A wise philosopher once said that ideas are like butterflies; they land on many flowers. Your perception of the butterfly will always be unique. That’s why an idea generator like you should never use “someone else might come up with this concept” as an excuse for not pursuing the sale or licensing of your idea. If you’ve seen your butterfly and conceived an original idea that saves time, money or effort, it deserves a place in the sun. Of course, coming up with the idea is the easy part. Finding a company interested in buying or licensing your ingenious concept can be difficult, but here’s a secret: Your determination and willingness to follow suggestions in this article can get you and your idea in front of the right people. As long as most of the world supports a market-based economy, new ideas will always be welcome. Make that your mantra and you’ll be on the road to success.
How to market a business idea classified as a concept
Create a report, white paper or other highly detailed document that specifically outlines your idea, detail-by-detail. The well-written report will include a one-page summary for skimmers, a table of contents, introduction, fundamental principles of the concept, visual material, pros and cons and, if appropriate, a bibliography of material you used to lay the groundwork for your idea.
Prepare a professional presentation using a features and benefits approach. Features are unique properties (e.g., the idea, cheap to implement). Benefits cover emotional selling points (This idea saves mom time; it gets you thin; protects you from harm).
Research companies that would be likely to welcome your idea. Track down people in the development or marketing department. Not every company funnels its ideas through a specific division, so you may have to spend time going from person to person until you find the appropriate one.
Make an appointment to discuss your concept with one or more people. Avoid giving away too much detail beforehand. Your letter/fax/e-mail should be succinct and professional: You have come up with an idea that will revolutionize the way business is done and believe they are the perfect company to implement it. Ask to meet in person to discuss the idea. Once the date is booked, send a confirming note.
Bring nondisclosure forms to the meeting to protect your concept from idea theft. Use audio visual aids, if appropriate, to tell your story. Slides, PowerPoint presentations and actual demonstrations detailing the idea are typical methods used by frequent presenters. Keep your presentation to half an hour. If those in attendance have the time and interest, they will let you know. Be prepared to leave without a deal since attendees must present proposals to their bosses. Thank everyone for his or her time.
How to market a business idea classified as a product
Prepare a workup of your product. Estimate the per-unit manufacturing cost to establish a baseline. List specifications and describe the workings of the item. Cover all bases to be certain your idea can’t be challenged when you pitch it to potential buyers.
Protect your concept by filing for a trademark or patent. Be aware of the fact that applying for a copyright won’t protect you; ideas can’t be copyrighted. Find an Internet resource for do-it-yourself trademark and patent help in the Resources section of this article.
Don’t spend money on packaging. If the company buys your idea, they will package it. You will only have to deal with packaging issues if you can’t find a buyer for the concept and decide to fabricate and manufacture it yourself.
Prepare a professional presentation using a features and benefits approach. Features are unique properties (e.g., the item is inexpensive to make. Benefits cover emotional selling points (This idea saves mom time; gets you thin; protects you from harm).
Make appointments with appropriate companies. Avoid giving away idea details when you approach your first contact by phone or e-mail. Instead, tell them that you have conceived a new item that will revolutionize the way business is conducted. Convince them of your belief that they are the perfect company to market it. Ask to meet in person to discuss the idea. Once the date is booked, send a confirming note.
Bring nondisclosure forms to the meeting to protect your product from idea theft. Make the presentation and answer questions. Pass around samples; plan to leave them behind if asked to do so. Use the features and benefits sheet you compiled to convince attendees why they should consider your idea and employ such AV aids as slide and PowerPoint presentations during your presentation, which should last around half an hour if you have rehearsed and timed it efficiently. At the conclusion of the meeting, advise your corporate contact that you’ll come by to pick up your samples at an agreed-to date.