Make Sure Your Items is ProprietaryIf you are going to invent something, you really need some sort of proprietary angle to make it sell, that makes it different than any other product in that line. Here’s what I mean. A couple came on the Shark Tank show and tried to sell their idea of something they called “Elephant Chat” that was merely a stuffed elephant someone could use to give the idea that there was a need to discuss the “elephant in the room.” However, they wanted $60 for it and got laughed at because anyone can buy a stuffed elephant for much cheaper. They had no special angle or proprietary thing about their product.
Even if your item is something common, i.e. photography, the Shark Tank team bought into one inventor’s product because he had a decent angle. They were calling themselves Paparazzi Proposals because their gimmick was they only did photos of wedding proposals. They netted $250K for their idea. So, always come up with a unique angle if you want to be an inventor that succeeds in selling your product.
Make Sure Your Prepare Before Making A PitchThe Shark Tank team also showed one inventor why you have to prepare to answer several important questions prior to making a pitch to sell your product or get investors. Some doctors tried to sell the show on something called Rolodoc.
They started off well, but then they couldn’t answer any of the team’s questions. These questions were simple things like “what are your annual sales?” “How many clients?” What kind of costs do you have for your production, marketing, employees, etc.?” as well as “Where do you see the product in 5 years?”
The moral of the story is you better be prepared before you expect others to invest in your product! If you can’t answer simple questions, then you aren’t going to get anyone interested in something so uncertain.
Getting Attention and Exposure is as Important as Getting CapitalNot every inventor who came on Shark Tank got any money for their product. However, that doesn’t mean they lost everything! In fact, just getting on the Shark Tank show helped quite a few of them end up becoming a success whether the show invested in their product or not. They did things like put up signs advertising they’d been on Shark Tank and linking clips from the shows to their websites for their products.
What the morale of this story is, is getting exposure and getting people to know you exist is something even more valuable than getting investors in your product. That way you get your name out there, and word of mouth from the exposure can help promote your business and lead to getting investors or buyers. So don’t look a gift horse in the mouth if someone doesn’t want to invest but is willing to still tell others about your invention.
Think Like Your Client WouldDon’t just get dollar signs in your eyes when you invent something and want to sell it to the world. Start thinking how you would feel as a customer. How does this new product help solve your client’s problems? How is it better than any other item in that category? You need to consider how a potential customer would see your item as being more valuable than your potential competitors.
Consider Creative Solutions to Your IssuesOne thing inventors have to be is flexible. One guy on Shark Tank, Mr. Kevin O’Leary, is well-known for suggesting creative answers to a problem. He likes to do things differently than merely offering inventors money. He likes to make deals based on royalty or offer specific rules into the equation as to whether or not the inventor gets any money from him.
What can be learned by this? Well, sometimes just getting paid for your invention may not be the very best deal you can make. If you learn to think out of the box you might actually get a better deal in the long term. So, don’t forget about different ways to get capital like going on one of the crowd funding websites or making friends with important people in your field, etc. Be sure also to consider using things like social media to get interest in your product, as many inventors have used it to their advantage.
Be sure you have focus and know your business strengthsYou can’t just invent something and think, well I am done, let’s go sell it to somewhere. You must know what kind of business strengths you have or where you need to get stronger. Running a business or maintaining it after you start one is not an easy task. The Shark Tank team tells investors to know their unique advantages they have and play to them. It takes more than having a good idea to be successful.
Through the past few years InventHelp has had articles done on it for all their help getting new inventors the things they need to make good. Here are a few of those articles: