Your Questions About Successful Trading Plans

Robert asks…

I have my patent and prototype what the next step?

It’s an electronic device everyone can use in their homes and is energy saving. There is a similar one on the market but mine has more options and easy to use, it should be about the same price in the stores.

Should I sell my rights to a company?

Get a lawyer?

Should I get it marketed?

Should I put it in a trade show?

How should I go about doing it?

I am not sure if I want to start my own business.
I am not looking to spend an arm and a leg.

Any suggestions?

John answers:

Your questions are complex. You have a number of options and there is no exact recipe for success. Each invention situation is different and there are many factors to consider. Some of the key factors that will play a role in determining the best plan for your invention are:

1. Nature of your invention (improvement, stand-alone product or technology platform)
2. Strength of your patent relative to existing patents
3. Scope of freedom to practice your invention (would you infringe existing patents)
4. Data needed to validate your concept
5. Applicable markets for your invention
6. Technical feasibility and development challenges
7. Regulatory requirements, if any, for sale
8. Competitive landscape

Evaluate all of the above for your device. You can consider a spectrum of opportunities from licensing or selling your invention at the outset to starting a company. This is obviously a complex process and it involves expertise in many areas that most people have not had a lot of exposure or education. Talking with industry experts and executives is probably the best way to craft a good strategy. I recommend getting several perspectives as it is more an art that a science. An industry CEO, seasoned marketing executive, successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and an experienced R&D engineer are a few examples of valuable but likely different perspectives on your best plan. These discussions may also provide a path to a licensing or sale discussion or the building of a startup team. Just remember, use a nondisclosure agreement until your patent application has published. If you have a strong background and expertise in the field, you may have a reasonable chance at getting investors and starting a company. If not, I would look to selling or licensing your patent to a company that is in the business. You probably don’t need a lawyer until you get have someone interested in a deal. The most important thing now would probably be a business advisor. Preferably, someone with knowledge of your market and the companies with similar devices.

Lizzie asks…

Why do people think that getting rich is something that happens to you?

To my way of thinking getting rich is a consequence of adding value as you pass through life but some many people are asking “how can I get rich?” like it’s right. They would ask “Where do I go to catch the No2 bus?” with the same detached ‘well someone else managed it so if I ask them where to stand it’ll happen to me too’ manner.

Sure you can model the behaviours of successful people but you have to do it with passion, a plan and determination.

Am I wrong? Am I so out of touch with life to hold this view? I am genuinely interested to know what people think when they look at a rich person.
What I’m driving at is that it’s a process not a discreet event. You work towards it without ever getting there bt you become wealthy along the way. No-one just wakes up rich and stays that way for long.

John answers:

You are correct in your thinking.
The people who ask “how can I get rich”, are the ones that buy get rich quick TV infomercials for real estate, stock trading, etc,etc.
If only 1 million of 250 million people buy the scheme for $49.99, the only one getting rich is the infomercial guy who makes $50 million selling some fools todays version of snake oils.

Charles asks…

Any tips for having a successful yardsale ?

I’ve had some before and I have a lot of stuff but how to draw people in more or how do I get all my stuff bought? Any tips or suggestions??

Thank you!

John answers:

Plan 2. In the first, put in a sleeper. You know, a Rembrandt or Jackson Pollock worth about $25K that you let go for 50 cents.
Then, once it hits the local 6 o’clock news, and it becomes known that you are having a second one the following weekend, you’ll be swamped.
Seriously, do not include anything that has any real value. Those items are best sold in an auction, or through kijiji, where you can expect to get a good price from a knowledgeable buyer. What is the aim of a yard sale, to trade in collectibles, or clear out the junk?
Basically, put only stuff out that you would otherwise dump in the river or donate to charity.
Yard sale buyers are looking for desperate, unknowing sellers, and will try to swindle you. Anything that you get is gravy; haul the unsold to the dump or charity.

Steven asks…

Small businesses – the best return advertising for least money?

What have been some of your most successful advertising campaigns for small businesses – I’m a painter and decorator and am just setting out so I have VERY little money to outlay. I am going to do the local paper and am in Yellow Pages, but what about websites or similar that people have used? All advice welcomed.

John answers:

Use advertising effectively by planning it well.
For most service trades, leaflet distribution is great.
There is a company called goodtime printing, I think they are in Kent, but they do an excellent price on leaflets.
You should print around 20,000 leaflets one colour on white.
You should distribute 1000 leaflets a day, for best results 1 per door, folded once with the writing on the outside.
The top should have your name in large letters, the bottom should have in bold a special offer, say 10% discount with this leaflet.
Put as many as possible out before 10am. (it can take 6 hours to put 1000, early morning, around 4 hours)
People like to see eagerness.

Also, stick a map on your wall. Select areas to target.
Spend a week covering area 1, then move on to area 2.
Keep a track of your responses. Some areas will prefer a different style leaflet to others, and keeping a record will help with further campaigns. Repeat areas every 4 weeks. People become familiar with a name.
You will find, eventually that you will get a standard success rate. Say 2 or even 4 jobs per 1000. I think with decorating it can be as high as six. But these are actual jobs. And you know when you need more work, this strategy is going to work.
Your first few drops, even for two or three weeks may give a very poor response, as you are a new name, but once it starts, it starts.
Leaflet distribution is cheap and effective.
Other points to remember. Always put your address on the leaflet, and always mention free estimates.
Need any more help with that, email me.

Richard asks…

Is pet grooming a practical trade these days?

I am considering going to school for this. Will it be lucrative? I love animals and have worked with them for years.

John answers:

I live in UK, and yes the dog/cat grooming business has been lucrative. Partically good for people who show and who have little time to take their animal to a parlour. You go with all your supplies to the customer in your van and groom the animal in the back or wherever requested by the client. The stress reduction to all concerned has made this a very successful venture. Unfortunately with the recession this could be one area where people are cutting back.

I had a friend with two Newfoundland Dogs that were charged about £25 each for a wash and brush up with this type of service. You would need to do some research as to how much the business would cost to set up. Following through on courses and legislation and insurance. Get to know pet stores, Kennel club, and show organizations and pedigree breeders to name a few and see the interest. You could investigate contacting a large chain of pet stores to enquire using an area in their store. Draw up a business plan and keep in mind if it works the possibility of franchising to other stores. Have a good think about any other commitments you may have before you start. This may not be something you can do part time at least to begin with. There could be a lot of rewarding hard work though!:)

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