Embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure brings along many doubts and questions. Luckily, we are here to answer them! We talked to Fred Cary, CEO of Ideapros, who answered questions you had about creating a product or app.
Fred Answers Patent Questions
- Can I sell or share my idea without a patent?
“You are not going to sell your idea with or without a patent. If it’s just an idea, it’s not going to happen.” – Fred Cary
As an individual with an idea, you don’t have the connections and access to a CEO of a big multi-national company, so you end up going to a licensing company that promises you a patent and a licensing deal. Don’t do that because you will not see anything from them. The other option is to go online and submit to all those big companies that say they will take a look at your product. The chances that will happen are about zero. No one is going to give you a bunch of money just for your idea.
- Can I talk to people about my ideas without a patent?
Let’s first see what a patent means for you. When you have a patent, even a provisional one it is only a rubber stamp, a placeholder. You have one year to file a utility, a design patent, or both. If you are not an engineer, a manufacturer, or someone who understands design elements – the chances that you will come up with a manufacturable design that can be engineered properly, be available at a good price, and designed in a way people will want it are very slim.
“If you file a patent for something that turns out not to be manufacturable that patent gets thrown out.” – Fred Cary
When you’ve gone through the engineering process, you have something manufacturable and your marketing research has shown people want it then that’s when you file it. In the meantime, you keep it quiet. Read more about confidentiality here.
How Much Money Do I Need & How Can I Get It?
- What’s the minimum amount of money to bring an invention to market?
For a small to moderate nationwide launch, you will spend between $500,000 to a million dollars. You could have a small boutique in the corner of the internet where you sell a couple of thousand dollars worth products a month for $20,000 to $50,000. When you work with IdeaPros, we will reduce 75% or more of what it costs to do a nationwide launch.
- How to get it?
Around 85% of entrepreneurs get capital from themselves, family, friends, or loan from a bank. People also get a second mortgage, a home equity line, or borrow money from their 401k plan. You might be able to get an SBA loan if you’ve had another business for a couple of years. You can borrow money at 0% interest for 18 to 24 months, or use any of the big credit cards that will lend you money without interest. For venture capital firms or angel groups, you need to have everything laid out before:
“You need to have done your marketing, positioning, surveys, design elements, understand where you’re going to sell it, who you are going to sell it to, and how much it’s going to cost.” -Fred Cary
You don’t have to raise that money all at once, you can start small and continue growing. Read more about financing on our blog.
How Do I Have a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?
In order to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, you need to have an engineered product with great marketing and positioned away from your competitors with the sweet spot for your potential customer base, pricing, and discount for crowdfunding. You have to have a prototype that looks like what the finished product is going to look like and acts like what the finished product is going to act like. The best way to do it is through an agency. Over 70% of all crowdfunding campaigns don’t raise any money because people try to do it on their own. Without an audience, great materials, and marketing campaign manager, you don’t have a chance.
“Crowdfunding is for people who have done everything and are almost ready to launch their product, so this infusion of capital from their future customers will fund the manufacturing run.” – Fred Cary
How Do I Approach Manufacturing?
If you don’t have any other approach, the best way to get to manufacturing is through an engineering connection. Most of the best engineering companies have direct lines with manufacturers. When designing a product, engineers do it in line with the manufacturer’s capabilities and capacities.
“Trying to find a manufacturer by yourself is really difficult.” – Fred Cary
You don’t necessarily have to have a prototype. As there are going to be many changes and tweaks anyway, but you should go there with complete engineering schematics. Something that is duplicatable and factual.
How Do I Market Product or App?
The process we follow at IdeaPros is several-fold: the first thing you do is get warm and fuzzy with your potential customers, without letting them know you are selling something. Join Facebook groups, look for influencers on Instagram or YouTube, and get yourself known and relevant. Start building your community.
- How to market a website?
The only way to get traffic to your website is with your built-in audience, ads, and quality content. If you are short on money but have writing skills, write blogs that will be shared and get picked up by websites that have a lot of visits. Figure out who is your customer and do target ads on Facebook. Be ready to spend money and time to drive people to your website.
Remember to figure out who you are first, what you stand for, and whatever you do – be consistent with the essence of your organization.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.