Licensing: Don’t Go It Alone

August 9, 2016

 

For both beginner and veteran inventors alike, the ultimate goal is often to license their product. Having conceived a brilliant, unique idea, the next logical step is to find a licensee to handle the manufacturing, packaging, distribution, commercial shoot, and ultimately the product roll-out. This is particularly true of inventors who don’t have the time or money to invest in growing the product on their own. Licensing can be tremendously rewarding, paying off quite lucratively for those products lucky enough to get noticed. It is also, however, an extremely arduous process, demanding a blend of strategy, aggressiveness, and patience. After all, licensing companies are investing millions of dollars in any product they choose to sign, so they must be very selective in that choice. They see hundreds of submissions a week, most of which are poorly-presented, and so are usually rather hardened against any idea that doesn’t instantly stand out as a perfect fit. Unfortunately, many inventors feel they can save money by presenting their ideas to licensees solo. This road has proven rocky, and often impassable. The influx of submissions is so great that generally licensees don’t even accept submissions from individual inventors, and rely solely on referrals for their new products, or companies they know and trust. Most of our clients come to us having tried unsuccessfully to pitch their ideas on their own, and have grown disillusioned with the process. We remind them that their failures probably have nothing to do with their ideas, but with the manner in which they were prepared and pitched. 
               

Prior to presenting to a licensee, we take a comprehensive look at the product and ensure it has everything it needs: a working prototype, a social media presence, informative blog posts, pictures, a sizzle reel, etc. We spend an extensive amount of time prepping our products for presentation, so when licensing companies do see them, they stand out from the rest. Even the savviest inventors, however, who might be able to assemble a professional-looking presentation, often make the common mistake of pitching without truly knowing who they’re pitching to. It’s essential to identify the licensees who are the best fit for a product, who represent products in the appropriate category, and who are actively looking for new ideas. Much of this depends on ever-changing market trends, which are difficult for inventors—who are not involved in the industry on an everyday basis—to keep track of. Lightning Launch keeps its finger on the pulse of the market, so our pitches are always calculated, and directed at the right companies. 
                  

Another licensing mistake we frequently see is a misplaced trust in Inventor classes or coaches. Inventors sign up for one-on-one coaching, or weekly classes/Skype sessions, wherein they are advised by “experts” on how to bring their product to market. They are told that this coaching will ultimately save them money, yet coaches charge upwards of $2-3,000 for their “services”, and provide no hands-on assistance with sales materials, presentation prep, or pitching. A reputable invention company could provide those services in an efficient, hands-on manner for half the cost.

 

Unfortunately, many inventors are wary to take this step, as they’ve been told in vague terms: “never pay money to an invention company.” Often, it’s the coaches themselves who give this advice! We hear it all the time and joke about it with our current clients, who have experience trying to tackle the process alone and understand how difficult it is. They understand that, despite what inventor coaches and classes might tell you, there is no fast track to licensing. They realize that only though intensive, hands-on collaboration with industry professionals is a licensing deal realistically in their sights. They understand that with Lightning Launch, they’re getting what they pay for.

 

 

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