St. Paul, Minn. December 23, 2009 – It’s that time of year again: Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, gift shopping, the spirit of joy and peace on earth, family gatherings and celebrations. The New Year is just around the corner, which also means New Year’s resolutions, and Inventor’s Digest will be featuring an article that inventors everywhere will want to be sure to incorporate into their entrepreneurial habits.
Making another appearance as an Inventor’s Digest contributor, L&L CEO Trevor Lambert will be featured in the 2010 January issue of the publication. This time he writes about a few aspects of how best to pitch a new product deal with a potential investor, in particular the danger of referring to yourself, the inventor, as just that – inventor.
Trevor explains that at most companies there exists a negative impression toward the term ‘inventor.’ Many in those circles seem to equate it with a ‘tinkerer’ or someone who has little or no knowledge of business operations, manufacturing, sales, or logistics. “In the eyes of potential licensees,” he writes, “rather than evoking images of Thomas Edison, ‘inventor’ is almost a derogatory term that insinuates a lack of professionalism. Unfair? Perhaps. Nevertheless, the stereotype exists.” He goes on to say, “Although a company’s reaction to the term won’t always be negative, it’s important to avoid pigeonholing yourself. Speak the same language as the people you will be pitching to. They do not use ‘inventor’ or ‘invention.’ Neither should you.” In business circles you are not an ‘inventor’ but an ‘engineer,’ ‘industrial designer,’ or ‘product developer’ and what you conceive is not an invention but a ‘product,’ ‘intellectual property,’ or ‘technology.’
According to Trevor, the best way to surmount this stereotype-barrier is to first recognize that it is a common misconception that one can form an idea, draw it on a napkin and simply find a company eager to offer a big royalty deal. “In the end,” he writes, “for your product to become a license success, the ‘inventor’ must become an ‘entrepreneur.’ Many people have ideas for products. However, to be successful with a licensing pitch, you have to view your product as a business.” An entrepreneur must place primary focus not only on sufficiently developing an efficacious invention but also professional and effective communication.
Trevor goes on to recommend market research and trade magazines as excellent ways to acquire a better understanding of an industry’s lingo and culture. Reading annual reports of publicly traded companies or online searches for articles where company executives are quoted are also helpful. The goal of these efforts is to become an expert in the fields which are relevant to your product and to communicate professionally with a potential licensee. “This way you will boost your credibility (and ultimately your likelihood of success) since you will be speaking like an industry insider…not just some ‘inventor.’"
Merry Christmas from everyone at Lambert & Lambert, Inc., and a Happy New Year to all...especially our inventors -- or rather, our product developers. ;)
Lambert & Lambert is a contingency-fee based invention marketing and patent licensing firm that specializes in consumer products. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lambert & Lambert provides services to inventors, product developers and small companies throughout the world and currently has products selling in numerous retailers.
Tim Sherman, director of customer service
Lambert & Lambert, Inc.