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THE ONLINE INVENTOR -- April 2002

(c) 2001 Market Launchers, Inc.

http://www.marketlaunchers.com

Publisher: Paul Niemann

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FAMOUS / INFAMOUS Quotes

"You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," 
author unknown

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day," 
G. Gillespie

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Article #1:    "The Top 10 Reasons Inventors Fail," written by Paul Niemann of www.MarketLaunchers.com for the May / June issue of Inventors' Digest

Top 10 Reasons Why Inventors Fail -- and the solutions:

10.    The un-Successful Inventor focuses most of his marketing efforts on finding licensing or marketing experts who will "take on my product and run with it" for a "piece of the action." You must offer a quality compensation if you expect to receive quality results.

Solution:    Ask yourself: Would you be willing to work on someone else's invention in return for the same "piece of the action" offer? Probably not. Is anyone going to feel as passionate about "your baby" as you do? Probably not. Are you better off hiring someone for each additional product that you create? Probably not. If an inventor isn't willing to run with the marketing of his own million dollar product, then why expect someone else to be? 

The exception may be when there are agents who specialize IN YOUR PARTICULAR INDUSTRY who work on a percentage basis and already have established industry contacts, but more often than not, you're better off marketing your product yourself. In some cases, though, offering a piece of the action maybe your only alternative if you have a hot idea but no money. 

9.    The un-Successful Inventor is usually guilty of "call reluctance. " This is when one is hesitant about giving his sales pitch to potential licensees; this call reluctance isn't limited to just inventors. It's common among professional salespeople as well. 

The obvious reason behind this is a desire to avoid hearing bad news. It's normal to be afraid that the company who you're trying to sell y our product to will tell you "no." Nobody likes to face rejection, and it's easy to take it personally when y our products get rejected.

Solution:    How does an inventor overcome call reluctance? I don't know if there's any one way in which to do so. You can set a goal of contacting, say, 5 companies each day. Or set aside a certain block of time each day to make those calls, such as between 9:00 to 10:00 each morning. Just make yourself do it -- it requires discipline, so you must focus on what you want to accomplish, not on what you don't feel like doing. Keep in mind that some companies need independent inventors as much as you need the company that you're trying to license y our product to. 

8.    The un-Successful Inventor focuses so much of his time on the possibility of someone stealing his idea to the extent that it prevents him from showing it to the people who can help move it forward.

Solution:    Inventor Gary Kellmann recommends trying to build decent relationships with companies -- to lower the chances of having an invention stolen.

7.    The un-Successful Inventor procrastinates. A sure sign of procrastination is when a person constantly refines his product, and then refines it some more, and then some more, even when the product is ready for presentation. This procrastination is often done as an excuse to avoid moving forward with the hardest part -- finding buyers for his product.

Solution:    The fear of hearing "no" is a big reason for procrastination. 

6.    The un-Successful Inventor tries to go it alone. There are others who have been in your situation before, regardless of which stage you're in: research, prototyping, patenting, looking for a licensee, etc. The old adage says that "experience is the best teacher." To take it one step further, though, is to realize that "OTHER PEOPLE'S experiences are the best teacher." Why re-invent the wheel when others have already been there and done that?

Solution:    Join an inventor group in his area -- and network with other inventors who have already encountered similar situations. 

5.    The un-Successful Inventor fails to do his market research. Saying that, "I know everyone will buy it" is not enough because it is only one person's opinion, and that person (you) probably tends to be a bit biased towards the product. That's perfectly natural, but you still need to convince the right company to acquire or invest in your product.

Solution:    The term, "market research" sounds like a pretty complicated term, but it really means finding out answers to such simple questions as: How do you know if there is a market for your product? How do you know what it will take for your potential customers to buy your product? Better yet, do you even know WHO your potential customers are? It doesn't make much sense to proceed at this point until you can answer these questions. 

4.    The un-Successful Inventor falls blindly in love with his invention. By "blindly," I'm referring to the fact that some inventors, like all new parents, think of their new "baby" as perfect and assume that everyone else will think so, too. As a result, most inventors ask their friends and relatives for their opinions. The danger in doing so is that your friends and relatives will sometimes tell you what you want to hear, rather than what your product really means to them. When they encourage you to "go for it," it does not necessarily mean that they think your product will succeed, but instead that they are being supportive of YOU rather than the PRODUCT.

The reason for this is that people tend to be supportive of their friends -- nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news.

Solution:    Ask them if they would like to buy a couple of the products from you or, better yet, ask them if they would like to invest $5,000 of their own money in your invention. Their reaction will tell you what they really think of your invention. After they reply, you can tell them that you're not really looking for investors but just wanted to find out if they really thought it was a great idea.

Or you can get someone who is not a friend or a relative to give you a realistic assessment of your product's strengths and weaknesses.

3.    The un-Successful Inventor does not know the details that inventors should know - things like:

* How much will the product cost to manufacture? 
* Who are the companies most likely to be interested in the product? 
* How many units of the product can the company expect to sell? 
* How is the product different or better than similar products and, if it's more expensive than similar products, why is it worth the higher price? 
* Is it patentable? does it even need to be patented? 

It helps if you're able to explain all of these questions because if a company can't answer these questions itself, then it may lose interest in pursuing the product. Also, it shows that you've done your homework.

Solution:    Do your homework BEFORE approaching potential licensees, and become an expert in your industry (and be sure that doing your homework does not cause you to procrastinate from contacting companies).

2.    The un-Successful Inventor patents a product before determining the likelihood of whether or not the product will succeed. Unless there's a market to sell your product to, what good does it do to patent it?

Solution:    Do your market research without revealing the specifics of your invention. Also, consider filing a provisional patent application.

and the # 1 reason why inventors fail:

1.    The un-Successful Inventor fails to realize that their idea isn't as good as they thought it was. Also, if it is good enough, the un-Successful inventor fails to keep on pushing when times get hard. 

Solution:    Never let your ego get in the way when evaluating your ideas. You can get the most accurate feedback by asking potential end-users about your product (as opposed to friends and relatives) or, better yet, get an independent evaluation firm to evaluate your invention. Be sure to protect your invention while collecting feedback on your inventions. 
Making calls to companies is only a part of the equation ... finding the right partner is the solution ... being greedy prevents that solution. 

One final thought:    Anybody can fail; but succeeding can be HARD WORK!

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Paul Niemann runs MarketLaunchers.com, which specializes in creating web 
pages for inventors, and their Invention Database lists new inventions 
available for licensing. You can learn more about getting your own web site 
or web page by visiting www.MarketLaunchers.com or by calling (800) 337-5758. 

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Article # 2:    "What is the Most Effective Tool in Direct Marketing?" by Jeff Dobkin, author of "How To Market a Product for Under $500" and "Uncommon Marketing Techniques."

Without a doubt, the most effective tool you can use in direct marketing is a letter. For 34 cents, you can catch and retain a busy executive's eye, hold the attention of a pre-occupied editor, and make a sales pitch that anyone you write to will read. 

With a letter, you can slip by a secretary easily, attract favorable attention, create a good impression of your firm or product, and pre-sell or sell your product. It is the most effective you can be in marketing at any price. What a great value -- at 34 cents! Sending a second letter is also the easiest way to double your marketing effort. Or triple your effort for an additional 34 cents. In 25 years of advertising and marketing service, the most effective campaign IO have ever written was a series of letters. 

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This article provided by Jeff Dobkin. There are many more solid marketing tips in Dobkin's books, "How To Market a Product for Under $500" and "Uncommon Marketing Techniques." To purchase either book, go to http://www.dobkin.com or call (800) 234-4332. Both of these books are available in finer bookstores nationwide, or directly from the publisher by calling the above number.

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Article # 3: "Back that Sucker Up!" by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com 

This past month I received a call from a past client who hired me to build a web site 2 years ago. He told me that his web site was no longer up on the Web. I'm referring to a client who I built a complete web SITE for his company -- not just a web PAGE on the MarketLaunchers.com web site. 

So I called the web host company to find out what happened to my client's web site. Much to my surprise, the web host company had LOST HIS WEB SITE when the web host was purchased by another company! It wasn't the client's fault that his web site was lost -- it was the fault of the web host company.

His site was fairly large, so rebuilding it could have been an expensive proposition. Fortunately, though, I had a backup copy of his site on my computer, meaning that I could easily put his site back up on the Internet (but not before switching to a new web host company). 

The moral of this story is obvious: If you have your own site, be sure to have a backup copy on your computer and also make a backup copy on a CD-ROM -- just in case your computer ever gets a virus. 

Safe computing to you all!

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Paul Niemann runs MarketLaunchers.com, which specializes in creating web 
pages for inventors, and their Invention Database lists new inventions 
available for licensing. You can learn more about getting your own web site 
or web page by visiting www.MarketLaunchers.com or by calling (800) 337-5758. 

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Feel free to forward "THE ONLINE INVENTOR" to your local inventor group, as well as your fellow inventors. To subscribe, just send an e-mail to [email protected] with the word "subscribe" in the subject line. Thanks. 

Copyright 1999 -- 2002 
Market Launchers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Click here to read the March 2002 issue.