Wednesday, August 20

What is an MSRP anyway?

If we think back the first time we heard the term “MSRP”, or Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, was probably when we purchased our first new car. In retail we don’t really think of MSRP in the same terms as in new car sales because in retail you don’t customarily negotiate price for the product like you may if you were buying a car.
Make no mistake the MSRP is every bit as real in a standard retail product. Sure, sometimes you see it placed just above the store’s own price tag to show the savings. Other times it’s simply a random number the retailer asked the manufacturer to place on the pull tag so they can illustrate that difference to you the consumer – showing you what a great savings you are getting with the store price.
But in almost all cases of a retail product the MSRP starts off as a very real number presented with the product to the buyer. It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to do the research in understanding what the market will bear by taking stock of all the similar products already on the market.
This exercise is part of what we call a “Market Audit”. In a market audit we’re finding every product that can functionally accomplish the task of our product and mapping out the price structures. We then calculate the median price in the market and add or subtract value based on the things our product functionally does better or worse than those already being sold.
This process will tell us both the high and low end of the market, and allow us to mathematically find our place. In the end we have a well researched MSRP to present to the buyer. That doesn’t mean they will use it – but it does mean we at least did our job in researching it.

Mark Reyland

Tuesday, August 19

What is a “Crossover” anyway?

In the retail product game 'Crossover" means multiple places for a product in multiple aisles.
Think of it this way. You have just designed a great new flashlight. It’s really cool, it works great, and it’s sure to sell like hotcakes (I have no idea why everyone always says that) it’s a great new product and the retailers will love it.

Where in the store should it go? To understand that and to make sure you maximize the product exposure you need to first understand how a buyer works.

Retail buyers are responsible for categories within the store – a buyer for Health & Beauty, one for Pet products, and so on.  The buyer’s worth (and their paycheck) are often judged on two things – First, the “profit per” (Profit per hook, profit per square foot…) and Second “throughput” more often called movement (how many units of the product moved through the register in a given time period). The mechanism the system uses to track that movements is a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) more commonly known as a Barcode.

So back to our flashlight - The buyer wants it, and everyone knows it will sell. But we want to maximize the crossover and get it into as many aisles as we can to increase the throughput. (or like we said what retailers call the ”movement”)  The first thing you need to do is figure out what area of the store is likely to move the most product.
In this case I’m sure there is a large flashlight display in either hardware or camping. So you would likely have to start with that buyer. Once you have that commitment you are pretty much locked into that buyer. However, understanding that the SKU for the product is now assigned to the flashlight buyer, and only that buyer will be credited with movement, you can ask them to allow you to approach other buyers in the store and see if you can get some crossover space.

Admittedly, there is little motivation for a buyer to give you space in their category knowing those sales are tracking to another buyer - but it does happen.  Often if you have a product that is designed to take up space the buyer isn’t using like a floor display, or clip strip, the other buyer may allow you to place it there knowing that they may need a favor later, or out of a sense of overall good for the store.

The bottom line is this – crossovers mean exposure, they mean movement, and in the end they mean money.  However, if you don’t think about them way back in the design and packaging stage you may not be able to use them when it really counts.

Mark Reyland

Monday, August 18

Oooops.... don't do that

A very sweet lady I know named Julie invented a nice little product called the E-Zzz Sleep Pillowcase.
Like many inventors, she developed this product from scratch all by herself, simply feeling her way in the dark as she maneuvered the labyrinth of product development.

Several years later – and now reflective about the process, Julie felt compelled to email me some thoughts she feels could help other inventors traveling down the same road.
Here are some MISTAKES Julie made – and YOU should avoid:

- I hired a professional artist for both the booklet/brochure when I could have saved a lot of money doing it myself and using stock art.

- I had a booklet made in an odd size so it cost more to have it printed, cut, and folded.

- I would not have trademarked the original name if I had understood trade marking at the time.

- I ordered way too many product labels (because I was SURE that EVERYONE would want a pillowcase) – I actually could have saved about $500 if I had been realistic.

- I had too many manufactured for first run (3000 units) – when they didn’t sell as I thought they would, I had to rent a storage unit and purchase about 100 boxes to store them in.

- I hired three different marketing companies (even checked references) and they all ran away with my money – about $8,000 total.
- I changed the name of my product twice, which meant new labels (didn’t use about 6,000 of the original labels), new booklet, new logo, new website, etc
As you can see – none of the mistakes Julie made were earth shattering, but when you add them all up it’s a significant amount of tuition in the school of hard knocks. A little less emotion and a little more research and Julie could have saved a lot of money. 

Friday, August 15

HEY...where am I going to park?

Most inventors know there are two main ways to get your product to market - Licensing and Manufacturing. We also know when an inventor chooses to manufacture goods themselves they find out the distribution process is the hardest part of the entire process.
Don’t get me wrong, many inventors successfully take products to market every year, and some do very well. However, there are many who don’t. The reality is there are inventors out there who have a garage or storage locker full of merchandise and no active plan for recovering any of their money.
So, on behalf of your wife or husband who wants to park their car in the garage again, I asked Donnie Lewis to talk a little about the secondary market where stock like that often gets converted to cash.
It’s a New Year, and time to clean out the closet and finally move that product you invented but never sold. Whether you are a Wholesaler, Distributor, or an Inventor I am quite sure there is some overstocks or excess merchandise sitting around that needs to be moved.
I have found many people think the 288 Bicycle tires and horns they have will ultimately sell. That magic customer or big box retailer is going to ride in on the white horse and save the day. However the reality is there comes a point in time where the value of the good’s is diminished as newer and better products are always being introduced and those tires and horns become obsolete.
It really doesn’t matter for the most part what the product you are holding on to is, it’s going to happen and you will sooner or later have to write it off, throw it away, and chalk it up to experience.
That’s where I come in. Having sold closeouts, excess, packing changes and overstocks for over 21 years my experience has shown that everything will sell at a price. From a single pallet to a warehouse full of goods, the process of selling into the secondary market is the same. It starts with a phone call and a decision to make it happen..
Who knows the next new deal may be just around the corner.
Don Lewis is a professional broker of closeout merchandise 
Lewis Associates of Ohio, Ltd.

Thursday, August 14

Great story.....

Michigan inventor lands retail deal with Walmart
DETROIT — Wal-Mart agreed last month to sell the portable, reusable trash holder invented by a Michigan man online and in stores nationwide.
John Cundy, a 49-year-old clay sculptor for General Motors, came up with the idea for the invention about three years ago when he was helping cleaning up a mess left behind at a high school track meet. Walking around toting a garbage bag, he said he realized there had to be a better way.
"I was thinking, 'How can I not do this again?'" said Cundy. "I went home, thought about it, and,

honestly, I woke up at about 2:30 in the morning and started making some drawings."
Later that same day, he said, he bought a piece of wire, bent it into shape and created a simple garbage bag hanger.
He took the prototype camping and the next thing he knew, people were asking him where he got it. One person offered to buy it from him.
Cundy's invention — which he initially sold through camping stores and credits his wife, Barbara Ann, with naming it Trash-Ease — is one of hundreds of American-made products that Wal-Mart agreed last month.
The Trash-Ease, which is being manufactured in Ferndale and Traverse City, has gone through six iterations. It hangs a 13-gallon trash bag just about anywhere, on bleachers, picnic tables, even kitchen counters.
Wal-Mart selected it in its "Made in the USA" open call on July 8 in Bentonville, Ark., and put in an initial order for 50,000.
"It was a no-brainer," said Cindi Marsiglio, Wal-Mart's vice president of manufacturing, who added that as a retailer and a mom, she envisions all sorts of uses for it. "The Trash-Ease is a great product."
Cundy, a father of four, said the success of his invention has shown his kids that hard work pays off.
The invention also is, as Cundy put it, proof-positive that dreams can come true.
"I've got four kids, and your kids, they dream a lot," he said. "As you get older, you don't have as many dreams. But, my kids have seen first-hand if you work hard enough your dreams can come true. That's a cool lesson: You can do it."
He said over the years he has tried — and sometimes failed — to make money on various inventions, and many people turned him down. When he did sell some, initially, he didn't make any money. But, he said, he didn't lose faith, and he didn't quit pursuing his dream.
"In business, when people say no, that just means regroup," he said. "I tried knocking on the door for Wal-Mart so many times. You hear, no, no, no. It just means approach it differently. It means keep working hard. Never give up."

Mark Reyland

Wednesday, August 13

I think I'm going to puke.....

I received this email from the UIA today and it made me sick....
Look... me of all people know how destructive the rock throwing in our industry has been. In fact, you could say I've been hit on one or two occasions. But come on.... I left the UIA because the board under Warren Tuttle's leadership was selling us as an industry out for both professional and personal gain.

Set aside the fact that when I left, the UIA turned functional control over to one of the slimiest board members in the group, giving the entire membership list to their marketing department and letting their sales people field your calls and Emails.

Set aside the fact that they sold out the membership to some DC lobby group for a piece of legislation they themselves said had little effect on you as inventors - then tried to convince you it was in your best interest.

Set aside the fact that they now hired a career government guy who is neither an inventor or a business person, a guy who in my opinion built a career at the USPTO selling out the inventors he was charged with supporting in favor of every promotion that came down the pike, building that career in bed with some of the biggest crooks in our industry.

NOW... they want you to celebrate the UIA as Warren and his merry band of opportunists allow the crooks and scumbags we worked so hard to get rid of take back the ship. If they want to be "Our UIA" we need to hold them accountable for the decisions they make and the people they associate with.

Warren always told me that "if the time comes when I'm not helping the UIA anymore I'll leave" of course he didn't really mean it.... but after selling us out over and over, and associating the organization with one crook after another - I think it's time.

Mark Reyland

Tuesday, August 12

The 7 Mistakes Inventors make

My good friend Ryan Grepper sent this over and asked that I post it here on the Daily Inventor Blog. Ryan is great inventor, a tenacious educator, and a true friend to inventors.

Successfully bringing a new product to market is something that requires persistence and patience, yet too often people rush ahead and make the same mistakes as others before them. While anyone can have a great idea, almost everyone can benefit from learning where others went wrong. Here are the top seven mistakes that inventors tend to make:

#7 Falling in Love with Your Invention

It’s not easy to remain objective about that brilliant idea you just came up with, but you need to force yourself to look at things through the eyes of others.

We all have biases for what we have created (yes, your baby is the most beautiful!), but only by recognizing our biases can we proceed. That new idea may truly be great, but let’s take it one step at a time.

Your solution may be new, but is it really better? Is it really different? You need to ask other people for their opinions, and those people should not be related or friends with you. Often your friends and family are not in a position to give you honest, objective opinions. It’s likely they will say only positive things in order to avoid conflict or simply to show their support.

You need honest, objective feedback, so make sure to get feedback from potential customers and take their comments to heart. If enough people don’t “get it” or don’t see the value in your new idea, consider going back to the drawing board. Or save your time, energy and effort for your next great idea.

#6 Failing to Research the Market Early

The phrase “rushing blindly ahead” could have been coined to describe what often happens to people when they come up with their first big idea. They run out and spend money and time building prototypes, hiring patent attorneys, and creating sales sheets without ever checking to see if something similar already exists.

Just because you haven’t seen it at Walmart doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Before you impulsively spend your time, energy and money, make sure to thoroughly explore the market. This means going to actual stores, as well as looking online using every search description you can think of.

If you discover a product that’s similar to your idea, that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. The more significant the improvement is, the better your chance for success. Just be sure to determine if the other product has a patent, and that your solution doesn’t infringe on it.

#5 Doing Everything Yourself

Because there are so many hats to wear in launching a new product, inventors frequently make the mistake of trying to wear all of them. Sometimes it’s because they want to save money, and other times it’s because they think no one else can do it better.

There’s a time and place for both mindsets, but you won’t know which is which until you objectively analyze your own strengths and weaknesses. Different aspects of the invention process are more right-brain or left-brain tasks, and while most of us can do a good job at some aspect or another, very few of us are good at both.

The last thing you want is to have all your worthwhile efforts undone by a shabby looking logo or an ill-conceived marketing plan or an incomplete patent search that you tried to do yourself.

#4 Rushing to Get a Patent

Do you really need a patent for your invention? The answer depends on many things, including your idea, your goals, your path to market, but most importantly, timing.

Before you rush to protect that idea of yours, make sure you have something worth protecting. Do your research. Understand your market opportunity. Refine your design.

At a cost of $7,000 to $10,000, a patent only gives you the right to stop others from copying, producing and selling your invention. The only better way to stop others from copying is to have a product idea that has no market or just isn’t profitable.

#3 Inaction

Countless times each year, I’m introduced to people who, after learning that I’m an inventor, want to share their idea with me. Often these ideas aren’t earth-shattering (six minute abs!), but frequently they sound pretty good.

Then I ask the question, “So what have you done with it?” The answer is almost always, “Nothing”.

Remember, you can’t be the first to market if you never start the race.

#2 Worrying about Others Stealing Your Invention

Worrying about others stealing your idea is the biggest reason people make the last two mistakes I outlined above.

Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that coming up with a great idea is only the first of many steps to being successful and profiting from it. And those other steps take a commitment to your idea that, in most cases, only you are willing to make.

As we discuss in Inventors Blueprint, there are some simple, inexpensive solutions to help protect your idea early on before you get to the point of thinking about filing and paying for full patent protection.

I’m sure that there are people out there who are trying specifically to steal other people’s ideas, just as I’m sure there are people who get hit by lightning every year. But if your idea truly fills a need, then there are guaranteed to be others who are trying to invent similar solutions.

So, forget the worrying. Spend your time taking action and beating the other solutions to market.

#1 Not Learning How Others Have Succeeded

Every other profession has apprenticeships or schools that teach you how learn a new trade. But for some reason, people constantly try to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to creating a new product.

The single biggest action you can take to improve your chances of having success with your idea is to study how others have succeeded, then follow a proven path to the market. Please take the time to learn what works from the successes and failures of others.

This list only talks about the top seven mistakes that inventors make, but there are countless other tricks to know as you learn how to invent. The School of Hard Knocks is a good teacher, but the tuition is pretty high in terms of lost money, lost time, and wasted energy. The tragedy is that many good inventions are lost and many creative people get discouraged after learning one too many lessons the hard way.

Mark Reyland

Monday, August 11

Well there's the problem....

Recently I had a discussion with a corporate client (I work with large retailers building programs that help you get on their shelves) about the dynamic of a retail product.  I was explaining to them how powerful the creative properties of the collective citizenry are and how a rapidly increasing number of retailers are turning to a process we call Adjunct Innovation to create paths for those individual inventors to reach store shelves.

To understand the reason this is happening you must first understand what's happening in the process itself.
People have problems (some more than others), they turn to their local store for the solution to those problems in the form of a product. That's right, all a product is a wrapper for a solution to a problem.
When the solution can't be found in your local store, and the problem is persistent, the person often turns to homemade solutions using a variety of items in a way their original manufacturer never intended - the net result is they often find both functional and creative solutions.
Retailers are starting to understand that when a problem is large enough (in terms of the number of people experiencing the problem) it makes good sense to wrap a product around that home-made solution and sell it to everyone else having the same problem.
This is the genesis of the rapidly growing Adjunct Innovation movement.
Below is a picture I ran across of a homemade solution to a common problem. The question is, will the process pick up this solution, refine and design it, and present it to us, the consumer, in the form of a product.
I guess we'll see.....

Mark Reyland

Friday, August 8

Well...Roger says

I recently read some great advice my friend Roger Brown ( gave and inventor when asked by a new inventor that age old question "How do I get my product idea to market". I thought it was well worth repeating.

To start, let me address a common misconception with many first-time inventors who start with an idea but are unsure of how to actually make money from their invention (i.e., they don't understand the options for taking their idea to market). Many inventors believe that they need to personally spend tens of thousands of dollars developing and manufacturing their ideas in order to succeed, which is why you read so many stories about inventors who spend their life savings chasing an invention. While manufacturing is one option for certain inventors, it is not the only option, and certainly not the least risky.

When deciding how to proceed, you should first evaluate your ultimate goal. Consider the following two options for developing your invention 

Option 1 - Manufacturing and marketing your invention on your own

Do you want to build a business around your idea and become an entrepreneur? If so, then you might choose the manufacturing option. Make sure that you consider all that’s involved with this option, such as: design, prototyping, finding a manufacturer/factory, building inventory, warehousing, shipping, marketing, etc.

Over the years, I have worked with thousands of inventors, and a common misunderstanding that I see is the belief that one must develop, manufacture and market the invention on one’s own in order to succeed. As a result, these inventors spend a small fortune developing prototypes and setting up manufacturing capabilities before they ever receive a single “interest” or purchase order from a company.

Note: If you elect to develop and manufacture your idea on your own, I would recommend that you try and secure interest and/or purchase commitments before you pull the trigger on manufacturing. There is a big difference between developing a prototype and setting up the manufacturing infrastructure for your invention.

Option 2 - Licensing for royalties

Are you looking for a way to minimize your costs and time commitment by finding a company to pay you for your idea? If the answer is yes, then consider licensing your invention for royalties. In my experience, most inventors end up going this route, which means that rather than manufacturing and marketing the invention on their own, they try to find a company to license or purchase the invention’s patent rights in exchange for a royalty or cash payment. The idea is to have an established company develop, manufacture, and market the invention alongside their existing product line. The key to licensing success (aside from having a great invention) is to adequately and professionally prepare and protect your idea for presentation to relevant companies. This can range from simple designs all the way through fully developing your invention.

Mark Reyland

Thursday, August 7

Hello.... it's me, the inventor

HELLO!...It’s me – I’m an inventor. I’m brilliant, and creative, and I have the next HUGE product the world is going to fall in love with. Why wouldn’t you want to talk to me?  
Because you are a nut case…that’s why
Well, maybe not you personally, but that’s the reaction most of us get when we approach companies and tell them who we are. It’s not their fault really; after all, we as an industry come by it honestly. We have some real nut jobs amongst us and we have to own them the same as we get to own the success stories like Edison, Fuller, and Marconi.
Over the years industry has formed a not so good opinion about inventors and been forced to erect processes for dealing with us. Non confidentiality agreements, black hole submission process, and of course voice mail, have all been very effective tools at insulating the corporate world from the inventor - But why?
It doesn’t really matter why – because to answer that means we have to look back, and the inventing industry has spent far too much time looking back. What matters is that we recognize its happening and we resolve ourselves as an industry to changing the perception companies have of us. How you ask? Well it starts with a few simple realizations you should always remember when dealing with companies.
1.    You are not “entitled” to anything. You may be smart, you may be creative, but you are not entitled. The people in that company have worked hard to get where they are and they expect you to as well.

2.    You are a guest in their world and you want something from them – be humble

3.    Industry respects people who have done their homework and presented the results honestly – you don’t have to know all the answers, but you do have to have at least tried to answer some of the questions.

4.    I don’t care what your dog told you – your wiz-bang idea is not really worth a trillion dollars, everyone is not really going to buy 10 of them, and the corporate world has no idea how well hotcakes sell. Set reasonable expectations.

5.    Respect that they are working within a process and give them the time to do it. Don’t call every day, or email them incessantly – just let the process work. If you are as smart as you think you are, and your product is as good as your family told you it was, the system will work for you.

6.    Rejection is not failure. There are a lot of reasons a company may not take a product idea from an inventor. Most of them are simple, like, they have others they devoted resources to developing. It doesn’t fit with the direction they are taking their product line, or even it simply can’t be made the way you invented it. Take the information and use it to become a better inventor.
So when you call a company with your great idea, and they dodge you, or lie to you it’s the long term effects of the industry as a whole. We all earned it at some point or another, but the question is what did you do today to change it?

Tuesday, August 5

Who REALLY invented that?

As is the case in most historical accounts and passed on stories - there is often a huge difference between what we grew up understanding and what actually happened.

In the inventing industry we have a phenomena I refer to as "Last guy gets it" what that means is often many people will have worked on an invention over a very long period of time only to be lost in the glow of the one inventor who solved the issues that had kept the invention from being adopted by the masses.

We see this situation throughout history, notably in the airplane, the stapler, and even the light bulb.

As you can see from this timeline of the process, to say Thomas Edison invented the light bulb is inaccurate, in fact to say the Wright Brothers invented the airplane is also inaccurate. What is accurate is to say they each invented a critical component of the process, building on the hard work and dedication of many people who came before them.

History has a tendency to paint with a broad brush, and we all know the broader the brush the less detail you can accommodate.

1809 -Humphry Davy, an English chemist, invented the first electric light. Davy connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip between the other ends of the wires. The charged carbon glowed making the first arc lamp.

1820 - Warren De la Rue enclosed a platinum coil in an evacuated tube and passed an electric current through it. His lamp design was worked but the cost of the precious metal platinum made this an impossible invention for wide-spread use.

1835 - James Bowman Lindsay demonstrated constant electric lighting system using a prototype lightbulb.

1850 - Edward Shepard invented an electrical incandescent arc lamp using a charcoal filament. Joseph Wilson Swan started working with carbonized paper filaments the same year.

1854 - Henricg Globel, a German watchmaker, invented the first true lightbulb. He used a carbonized bamboo filament placed inside a glass bulb.

1875 - Herman Sprengel invented the mercury vacuum pump making it possible to develop a practical electric light bulb. Making a really good vacuum inside the bulb possible.

1875 - Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans patented a light bulb.

1878 - Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914), an English physicist, was the first person to invent a practical and longer-lasting electric light bulb (13.5 hours). Swan used a carbon fiber filament derived from cotton.

1879 - Thomas Alva Edison invented a carbon filament that burned for forty hours. Edison placed his filament in an oxygenless bulb. (Edison evolved his designs for the light bulb based on the 1875 patent he purchased from inventors, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans.)

1880 - Edison continued to improved his light bulb until it could last for over 1200 hours using a bamboo-derived filament.

1903 - Willis Whit new invented a filament that would not make the inside of a light bulb turn dark. It was a metal-coated carbon filament (a predecessor to the tungsten filament).

1906 - The General Electric Company were the first to patent a method of making tungsten filaments for use in incandescent light bulbs. The filaments were costly.

1910 - William David Coolidge (1873-1975) invented an improved method of making tungsten filaments. The tungsten filament outlasted all other types of filaments and Coolidge made the costs practical.

1925 - The first frosted light bulbs were produced.

1991 - Philips invented a light bulb that lasts 60,000 hours. The bulb uses magnetic induction.

Mark Reyland

Monday, August 4

Hey....that's MY idea!

You have a great idea, but is it already out there? Did someone make and market a version of that idea long before you had your eureka moment?. Maybe….It happens far more often than you may think - but not always because someone stole you idea.
Why? – partly because of the way our brain works.

Picture this, a row of buckets, each containing a small, but different memory. As you travel through life your brain takes bits and pieces of the things you see and (consciously or unconsciously) creates “memories” to put into those buckets. Maybe just little fragments that eventually add up to a mental image. When confronted with a problem to solve our brain instinctively reaches for the memory in the bucket that best fits as a solution – often manifesting itself as what we assume is an original thought. When it’s actually just an original memory, or compilation of memories banded together by our brain. This mental process can lead us to believe we “thought” of that solution for the first time, when in fact we simply remembered it.

Fast forward a day, a week, a month….you see that same “solution” on a store shelf in the form of a product and now all of a sudden someone stole your idea - but did they really?

I’m not saying this is what happens every time you have this situation. What I am saying is that understanding how our brains collect and distribute data helps us understand how this situation appears to happen so often.

We are human, and I’m 100% sure two people can, and do, have the same ideas sometimes. I’m also sure sometimes one person acts on the idea and one doesn’t.

So next time you see a product or invention you ”thought of” developed by someone else, at least consider the possibility your brain may have mixed up its buckets.
Mark Reyland 

Friday, August 1

Really... are you that naive?

I was reading one of those "Inventor Forums" this morning, when something struck me. How is it that such obviously intelligent people (okay, there are a few idiots on there) can be so susceptible to the influences of a few companies who hope to separate them from their money?

Then, as I imagined some person sitting at their computer, their life otherwise uneventful, and maybe even in a downward spiral, it came to me. They want so much to believe, they want so much to achieve, that even well educated people suspend logic and travel down roads that to most of us would be obvious dead ends.

Take for example, the Architect. I've seen him on these groups for several years now, very creative, obviously intelligent, but so full of hope and belief he buys into every hair brained program available.

He started an "invention" on that "Q" site (just saying the name makes me gag) it got tons of votes, he was sure they would make it a hit.... Nothing. Then it was off to that Shark show (it's just entertainment people...don't take it too seriously) they offer him a bag of money (at least when the cameras were on they did) and he turns it down... it wasn't enough I guess. Then to that EN site (again...gagging) where for a 50/50 split they are going to make the world believers..... or not, several years and who knows how much effort..... nothing. 

So now it's back to that "Q" site, where this time because they hired some guy who came from a related business it's going to be huge!

See the pattern here?

It's flailing around with your wallet in one hand and your hope in the other trying to make something work that isn't likely to work no matter how much money you spend, or what idiot you get in bed with. 

If the product is a great idea you would not be having such a difficult time getting the market to respond - that simple. I see it every single day, companies fighting over great products, and ignoring bad products.

Go back to the basics, find the root of the problem, and then fix what's wrong. After you have fixed the issues find your way to market using real companies, not these fly by night hope peddlers who manufacture most of their success in their PR factories.

Mark Reyland

Thursday, July 31

Meet my friend Kedma.....

I've met a lot of people in my day, many of them memorable for things they have accomplished, and some memorable for the people they are, every once in a while you meet someone who is both. One such person I met years ago is a staunch, take no prisoners style advocate of the independent inventor.  Her name is Kedma Ough, and although she has an "all business" exterior, inside she's a soft, kind, and extremely intelligent woman.
Here's an article she recently had published in Entrepreneur magazine.....see, I told ya she was smart.
In 2009, I decided to attend the National Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Conference to understand how the government could partner with businesses and support innovative ideas and technologies.
I was frustrated with the lack of capital available for small businesses. Most of the funds being promoted in the finance community were either debt financing requiring the repayment of a loan or equity financing requiring the business to give up a percentage of the profit in exchange for the necessary funding.
Sitting at the SBIR conference, I listened to agency after agency share their funding allocation for research and development. I couldn’t believe that these agencies were willing to pay for the infancy stage of innovation and kept pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. That experience led me to host the 2012 national conference and introduce the opportunity for free research and development dollars to thousands of small businesses.
Here are the five key things to understanding the SBIR funding program.
1. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) mission. The SBIR program, established in 1982, is focused on providing grants and contracts to small businesses with 500 employees or fewer in the development of a new concept. More than $2 billion is distributed annually to support early-stage concepts that need the necessary research and development to validate feasibility and compete in the global innovation marketplace.
2. The benefits of winning an SBIR grant or contract. There are several benefits to winning an SBIR grant or contract. The small business doesn’t have to pay back the funds or give up a percentage of equity in the business. Any intellectual property is owned exclusively by the small business. Collateral or exceptional credit is not a requirement. In almost all cases, the goal of the program is to fund early-stage high-risk technologies, a completely different funding philosophy to standard lenders or venture capitalists.
3. The typical award size and success ratio. In a phase-one grant, the small business can receive a grant up to $150,000 for the initial research and development of the idea. Assuming the project is successful, the small business can apply for a second grant ranging up to $1 million over a two-year period.
The average success ratio of a phase one grant is one in 10 applications reviewed. In phase two, it’s one in five.
4. The type of topics that can be found in an SBIR solicitation varies. The SBIR program solicit topics through 11 federal agencies, including the Departments of Health, Defense, Education, Energy and Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and many more.
Hundreds of topics are released quarterly, ranging from software system development, health-care solutions, online learning tools and clean energy.
5. Resources and information available about the SBIR. Tapping into the opportunity to apply for government grants begins with learning about the grants process. One of my favorite sights to research SBIR funding is the SBIR Gateway This site is filled with a lot of valuable SBIR information including solicitation dates, calendar of events and upcoming trainings in your area.
The SBIR program has provided hundreds-of-thousands of small businesses the opportunity to develop their concept in collaboration with the government in the pursuit of innovation.

Wednesday, July 30

Rose asked a good question....

Hello mark, I have just invented something good and had a prototype made of my design, have a company name, but it hard to get packages,, what eve else has to be done, I'm stuck, I don't not know what I'm supposed to do now time running out.. End line is in Dec,, I need help, is there any advice that you can give?


Hi Rose,

Sure, I can give you the same advice I give hundreds of inventors. STOP!

Not stop pursuing your dream. Stop in the sense that you are on the wrong path.

What you are attempting to do is the most common mistake in our industry. Somehow you got it in your head (probably from one of those stupid TV shows) that you know how to invent, develop, sell, and distribute retail products. Well, news flash Rose - you probably don't. In fact, I know people who do this for a living and still don't know the complex processes involved in those tasks - and several of those morons have a book to sell you. 

So where does that leave you? Simple, in the same boat as thousands of other inventors. You now have the chance to stop your current process, correct your direction, and attempt to monetize your invention in a way that makes sense.

What you want to do now Rose is focus on licensing your invention to a company who already does all those complicated tasks you thought you could handle. In return they are going to give you a percentage of the money they receive from the retailer. Not as much as you may have gotten had you taken the product to market yourself, but the reality is Rose, 100% of zero is still zero.

Here is a link to a blog posting on licensing - it's 10 steps and I promise if you do them and get good at doing them you will find success.