Inventive Ideas Inc
If As Seen On TV Won’t Fly – Try A Niche Market by Carrie Jeske

The goal is low cost, high return inventing sequence.  The As Seen On TV (ASOTV) industry is always the fastest, most financially rewarding option, when consumers respond.  If ASOTV won’t fly (meaning no one will fully fund your idea and you can’t afford to partially fund the market viability test partnership or your product did test and failed). you need to step back and consider your other options.  Maybe it doesn’t meet the narrow criteria of ASOTV at all?

Inside the As Seen On TV category, patents are not required, but in slower moving. niche distribution channels, they are critical.

As with any service need, you can Do It Yourself (DIY) or hire a professional.    It’s all a choice between time, quality and money.   Below is the sequence I recommend.   The most common mis-step I see inventors make is moving to Step 5 before 1-4 are complete.  This is a mistake since filing a provisional starts a 12 month clock that runs fast.   Negotiating licensing agreements takes time. so completing steps 1-4 first, maximizes your investment of money and time.

Whether your product is selected by our licensing agents and you hire Inventive Ideas or you decide to Do It Yourself. here are the next steps I recommend.   Inventive Ideas does not file patents so you will need to DIY or hire an attorney you can understand for that step.   

Here’s what needs to be done.

  1. Step Back and Research

    1. Consider “Why” ASOTV passed.   Is your product still viable in niche markets or simply not viable at all?
    2. Evaluate competition dominance.   Do you have a better chance in niche markets?  
    3. Identify the niche markets.  It’s easier to get to selected groups and target companies then ever before.
  2. Collect Data

    1. Find similar products being sold and gather manufacture name.  You can find it right on the packaging, online or at the public library.
    2. Develop a spreadsheet contact list of Top 5-10 manufactures.  Not retailers.   Retailers don’t normally license product.  You need to drill down to the manufacture name.   Look on the store shelves at the product packaging.  The manufactures names/brands are listed.  That is your target prospect for licnesing.  Make a list.
  3. Gather Information

    1. Call the phone numbers or post online and ask if the company accepts outside new patent product ideas.   If no, cross them off your list and move on.  If yes, get the correct spelling of the person’s name, their direct extension, and email.   This isn’t easy but it’s possible.  Ask them about the kind of products they are looking for and gather information about the evaluation process.  Build a relationship. (You haven’t shown them your idea yet.  You’re simply making an introduction.)    What you really want, is the contact information.  It doesn’t matter if you speak to them or not at this step.   Get complete contact info.
  4. Produce Marketing Materials of Concept Prototype

    1. Single Sell Sheet in pdf or short demo video hosted on Youtube in “unlisted” setting works best.   I’m not a fan of animations, unless the product is too complex to prototype.  If you spoke with a live person and have an email, move fast.   Make your own Demo Video or hire Fiverr.com to make a marketing flyer.   
    2. The better you make your prototype look, the more interest you’ll get.   Balance time and money costs.   For more information, see 8 Kinds Of Prototypes and When To Use Them.
  5. File Provisional Patent.

    1. DIY or hire a pro.  Use Legal Zoom for $250 or find an attorney for $1,200 – $5,000.   Remember, filing a provisional patent starts the clock so be ready to roll by making sure steps 1-4 are done BEFORE you file.   The moment you file, the clock is ticking so start hot and begin step 5 within the first hour of having a filing number.    You have 12 months to move forward with a utility patent (3 years and $10-$20,000).   Use your time wisely to evaluate licensing potential and viability.   Waiting to file till steps 1-4 are done allows you to start hot.
  6. Prospect & Gain Feedback.  

    1.  Use Telephone, Email, Online.   Connect on LinkedIn or other social networks.   Be persistent.    Call, mail, call, write, submit, till you get some interest.   Give Permission for negative feedback. You need to hear what’s tested and failed on their side.   Companies have access to insider information not found on the public domain.   If they tested similar products that failed, no patent was filed so it won’t show up in USPTO records or on Amazon, since the product was not manufactured.   Knowing this can save you thousands of dollars and years of time.
  7.  Secure Interest &

    1. If they’re interested, they have questions.   This is the step when Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’) get signed, after the call.  They want to know more about your product & patent protection.  You want to know more about their company, distribution channel, existing product sales and reason for their interest in this item.    Getting an NDA protects you from them making modifications to your design and leaving you behind.    The time to ask for this is at the end of the call, not before.
  8. Set Up An Conference Call. Carrie Jeske Optional.

    1. This is the time to get Carrie Jeske involved.   Depending on how much time and effort it takes, Carrie Jeske will lead the call and work to close a licnesing agreement for you.   Carrie Jeske will provide a Licensing Agent Agreement to you and agree to a fair royalty split.  She’ll fund her expenses, you fund yours.  At this point, there usually aren’t any.  She’s investing her experience, legal agreement templates, value added extras and win-win business model.
    2. Confirm with the Prospect a conference call for any Monday, Wednesday or Friday.   These are high value calls so Carrie Jeske will make them a priority.    Send an email to the Prospect and Carrie Jeske and Carrie Jeske will reply with a Conference Call Call In number that we can use, if you don’t have one yourself.    Carrie Jeske will contact you for a PRE-CALL planning conference call to insure the Goal, Scope and Information Given is understood.   She’ll run the call and you listen in.
    3. GOALS:  1) Identify their Licensing Process. 2) Confirm Nature of Initial Interest.  3) Build Rapport.   4) Confirm Next Steps – sign NDA, send sample, schedule follow up.
  9.  Conference Call De-Brief.

    1. Carrie Jeske and you will discuss how the call went and work on next steps.   Normally, the NDA is completed, samples are sent and next steps confirmed.   Carrie Jeske will lead the remaining steps to signed licensing agreement, audits and royalty payments.
  10.  Receive Mailbox Money.

    1. You’ll receive “mailbox money” every quarter, once your product hits retail sales.Whatever you decide, knowing when to press forward and when to cut bait is an important and intuitive choice.

When making calls, if all you hear is “No Thank You” or crickets, find a place of peace, consult with those closest to you. whom you trust, and make changes to press onward or drop it and move on to your next idea.

Inventing is a gamble for individuals and companies.  Never invest more then you can afford to lose and never make financial decisions out of desperation or fear.

Cautious Optimistic Hope is your friend.

See you on the shelves! 

Carrie Jeske

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