• Stephen Key is an author and inventor. He is the author of One Simple Idea. Stephen has a yearlong program called InventRight. They have coaches that coach you through every step. They assist you with contract negotiations. He also has another project in progress called InventYES (Young Entrepreneur Success).  InventYES is a free program geared towards high school students. This should be up and running by August.
  • Stephen makes small improvements to existing ideas.
  • He sends his ideas to medium sized companies that want to be big companies.
  • You can file a provisional patent application. The cost is around $65.
  • He normally puts a one-page sale sheet together of his idea; he also creates a video that has a problem and solution. He then sends it to a company and if there is interest, he files the provisional patent application.
  • The following industries are inventor friendly: kitchen housewares, hardware, toy, novelty gift, as seen on TV, DYI, and pet products.
  • You can even get a freelance graphic designer, create the idea, and make it look like it's the real deal. The cost is less than $50.
  • Always talk to somebody in the sales, marketing or new product development department. Start slow, send them an email with a clear idea of what the benefit is and put that in the subject line. Build a relationship first.
  • Get an account on LinkedIn.
  • Stephen has many great ideas and when deciding which one to choose he finds often the one with the smallest improvement on an existing idea works well. That way he knows there is a market for it. He also tries to find an industry that is inventor friendly.
  • Having a large market is important.
  • Have an idea that can be summarized in one sentence; the benefit of it; so it is easy to describe.
  • Another thing to consider is: can your product be manufactured easily?
  • Once you have the contacts at companies, keep sending ideas, one at a time, don’t confuse them with many products in one presentation.
  • If you get rejected on the first attempt, remember you already have a relationship with the company. Thank them and ask them, "Help me understand why?", "What are you looking for?" Then send them another one.
  • You should always show the company the benefits, why would people buy the product?
  • You can start with little money.
  • Do your research. Check companies online.
  • If you are considering doing it on your own, consider the following: look at your skillset, how much time do you have, what do you want to do (big picture), how much control do you want to have?
  • Licensing is finding the perfect partner that has all the tools necessary to quickly bring your idea to market.
  • There is an inventathon called Make48. Inventors have 48 hours to come up with a solution. For the winner there is possible licensing with the sponsor and there are cash prizes.
  • Make sure you love your customer. Plan ahead. Make a good business plan.
  • If you are interested in inventing, they should start with visiting all top design schools in the country and reach out to companies that need ideas.
  • Every day is a new day. Be excited about the possibilities. You can have very little background; all you need  is what you like and don't like, process of licensing, connecting to other designers; LinkedIn, communicating with other people; going to inventor's group in your city, seeing what is new; looking at the opportunity to create for this generation.
  • You stay young when you step outside your comfort zone.
  • Look at your age as your asset. You have experience and wisdom. Embrace it. Enjoy it.


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