Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Refining how to get the Incubator working

There is a famous American Baseball movie that touts the phrase “if you build it, they will come…” well frankly, getting the Incubator going is resisting our efforts to make it really go fast.
It has received a lot of interest from inventors especially the brave hearts who were on the Inventor Roadshow with us but it is obvious that something more is needed to get things heating up.
So this blog is opening up the idea of a “Hatchery”. A special process for those that want to avail themselves of a service where I am prepared to volunteer my time to help with strategic advice pro bono as long as the project founders are willing to invest a little money in covering the time of the professionals I want to use to help hold your hand through the process.
This enables me to help lots of people and keep the costs to a minimum by using business helpers that are relatively cheap but can help you implement the advice I share with you and are familiar with the process.
The steps are fairly straight forward but specifically designed to help you build momentum towards getting your project rolling along or bringing it to a point relatively cheaply where you can make a decision about whether or not it is feasible to continue…. the idea being is that we try every avenue to help you succeed but if we find a real deal breaker that it is better for you to know sooner rather than later.
So here goes the process… and its based on my own experience.
  1. Concept fully devised.
  2. At least a provisional patent in place and properly packaged for investors and customers to look at when needed.
  3. A provable prototype that is also snazzy and valuable for the next step.
  4. Media. Get some strategic publicity with valuable pushback/ feedback that will be valuable in the next few steps
  5. Build a business plan that aims at an exact/ specific outcome, that investors and incoming professionals can believe in.
  6. Find a candidate to make the plan happen, either with or for the founders.
  7. Help the resulting team connected to investors.
Most of the people I have worked with over time have a lot of the basics for what is needed above so the process may only take a few months to get going, others maybe longer but at a minimum I think you need to budget on 10-15 hours of professional help to break the back of the process with me coaching the process.
As I have done in the past with patent advice my time is pro bono, but you should budget at least $75 per hour for a business professional to hold your hand through the process.
To give you an idea for most of the people I have helped so far Im pretty sure that in less than 15 hours we could make sure your IP is safe (this process assumes you already have at a least a provisional patent in place), show you how to reconfigure your prototype to make is really useable for business development and publicity, advice and coordinate some basic publicity for you that is designed to help build momentum to writing a simple, basic but solid and realistic business plan.
Then we put your project out there to fish for professionals and investors to make the plan happen.
Tell us what you think of the idea.

Tip for filing trademarks overseas

Just a little idea I have used but have not shared with you is how to file Trademarks with overseas trademark offices such as the USPTO.

One of the biggest issues is working out what categories to file your trademark in. Its all pretty confusing, however I use this simple trick. When I search for the appropriate category I just look for trademarks of products in your same space or even your competitors trademarks to see what categories they have registered in… its pretty easy to search and it can help you make sense of that countries category labelling system.