have everyone you speak with sign a Non-disclosure Agreement. While you are determining if there is a market for your idea, submit a Provisional Patent to the USPTO until you can further determine its sales potential.
--> “I have an idea for an invention I want to talk to you about. Can you show me how to bring it to market?”
Now I get why in the beginning, I couldn’t get much time with someone to help me. Inventors and entrepreneurs are extremely busy people. Every waking moment is spent working on some aspect of the business…trying to get the product ready for shipping, talking to vendors and suppliers, working the always present 'how to get time with buyers.' Every night, I collapse in bed making to-do lists for the next day. Not having someone 'do it for me' was a blessing in disguise because I realized that the main reason I wanted to “talk to someone” was out of my own fear of not knowing what to do. Fortunately for inventors, there are thousands of blogs, articles, and resources that I poured through and learned a great deal. Blogs like Startup Nation, Women's Inventorz Network, and of course Entrepreneur are extremely helpful for inventors. And good ole Google searching!
My advice: Determine first if you are passionate about your idea/product! You need to be because you will be spending a lot of time with it!! If you are, do something... everyday, to move your idea forward.
--> Have you thought of getting into ________ store? My aunt’s cousin’s brother’s neighbor knows the manager there.
I know that people are trying to be helpful and for that I am grateful. I quickly found that the way to distinguish those who truly want to help from those who are just making friendly conversation is by saying, “Great! Can you contact them for me and set up a meeting?” I’ve had a few wonderful allies who have helped me by doing just that.
My advice: Use your contacts! I have asked for friends help with photography, PR connections, even modeling.
AND THE NUMBER ONE QUESTION:
--> Have you thought about going on that show Shark Tank?
Without a doubt, the most asked question… almost 100% when I explain my invention. A well-meaning conversation starter, for sure, but the answer is “yes, I have thought about that”. So has every inventor who’s ever come up with anything. Shark Tank has captured the imagination of every inventor and would-be inventor in America. Who wouldn’t want to be in front of investors with millions to put into your business while you dream of riches and fame? I got swept up into it and I even submitted a video. But I quickly realized that most of the successful inventors on that show have sweated and toiled and done the heavy lifting for years before they get on the show. They have a solid business operation, not just an idea with a few prototypes. I’ve learned to address this in a fun, friendly way by saying, “Oh yeah! Mark Cuban’s wife would look great in a Peepsnake!”
I'll be sure to look for Lori Greiner in the QVC halls this Wednesday!