"Tolchin mines the smartest brains in the field to create an essential book for novice inventors." —Barbara Corcoran, SHARK TANK
The process of inventing and bringing a product into the marketplace is fraught with legal pitfalls, costly dead ends, confusing runarounds, and missed opportunities. Yet through the maze of hurdles to overcome, some seem to navigate the path to success without a worry. So what do these people know that the struggling inventor does not? They know enough to ask the right questions and find the appropriate resources they can count on. Luck may play a part, but having a team of experts to learn from will absolutely increase your odds of making it. Now, in Secrets of Successful Inventing, writer and importing professional Edith Tolchin has put together sixteen top experts who offer valuable information related to the various steps involved in bringing an invention to market.
Ms. Tolchin has created an all-in-one guide that addresses the many critical issues that beginning inventors might never even consider. From prototyping to patenting, from licensing to marketing, each expert gives clear and practical advice to help inventors reach their goals. The book presents the chapters in a logical sequence that will allow the fledgling inventor to navigate the waters of product development. By following the steps offered and by heeding the words of these seasoned professionals, the reader will stand a better chance of avoiding pitfalls and finding success at journey’s end.
Normally, novice inventors spend thousands of dollars attending lectures and workshops that they hope will prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead. In Secrets of Successful Inventing, Edith Tolchin provides a straightforward guide to the basics as well as a useful resource to take your idea to the next level.
Edith G. Tolchin has worked with inventors for the past thirty years. She has held a prestigious U.S. customs broker license since 2002 and has interviewed over 100 inventors for her column in Inventors Digest. Edith is also the author of several books including Secrets of Successful Inventing: From Concept to Commerce and a comedic fictionalized memoir in 2017, Fanny on Fire (www.fannyonfire.com). Her writing has appeared in the Kelsey Review.
So you want to be a rock star? Well, this is not quite the book for you, but I did get your attention, didn’t I? The truth is many of you who are reading this book may really want to be the next rock star of inventors. But creating and developing an invention is in no way a walk in the park, unless you have bottomless resources, unlimited patience, and consistent rejection only fuels your determination. You’ll need help. And I have assembled a team to give it to you.
This book’s contributors are the cream of the crop in the invention industry. They have been working with customers, consumers, and clients for a long time. If you were to combine their collective years of experience helping inventors, you would have to pause at 100, catch your breath, and then continue counting. In organizing the work of this collection of experts, I have attempted to create a logical flow—an order that I feel will be the most helpful way for a beginning inventor to learn to navigate the waters of product development. If you follow the steps outlined herein and heed the advice of these seasoned professionals--many of whom have been in your shoes, whether they started out as inventors or “invented” their businesses--you will stand a better chance of avoiding the predators of the service provider world along your long journey.
As editor, I have done my best to leave each contributor’s original material completely intact. I feel it is important for you to get the real words of these contributors, to hear their own distinctive voices as they relate their experiences and knowledge. They will teach you all about inventors’ groups, prototyping, packaging, financing, manufacturing, patenting, marketing, sales, licensing, and more. While you are welcome to jump directly to a chapter that explains a particular aspect of the process of inventing, I nevertheless recommend that you go back and read the book from beginning to end as soon as you are done. Even though you might have passed a particular stage of development, the experts in this book may bring a new and fresh perspective to your work, and possibly a more beneficial way of accomplishing a particular task. I urge you to be completely open-minded and analyze all possibilities and suggestions found in this text. Take notes on a notepad, computer, or mobile device and have them nearby as you go through the material. It may take you a while to digest all the sound ideas provided in this guide, and having a quick reference sheet may be helpful. Always keep your notes handy.
Should you be particularly impressed with this book’s contributors (and I am confident you will be), you will find contact information for each contributor on the first page of his or her chapter and at the end of the book. You may contact these experts for advice or clarification, or even choose to engage their services.
The goal of Secrets of Successful Inventing is to provide you with the most current and comprehensive information on the world of inventions available. I have attempted to create an all-in-one guide that addresses the many issues novice inventors might not initially consider, and that gives advice on how to improve the methods of slightly more seasoned individuals. You will learn all the inventors’ jargon—which is to say, all the terminology and expressions that are commonly used in the industry. What is a non-disclosure agreement? A logo? A “country of origin” tag? Social media? A packaging mock-up or a virtual prototype? By the end of this book, you’ll be speaking the language of inventors like a pro.
Throughout your journey, please be prepared to expect the unexpected. If you do your homework and listen to these guides, however, I am certain you will become a wiser, better educated consumer, and, more importantly, a successful inventor. Who knows how far you will go? Happy Inventing!
1. Inventors’ Groups
Please consider joining your local inventors’ club. These organizations usually meet monthly and provide novice inventors with support and camaraderie.
A properly made prototype along with an effective sell sheet and a few of the other essentials mentioned in this chapter is critical to the development of your new product.
To patent or not to patent: that is definitely the question. This chapter will help you determine the best way to tackle intellectual property issues.
Steve Greenberg and Gary Greenberg
You have finally decided to bring your product to market but you need financial assistance. Crowdfunding is a novel way to get the startup funds required.
Your packaging may be a sale-maker or a deal-breaker. Follow these helpful tips to create picture-perfect packaging for your product.
6. Manufacturing Importing and Product Safety
Edith G. Tolchin
Sourcing manufacturing government regulations product safety and importing can each be tough to navigate so
please follow these steps should you choose to produce your invention.
Whether you wish to license or manufacture your invention yourself it will still need to be marketed correctly. This sage advice on the matter is essential to your success.
There is no turning back time to the pre-internet days so please get your product out there with a great domain name and an even greater website.
9. Sales Reps
You will surely want someone to help sell your new invention so please read these timely tips on finding and hiring the optimal sales representative.
If yours is a product that may sell well to stores like Home Depot, Target, or Neiman Marcus, you should read these key facts about retail to get you started on the right foot.
This chapter will help you decide if licensing your product is the best route to follow in your quest to connect the public to your grand idea.
12. Public Relations
Your product is almost ready to be sold, whether in stores, online, or by other methods. Now learn how to generate buzz for your invention through powerful PR.
13. Direct Response Television
As Seen on TV! HSN, QVC, and infomercials--oh, my! This chapter will help you determine which of these options may be right for you and your invention.
14. Trade Shows
Deb Hess knows trade shows. Pay close attention to this major way to introduce your product meet buyers and network with fellow inventors.
15. How I Did It
What better way is there to discover the trials, tribulations, and rewards of developing a new product than by
listening to the firsthand experience of a successful inventor?
16. What I’ve Learned
Bonnie Griffin Kaake
Bonnie has worked with inventors for many years. She has seen it all and is here to tell you about the ups and downs of the industry, offering advice you should heed.