© By Stephen Paul Gnass

In life, it's really great when you can pay someone else to do something that you either a) don't have time to do, b) don't need or want to learn how to do, or c) just don't like to do at all!

Delegating Tasks

There are many things that you can pass off to someone else to do for you in exchange for cash, from easy tasks to more complex projects. Generally, the more difficult something is to do, and the more skill it requires, the more costs are involved to have someone else do it for you. For example, on the easy side, you can hire a gardener to mow the lawn and water it each month for you.

On the more difficult side, you most likely have to hire an auto mechanic to fix your car since most people don't have these skills. Naturally, a mechanic will cost more, depending on the problem with your car.

But with some things in life, they just can't be turned over to somebody else or "delegated". For example, with studying to become a doctor, the student must personally be involved in the learning/education process. The student must physically go to classes, study the information, take the exams, and do the resident internship program to learn how to perform surgery.

Are You "Abdicating" Your Complete Responsibility, instead of Delegating Parts of It?

Now, you may be thinking, "what does all this have to do with inventing"? Well, I often explain to my inventor clients, that they can't "buy" their invention's success for any amount of money. What I mean by this, is that inventing is one of those things that can't be completely delegated or passed off to any company or person in exchange for cash, like mowing the lawn can.

Now this topic is vitally important to inventors, because one of the most damaging invention myths, is that an idea is automatically worth a million dollars, and that someone is panting like a dog with their tongue hanging out, waiting to give them a bucket of cash.

Due to this myth, when the invention scam companies [Read: NCIO's Scambusters] offer to "do-it-all-for-you", for fees, inventors easily get taken advantage of for thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, for worthless services. It's important to note that these companies take the inventor out of the process, out of the loop, and tell them that all they have to do is sit back and relax, and wait for results.

But the results will NEVER, EVER come. In actuality, these companies do great at marketing and selling their services, but do not market or sell any inventions. They will only do the bare minimum to fulfill the many services that they claim they do, to stay within the law, and as a result will provide inventors with worthless services.

For example, they provide generic evaluation reports. These reports often provide information like statistics on the entire population of the U.S., or the total number of businesses in the U.S. or in a field, which is so broad and general, that it’s not relevant to a specific invention’s marketability. They provide weak patents [that's if they even file a patent at all, many times they only file an in-house “Date of Conception” document or PPA]. When they say that they take inventions to trade shows, the inventions are only listed in a computer database with thousands of others, but not physically displayed in the booth, so they don't get any real exposure at all. [Read: NCIO's "De-Scam-bler Checklist"]

Staying Involved in the Process of Inventing is a Key to Success

I believe that if inventors understood that they must be personally involved in the whole process, and that any companies that they work with should only do "specific parts" of the process, they probably wouldn't get scammed by these invention promotion firms who offer to "do-it-all-for-you". By trying to pass along the whole process on to a company, inventors end up abdicating [giving up their participation and role in the inventing process], instead of staying involved and delegating certain parts/pieces of the process.

Inventing is more like the medical student example. The inventor has to be personally involved in the complete process of inventing, which includes learning and getting educated about the invention process. While there are "aspects" of inventing that can be passed off to somebody else, like hiring a qualified patent attorney to file a patent, or hiring a prototype maker to make a prototype, these services should be contracted on an "a-la-carte" piecemeal basis, meaning that the inventor should hire a specific service provider that has been researched to do the best job, an expert in that field, and contract them only at the time when it's needed. [Read: "Do You Have a List of Legitimate Companies?"]

Overall, the whole process of inventing must be supervised and coordinated directly by the inventor. This is because nobody else will have the same understanding of how the invention works, or the time and passion to inspire others to get involved, or the determination to put in the time and energy to push and pull it through any hurdles that may come up. Yes, this means that the inventor will need to spend some time getting educated, researching the services they need, and supervising the vendors. If an inventor is a newbie, learning how to do this and then implementing it may seem overwhelming at first. But it's vital to not getting scammed and to doing things the right way.

Entrepreneurs: What's In Your Business Plan?

An example of this, is an area where many entrepreneurs almost always get stuck, which is putting together a business plan. The first thing they do, is go looking for a company to create it for them. There are many companies that offer to put together business plans, as well as many freelance writers, etc. But here's the problem. The "plan" for the business is based on the entrepreneur's personal vision for the company. So when he gives it to somebody else to write it, do the research, and put it together, the entrepreneur has no direct connection with the material because he's not involved in the process. The entrepreneur doesn't really know where the information came from, because he thinks that the business plan will sell itself, much like inventors think that an idea will sell itself.

There's a special forum I've attended for reviewing entrepreneur's business plans, where the entrepreneur presents his business plan on stage and the venture capitalists and investors then grill the entrepreneur with questions about the business plan. I observed that many entrepreneurs just wilted and shriveled up on the stage because they didn't have answers to basic questions they should have known, because somebody else had put together their business plan and they weren't in touch with the material.

Inventors: It's All Up to You!

Like a lapel pin I have says, "If it is to be, it's up to me".

In the final analysis, no matter how good the invention is, what inventors usually don't factor into the inventing process, is that the success of an invention ultimately depends on the inventor's personal traits and qualities, skills, drive, motivation, and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Even if an inventor has a truly great product, if the inventor has traits such as being a procrastinator, always starts and stops on projects, is looking for the easy way out, or is rude, aggressive and unprofessional on calls, etc., these negative traits will affect his invention's potential.

An example of a negative trait:

While most inventors are respectful and friendly, surprisingly, I've had a few inventors who have been quite rude, not realizing that they were cutting off their nose to spite their face. They weren't aware that I might have provided them with special contacts and resources, but that after showing their ungrateful nature, I decided not to help them anymore.

For example, one woman, who had received many hours of my free consultations, beyond the initial Complimentary Brainstorm that I offered, was actually mad at me because I wouldn't give her any more free consultations for a problem that she had. Instead of being appreciative for all the free time and help I had given her, she was rude and acted like I somehow owed it to her. She had a good product and I don't know what happened. But just a few hundred dollars for my consulting time could have saved her tens of thousands that she was considering spending with a manufacturer that I didn't feel was right for her.

Guidance is Vital to Success

With the medical student example, we've mentioned that students must do the studying themselves. But they can always get help and assistance with their studies. While still doing it themselves, they can utilize the services of private tutors and mentors to help them speed up learning the complex material, point them in the right direction, and keep them on track with their studies, which results in better test scores, better class grades, and ultimately in becoming a proficient doctor.

This is my role in the invention process for those inventors that have finally realized that they must take control of their invention. Along the inventing path, questions always come up, unexpected problems surface, confusing decisions need to be taken.

I'm an inventor's coach, a tutor, an advisor who helps inventors by working with them one-on-one, showing them the best strategies and approaches with their specific inventions, to fit their budget. Because I'm an impartial guide, I'm objective with my solutions. From the beginning stages of the inventing process, to the final signing of a deal, I have a wealth of information gathered throughout decades in this field, that provide inventors with many shortcuts, alternatives, and cost-saving techniques that they often don't know about. What I do is unique and supplements whatever inventors are doing with any other service provider they may be using. It doesn't replace or substitute any service, but enhances the ability of an inventor to go through the business of inventing.

Some examples of how I help through my consultation service is:

Personal introductions and referrals:

If I happen to have personal contacts that I know at a company related to the inventor's product, I provide an introduction and referral to the specific person who might be able to help or work with the inventor, or at least give him some valuable feedback. This could be a patent attorney, a prototype maker, a lawyer, an engineer, or even a famous inventor that I may know, etc.

Organizations and resources:

Or I may point them to an organization that offers the technical expertise that they need for their specific invention, an organization that they would never have thought of going to on their own.

Filling in missing pieces:

Very often, there are missing pieces that inventors have overlooked, and I help them backtrack and fill in these necessary parts.

Review and feedback on emails, letters and help writing letters:

I review email inquiries, or letters expressing interest or rejection from companies and give them my feedback on what to do next as well as guidance in drafting a reply letter which I'll also review and provide feedback on. I do this all the time with cyber-exhibitors who are on the cybershow.

Review and analyze licensing agreements:

I review and analyze licensing agent agreements and licensing agreements and provide recommendations for making sure it's beneficial to the inventor, not a lop-sided deal. I recently worked on a multi-million dollar licensing agreement for an inventor and his business attorney, that took about six months to work out. When I first got involved, the inventor was only getting stock in the company being formed and a job, but nothing for his invention. When it was done, he received over 2 million dollars for his invention, plus many other perks and benefits that he would not have gotten without my guidance.

Help focus and guide inventor:

If the inventor is going in a lot of different directions, I help them determine what they want to accomplish, and then help steer them in the right direction. Most of the time inventors are failing because they don't know what they want, and are doing the wrong things.

Suggestions for books, organizations, companies, etc.

Depending on where the inventor is at in the process, I provide direct resources and book recommendations that he needs. This may be an association, or a company, or person, etc.

Solutions for problems:

If an inventor is experiencing problems like in getting a patent issued, or making a prototype that works, I offers alternatives and solutions that very often solve the problem. With infringement problems, I put them in touch with contacts I have, or guide them on how to make sure they're protected.

Bottom line, the most successful athletes, business people, and professionals use the guidance and personal help from trainers, coaches, mentors, and advisors all the time, it's very common in the business and sports worlds.

As more inventors understand that they must be responsible for their invention's success, and take the approach of studying, learning, and getting my unique kind of guidance from in this intellectual property field, I believe that more and more inventions will begin to succeed in the marketplace. Hopefully, with the right mentoring, coaching, and guidance, you and your invention will fall into the category of successful inventor.

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Stephen Paul Gnass is founder of, Executive Director of the National Congress of Inventor Organizations [NCIO] and an inventors advocate. Mr. Gnass speaks on the subject of the "Business of Inventing" [tm] and has had his articles reprinted in various magazines. As Senior Consultant with the Gnass Group, he consults independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. He can be emailed at or visit www.businessofinventin


A SPECIAL NOTE: Complimentary Brainstorm:
If you're further along the path of inventing and are ready to launch your product, and need assistance in determining whether to license your idea or build a company around your invention, I'll be more then happy to offer you a Complimentary Brainstorm, no obligation. For a Complimentary Brainstorm, please be sure to include your phone number with area code and your time zone [continental U.S.] with the best times to call you back in your email. If you're in Canada or another country, email us for special instructions.
Sincerely Stephen Paul Gnass

P.S. I offer additional brainstorming as part of the cyber- exhibiting program. Or, if you have special projects or problems and you need some brainstorming, I also offer a-la- carte consulting sessions with a special rate for inventors.



Situations like these, that I describe in these articles, are snapshots at the time that I write them. Things may change, for example, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules or laws may change, etc. In addition to the constant research that we're doing, I would like to personally speak with anyone that has had a similar or related experience. Feel free to email me at and include the best time to get in touch with you.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal counsel or financial services. The information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge, and we are not liable for any omissions or incorrect information. It is the responsibility of the reader to verify any legal information with appropriate professionals. If you need specific legal assistance, we recommend that you contact an attorney or accountant.


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