On our Friday lives, we talk about a spectrum of entrepreneurship-related topics and how to take your idea from concept to business. But there are always some questions left unanswered. Since every entrepreneur has a unique path to follow, we do a segment called, Ask Fred, to answer all the questions we don’t get to cover in our regular show. Read on to learn all about it!
You can find someone to do a research report or logo for you, but having an intellectual group around you can help you analyze all the different components and figure out what to do with them is critically important. You need connections that can help you learn. Even more importantly, they can help you open doors and sell your product or app. Private groups of 5 to 10 people can be very productive in solving each other’s problems and making ideas better. The idea is that every person has a certain skill set they focus on and know better than you do. Also, those are usually the people who know people and can help you make the right connections. When thinking about forming a mastermind group, make sure you have the skillset, and connections that can be useful to others. Otherwise, it won’t work.
The first thing you should do is decide which idea is the best and work on it. Selling someone a bucket of inventions is very unlikely to happen. Even if you don’t want to operate a company, you still need to go through the process.
“When you show up to a company who typically licenses products with a war chest of information, you’re a lot more likely to get a deal than if you just show up with paper, right?” – Fred Cary
You will need complete market research, competitive analysis, and customer surveys. Understand who your customers are, what they love about your product, who your competitors are, and why your product is better. You should have a website, maybe a list of emails, and a utility patent because they cannot license something that isn’t protected.
There are several different ways licensing deals can work. They can be exclusive or non-exclusive, have an assignment of your patent or not, cover only certain territories, or online sale. There is no one size fits all licensing deal, but typically you get between 2% and 5% of the gross of whatever they sell. After 6-12 months, you can try getting certain minimums, which is possible only if there is a proven sales record.
Trademark prevents others from competing unfairly or confusing the marketplace with products similar to yours. It gives you commerce protection. If you’re not using the name of your company in commerce, there’s no need to trademark it. You want to trademark the name of your app or physical product. There are categories of products and services trademarks. If you are making computers, you seek a trademark in computer class. However, if you have a product used in different classes, you may need 3-4 trademarks. Have in mind that trademark attorneys are not expensive and can help you a lot with these issues.
Use a cut and dry formula that covers the problem, the solution, and the customer. Y Combinator has a great format you could use. The pitch deck should be powerful and composed of short bullet points to get people’s attention on the first slide. The people you want to convince see hundreds of pitch decks a day, and they need a good reason to keep looking. Get to your point fast and then go into the details. Keep it simple and easy to open with any device or bandwidth.
“The biggest challenge in starting any business is money.” – Fred Cary
You need to have money now, after you launch, and when you start growing. It is the fuel to get you to the next level, so think about where you can get it from the very beginning. Remember to grow within your means and not to go ahead of yourself. Prepare all those resources, have them ready, and only go as fast as those resources will take you.
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.