SUCCESS FOR SALE...
© By Stephen Paul Gnass
CAN INVENTORS BUY SUCCESS FOR THEIR INVENTION?
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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ABOUT STEPHEN GNASS:
Stephen Paul Gnass is founder of InventionConvention.com,
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.businessofinventin
A SPECIAL NOTE: Complimentary
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
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
email@example.com 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
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need specific legal assistance, we recommend that you contact
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