8 Kinds of Prototypes and When to Use Them

  • By Carrie Jeske
  • 27 Oct, 2015
In the early stages, inventors need to save money and prove the invention concept in the fastest amount of time with the least amount of cost.   Understanding the 8 kinds of prototypes and knowing when to use them can save a lot of time and money.   Here is my recommendation.
Use through the VALIDATION / EVALUATION Phase

1)   Proof of Concept
Use existing materials, parts and components to prove the new idea works or not and make reasonable assumptions about how much the invention will cost to make, based on similar materials being sold in other products.    This step DOES NOT have to be in tangible form.   You can easily look around in stores and compare the cost of similar materials, used in other products.   You can make assumptions based on the retail price points and gain insight on which materials might work best for your concept.

2)   Inventor Mock up   (Perfect for As Seen on TV Submissions).   Click here for info on How To Submit Product Concepts for ASOTV.
A rough construction using crude materials such as cardboard, foam, paper or wood typically done to show the idea in 3D form.   You can jiffy rig pieces and parts together to demonstrate the product so you can show it to potential partners.   The main goal here is to be able to explain the features and benefits to trusted people who can offer you feedback.   You can make a home made video demo showing your product in action and

3)  Virtual Prototype   (Perfect for developing Sell Sheets before spending money on inventory)
3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) rendering.   These can be fancy and detailed done in a CAD program for greater detail or simple and arty, making the product look astatically pleasing on a graphic sell sheet.   Using a graphically created photo is a great way to test the concept, validate the market need and gain support from team members, investors and license partners is fantastic.   It’s so important to determine the features and benefits of the product.
Use through the BUSINESS PLANNING Phase

4)  Model  
A form built and painted for aesthetic appearance only

5)  Working Prototype
A fully functioning item yet may not be fully designed & engineered for manufacturability, nor it may not be appearance like.

6) Black Box Prototype
An existing enclosure or box  with mechanical, electrical, optical and or software internals fully functioning.
Use through the PROTOTYPES & PATENTS Phase

7)  Rapid Prototype
A group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a part or assembly using three dimensional CAD data.
Use through MANUFACTURING phase

8)  Pre-Production Prototype
A prototype provided by the manufacture prier to full production.   Done to insure quality, concept, and functionality.

Thanks to my friend Steve Pope, at R2FACT Product Development for his contribution to this post.

By Carrie Jeske

By Drew Hellige 10 Aug, 2017
Pitch Your Product Idea to Carrie Jeske on Aug. 14th in New Orleans for the shelves of Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Bed/Bath and more. Carrie Jeske reviews products that are tested and sold on TV, with expanded distribution to retail, selling millions of units per year. 

The product criteria is narrow: 1) Physically Small 2) Mass Market Target - Women aged 40 - 80, Tweens or Kids age 5-13 yrs.  3) Unique & Visually interesting demo.

You could have the next BIG winner. Sign up now! 

To Register for a pitch time, pay $20 using this link. Carrie will email or text you to confirm a time/location.
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=QLXLBCHUV54EU  

Stay tuned for more dates and more cities!



To Purchase Carrie Jeske's book on Amazon in audio, paper or ebook click: 
https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Crowdfunding-Products-Kickstarter-Indiegogo/dp/1520786557/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501263485&sr=1-1&keywords=sell+crowdfunding+products  

If you need an NDA, please print, sign and bring for Carrie Jeske. She only signs her own paperwork.
http://inventiveideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NDA-Inventive-Ideas-Inventor-2016.pdf  

Co-Invent & Learn Our Process Via Live Video
Join the Inventing Workshop Online.   www.InventingWorkshop.com  A nonprofit I support. Use coupon code “Inventing” for 50% off.  


By Drew Hellige 15 Jun, 2017
Listen to Carrie Jeske and Inventor's Launch Pad discuss how you can take your product from idea to market ready.  As an As Seen On TV product agent Carrie is always looking for the next big thing.  Hear the whole conversation below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BImHHvl7j9g&t=6s

Carrie Jeske has taken products through the stages of patent to market ready; appearing on QVC and securing sales in catalogs such as Solutions and AutoSport, in big box stores including Sam’s Club and Costco, and licensing agreements with Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Coors Lite. Her talks are candid, funny and filled with practical, action oriented instruction and inspiration. Carrie will speak on: • How To Earn $330,000 Inventing Products for TV or $27,500 in Finder’s Fees • Licensing Gotchas – The Art, Science and Terms of Agreements. Carries experience spans 30 years in sales and executive management with a history of growing individuals and organizations to higher levels of productivity and purpose. She is a direct licensee for the “As Seen on TV” category with Will It Launch, LLC and has a team of licensing agents who work on non-TV category products with granted patents, through Inventive Ideas, Inc, a company she co-founded with her husband of 28 years in 2000. 
www.willitlaunch.com  

The Inventors Launchpad – Roadmap to Success Series is presented by Inventors Launchpad in beautiful Tampa Bay, FL and hosted by Carmine Denisco. Carmine is an accomplished Author, Entrepreneur, Inventor and Co-founder/Managing Partner of Inventors Launchpad. Along with his business partner Rick Valderrama has changed the face of the invention industry and look forward to helping inventors from all over the world move their ideas forward. For more information please visit  www.inventorslaunchpad.com
By Drew Hellige 05 Jun, 2017

Meet Carrie Jeske on June 10 at 9:30 am in Chicago, IL. Carrie shares insider secrets to get ideas on the As Seen on TV shelf space at Walmart and everywhere.

Carrie Jeske is a direct licensee in the Direct Response industry, paying full inventor royalties, through  Will It Launch . No patent is required. You just need a simple hand-made prototype to explain the unique benefits and problem solved by your invention. Market ready products launch at lightning speed.  Products in stores now are Get Up And Go Cane, RotoClipper, and My Fun Fish.

Carrie’s connections in other distribution channels is vast. Through  Inventive Ideas , Carrie Jeske manages a team of licensing agents that work to secure distribution agreements and license filed patents. Successful products include SportsShade Canopy Awning, The Perfect Party Chair and Attach-A-Vac.

Prepare in advance by reading Carrie Jeske’s new book, “ Create New Products As Seen On TV ” on Amazon.  Online reviews appreciated.

Carrie Jeske is active on these social networks:   FACEBOOK       LINKEDIN         YOUTUBE       TWITTER

By Carrie Jeske 02 May, 2017

What’s a Morel Mushroom?

Morels are prized by gourmet cooks, particularly in French cuisine. However, in the United States, they are preferred fried. Due to difficulties in cultivation, commercial harvesting of wild morels has become a multimillion-dollar industry in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, in particular North America, Turkey, China, the Himalayas, India, and Pakistan, where these highly prized fungi are found in abundance.   They sell online and at Farmers Markets for about $40 per small carton in Kansas City.   Scientists have not discovered a mass production method for growing morels so finding them wild can be a goldmine.   Morchella , the true morels , is a genus of edible sac fungi. These distinctive fungi have a honeycomb appearance, due to the network of ridges with pits composing their cap.

 

In Kansas City, the morels spring up only for two weeks sometime in April or May. Hunting morels is an art and a science. Morel hunters are highly protective of their sources and methods though YouTube is a helpful place to get started.   Stewart and Carrie Jeske are avid hunters with many patches secretly known only to GPS, on public lands.   They consider hunting a fun personal adventure so won’t take money for morels.   Instead, their friends and family are often blessed with “a mess of morels” as a surprise. They’ve been known to ship overnight when the situation requires it!


By Carrie Jeske 02 May, 2017
Carrie Jeske reviews products and explains how inventors can sell product ideas and concepts without a patent. A well made prototype and smartphone demo video is all that's needed.  See your ideas on the As Seen On TV shelf space of Walmart.

Get the full event details at this link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1043133019150668/

Carrie Jeske joins forces with Lee Langerock, EDFP Executive Director, the Ennovation Center. The Independence Regional Ennovation Center is a mixed use business incubator which focuses on three core areas for the development of new businesses.....bio-tech, kitchen, and business & technology.

Located in Independence, Missouri, the Ennovation Center provides the necessary facilities and support services to launch successful   start up businesses in a collaborative environment which fosters entrepreneurs.    

Take your idea from concept to commercialization at the Ennovation Center     http://www.ennovationcenter.com/  

Learn more about Carrie and "As Seen On TV"
www.WillItLaunch.com
www.InventiveIdeas.com
By Carrie Jeske 20 Apr, 2017

The goal is low cost, high return inventing sequence. The As Seen On TV (ASOTV) industry is always the fastest, most financially rewarding option, when consumers respond. If ASOTV won’t fly (meaning no one will fully fund your idea and you can’t afford to partially fund the market viability test partnership or your product did test and failed). you need to step back and consider your other options.  Maybe it doesn’t meet the narrow criteria of ASOTV at all?

Inside the As Seen On TV category, patents are not required, but in slower moving. niche distribution channels, they are critical.

As with any service need, you can Do It Yourself (DIY) or hire a professional.    It’s all a choice between time, quality and money.   Below is the sequence I recommend.   The most common mis-step I see inventors make is moving to Step 5 before 1-4 are complete.  This is a mistake since filing a provisional starts a 12 month clock that runs fast.   Negotiating licensing agreements takes time. so completing steps 1-4 first, maximizes your investment of money and time.

Whether your product is selected by our licensing agents and you hire Inventive Ideas or you decide to Do It Yourself. here are the next steps I recommend.   Inventive Ideas does not file patents so you will need to DIY or hire an attorney you can understand for that step.   

Here’s what needs to be done.

  1. Step Back and Research

    1. Consider “Why” ASOTV passed.   Is your product still viable in niche markets or simply not viable at all?
    2. Evaluate competition dominance.   Do you have a better chance in niche markets?  
    3. Identify the niche markets.  It’s easier to get to selected groups and target companies then ever before.
  2. Collect Data

    1. Find similar products being sold and gather manufacture name.  You can find it right on the packaging, online or at the public library.
    2. Develop a spreadsheet contact list of Top 5-10 manufactures.  Not retailers.   Retailers don’t normally license product.  You need to drill down to the manufacture name.   Look on the store shelves at the product packaging.  The manufactures names/brands are listed.  That is your target prospect for licnesing.  Make a list.
  3. Gather Information

    1. Call the phone numbers or post online and ask if the company accepts outside new patent product ideas.   If no, cross them off your list and move on.  If yes, get the correct spelling of the person’s name, their direct extension, and email.   This isn’t easy but it’s possible.  Ask them about the kind of products they are looking for and gather information about the evaluation process.  Build a relationship. (You haven’t shown them your idea yet.  You’re simply making an introduction.)    What you really want, is the contact information.  It doesn’t matter if you speak to them or not at this step.   Get complete contact info.
  4. Produce Marketing Materials of Concept Prototype

    1. Single Sell Sheet in pdf or short demo video hosted on Youtube in “unlisted” setting works best.   I’m not a fan of animations, unless the product is too complex to prototype.  If you spoke with a live person and have an email, move fast.    Make your own Demo Video  or hire Fiverr.com to make a marketing flyer.  
    2. The better you make your prototype look, the more interest you’ll get.   Balance time and money costs.   For more information, see Kinds Of Prototypes and When To Use Them .
  5. File Provisional Patent.

    1. DIY or hire a pro.  Use Legal Zoom for $250 or find an attorney for $1,200 – $5,000.    Remember, filing a provisional patent starts the clock so be ready to roll by making sure steps 1-4 are done BEFORE you file.   The moment you file, the clock is ticking so start hot and begin step 5 within the first hour of having a filing number.    You have 12 months to move forward with a utility patent (3 years and $10-$20,000).   Use your time wisely to evaluate licensing potential and viability.   Waiting to file till steps 1-4 are done allows you to start hot.
  6. Prospect & Gain Feedback.  

    1.  Use Telephone, Email, Online.   Connect on LinkedIn or other social networks.   Be persistent.    Call, mail, call, write, submit, till you get some interest.    Give Permission for negative feedback. You need to hear what’s tested and failed on their side.   Companies have access to insider information not found on the public domain.   If they tested similar products that failed, no patent was filed so it won’t show up in USPTO records or on Amazon, since the product was not manufactured.   Knowing this can save you thousands of dollars and years of time.
  7.  Secure Interest &

    1. If they’re interested, they have questions.   This is the step when  Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’) get signed, after the call. They want to know more about your product & patent protection.  You want to know more about their company, distribution channel, existing product sales and reason for their interest in this item.    Getting an NDA protects you from them making modifications to your design and leaving you behind.    The time to ask for this is at the end of the call, not before.
  8. Set Up An Conference Call. Carrie Jeske Optional.

    1. This is the time to get Carrie Jeske involved.   Depending on how much time and effort it takes, Carrie Jeske will lead the call and work to close a licnesing agreement for you.   Carrie Jeske will provide a Licensing Agent Agreement to you and agree to a fair royalty split. She’ll fund her expenses, you fund yours.  At this point, there usually aren’t any.  She’s investing her experience, legal agreement templates, value added extras and win-win business model.
    2. Confirm with the Prospect a conference call for any Monday, Wednesday or Friday.   These are high value calls so Carrie Jeske will make them a priority.    Send an email to the Prospect and Carrie Jeske and Carrie Jeske will reply with a Conference Call Call In number that we can use, if you don’t have one yourself.    Carrie Jeske will contact you for a PRE-CALL planning conference call to insure the Goal, Scope and Information Given is understood.   She’ll run the call and you listen in.
    3. GOALS:   1) Identify their Licensing Process. 2) Confirm Nature of Initial Interest.  3) Build Rapport.   4) Confirm Next Steps – sign NDA, send sample, schedule follow up.
  9.  Conference Call De-Brief.

    1. Carrie Jeske and you will discuss how the call went and work on next steps.   Normally, the NDA is completed, samples are sent and next steps confirmed.   Carrie Jeske will lead the remaining steps to signed licensing agreement, audits and royalty payments.
  10.  Receive Mailbox Money.

    1. You’ll receive “mailbox money” every quarter, once your product hits retail sales.Whatever you decide, knowing when to press forward and when to cut bait is an important and intuitive choice.

When making calls, if all you hear is “No Thank You” or crickets, find a place of peace, consult with those closest to you. whom you trust, and make changes to press onward or drop it and move on to your next idea.

Inventing is a gamble for individuals and companies.  Never invest more then you can afford to lose and never make financial decisions out of desperation or fear. 

Cautious Optimistic Hope is your friend.

See you on the shelves!

Carrie Jeske

By Carrie Jeske 06 Apr, 2017

We live in a fast moving, quick changing world.  The opportunity for independent inventors has never been greater. The risks never more crippling.   Be smart when launching new product ideas.  Beating knock-offs can be a dirty business or a magical mystery tour.  Here are my tips on the latter (while taking a dip in the former.)

1) Stay Pure

Use private submissions till you’re ready to go public.   The public domain can generate consumer interest, but it comes at the price of increased market competition.   Don’t take your product idea public too soon.    

Many manufactures in every category including As Seen on TV need time to test the product before investing capital.  In TV, it’s about surveys, web tests and 2-minute TV commercials. Getting a positive result with a strong marketing message takes time.

Stay pure. Find a partner you trust and gather inside feedback to make your pitch and product the strongest it can be.   Leverage industry insiders by giving permission for candid feedback.  Consider negative feedback or you may be dismissing important product and market competition information. If opportunity arises, sign a licensing agreement BEFORE going public. It’s likely the direct licensee can capitalize on the head start so everyone makes more money.

Improve the prototype, product pitch and demo video so when you do go public, you’re putting your best foot forward.  Stay pure, till you’re seriously ready for something more. When you’re in position, put your best effort into going viral. Try crowdfunding.

With 60 Second Salad, the inventors gave WIL the opportunity to complete the testing cycle before going public.  We had an early advantage over competitors. Even so, within weeks of the viral video, Asian knock-offs began flooding Amazon and my email.

2) Marry A King

Once you go public, you’ll get suitors or hear crickets. If a billion-dollar company comes calling, get hitched if they are willing. Be charming, smart and marry for the money!   After all, this is business. You’re not having human babies together.  The King controls the distribution channel and has the power, time, money, connections and experience needed to make your product a financial success. Let them do it.  

Don’t make the mistake of telling a King how to run a business or spend money. Just say “Thank you” and collect a royalty check in the mail then live a happy life, in community with friends and family.

The alternative; become a competitor and battle in the open consumer market. Call it a knock off, a follower, or capitalism. Either way, it’s coming.

A Speedy Wedding  

Be fast and first. A big company with current products already on store shelves has a fine tuned operational infrastructure humming like a sailor on shore leave.  They want more products!  They move fast. Don’t over haggle or delay the prenuptial or they’ll tire with you and move on to another or leave you at the altar. A business marriage is not a lifelong commitment.  It’s a term agreement to make money together. Don’t confuse the two. Make money.

Bring Protection      

Patents

Having a fully granted utility patent is helpful, but only in the hands of a large experienced company. Most independent inventors cannot afford the legal fees to enforce their patent.

Fighting legal battles is what attorneys are trained for.  Don’t be naive.  Knowing how long to draw out a court case, when to settle, and how to leverage product sales to the last penny is a strategy.  An inventors best bet, is to have their patent protected by a direct licensee, large funding source or pro bono legal firm.

Funding

If you’re determined to do it yourself, make sure you have the funding in place to handle large purchase orders.  Start with equity partners, factoring or investor notes then move to credit lines with caution. I strongly discourage credit card debt or high interest business loans.      

Partners

Connecting with the right partner is one of the single most important decisions an inventor can make. Working with someone you trust, who has your back can avoid many pitfalls.  There are no guarantees with product inventing, but feeling good about the people you work with… priceless.

With 60 Second Salad, WIL secured a billion-dollar partner to handle the operational rollout. They took our testing data and ramped up product development and lined up retail buyers in under three months. That’s the power of a King.

3) Flirt with Social Networking, Online Selling, Crowdfunding

If there are no wedding plans, play your own game. But keep an eye out for suiters to avoid being knocked off.

Remarketing

Use remarketing campaigns through Google AdWords and fall in love with social networking. Paying for clicks or sales isn’t easy or cheap but there are low cost strategies that gain market awareness. If you don’t have big bucks, it costs TIME and SKILL.   There are many free preview training programs that will share one to three good ideas for free, in hopes of selling the program.  Before you buy, try DOING the three free steps.  Too often, inventor entrepreneurs focus on the “knowing” rather than the “doing”.  Both are important, but before I’d pay for a program, I’d see if I could implement a few suggestions for free.   Take the free classes, learn, and do. See what works.  The secret is testing to determine your target market.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketers choose the products they want to sell. Sellers provide a unique affiliate code that is used to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready-made text links, banners, and other forms of creative copy.  Affiliates simply copy the code and place it on their website to start referring traffic. Interested visitors click on these links, are redirected to the product site, and if a product purchase is made the referrer makes a commission.

This was a boom in the 1990’s and can still be a fantastic strategy.  Today, inventor entrepreneurs must wade through the mass of internet service providers and affiliate marketing programs.  I don't have all the answers, but if I were investing in a product with this as a strategy I’d require an credible expert on the launch team.

Direct Sales

A no brainer. Your margins are better, but you still must market the site and fund inventory.

Crowdfunding

Get funded and go viral. Be noticed. Just remember; a marriage to the King is still the best end game.

4)   Know Who You Are

If you’re on your own or seeking a partner, know who you are, but let the product lead. The jockey and the horse work together to win the race, but quality horses are harder to develop then good jockey’s.  Leverage what you’ve got.

·     Friendly – great customer service. Excellent return policies.

·     Giving – donations to causes. Affiliation with those causes.

·     Caring – environmentally conscious materials?  Does this matter to your target market?

5)    Do It Better

Ultimately, it’s the product that will stand on its own. Focus on:

·     Uniqueness – Think about product design and problem / solutions consumers will pay for. Think soberly on the truth and integrity of this requirement. Is your product solid or are you making a mountain out of a mole hill?

·     Marketing - Develop legendary branding. Put together a well thought out marketing pitch that is compelling to your target. Be the purple cow.

·     Diversity - Create many product lines. Consider adding accessories and product extensions to broaden the value of your offer. Most knock-offs won’t go the extra mile. Always count the cost.

·     Trademarks - Unlike patents, trademarks are harder to get around. If you have a clever name or brand that the direct licensee values or that the market knows, this could be important.  If not, it’s not. Spend wisely.

·     Value - Price competitively. Is there a strong value proposition?  Today’s consumers have many options for spending money. Is your value clear?

·     Quality - Make the best quality at the lowest possible price to consumers and highest profit margin for you.

With 60 Second Salad, the viral testing video and crowdfunding campaign used a white prototype.  The final rollout product is red, a part of an existing product line, and comes with a bonus knife for added value.

6)    Two Is Better than One

Sometimes it’s best to knock yourself off.  There are a couple of good strategies here.

Different Distribution Channels

With some products, the best of both worlds is possible.  License one version of your product to one market, then make and sell to build a business in another market segment.   Two is better than one.  Get a big company working on a version of your product that works for them and keep on your own path to marketing.  Double dipping with a partner reduces risk for the inventor entrepreneur.

Do this yourself if you can fund the manufacturing and distribution. Working multiple channels where the market pulls product, rather than pushing it up the hill is the way to go.

Different Price Points and Feature/Benefits

Some experts claim covering three price points with a mix of feature/benefit works to keep the big companies at bay.  Try low, medium, high price prices, giving consumers a wide array of choices that all say “Buy Me”.  The risk is too much inventory and higher operational costs.

7)  Love the Masses or Know Your Place

Think soberly. Is the product a mass market consumer item or a niche?  There’s nothing wrong with niche products. In fact, it’s easier to sell niche products on your own sometimes because it takes less money to reach a select group of customers.  Is your product more geared to people who love biking? Is it sports related or fishing?  

Finding the right customer is like having 12 ponds to fish in.  You must figure out what pond has fish and then understand what bait they bite on before you run out of time and money.  The faster you find your target, the more sales.

Mass market products are at greater threat because big companies have greater need for products and more resources to produce them.  They sell more and make more, which by default means greater market competition for dollars.  

Niche products can fly under the radar and become nice lifestyle businesses for inventor entrepreneurs.  The risk of knock offs is much lower with a niche product.

Conclusion

In my way of thinking, making money on a new product idea is the goal.   Avoiding knock offs is an important key toward that end.  I trust these steps will help inventor entrepreneurs make wise decisions, find high quality partners, service providers and direct licensees.   There are a lot of good people in the inventor community and a few scoundrels.  

I hope we can work together on the next big retail rollout.  It is my singular business focus. Please:

1)  Give me "First Look"  on "As Seen On TV" product ideas. Submit to carrie@WillitLaunch.com

2)  Join my  Product Scou t  team.

3)  Participate online  in video Co- Inventing Workshops .

See you on the shelves!

Carrie Jeske

PS - Carrie Jeske has been happily married for 30 years to her Jr. High School sweetheart. They travel extensively but reside in Kansas City.

 

   

 

 

By Drew Hellige 05 Apr, 2017
 On Friday, April 7, 2017 Northwest Missouri State University is hosting the 5th Annual Venture Pitch Competition.  Highschool students, college students and community members will present their new business and product ideas before a panel of judges.  Will It Launch is sponsoring the competition and Carrie Jeske will serve on the judges panel. 

Prizes for the winning teams include cash funding and in-kind services to assist in the pursuit of their new venture. Total purse of cash and in-kind is $80,000.

 

The primary goals of this event are to:

  • Provide students the opportunity to present their ideas to members of the business community, including professionals, small business owners and seasoned investors.

• Provide additional entrepreneurial resources to the community and increase their awareness of various aspects of entrepreneurship at Northwest.

  • Provide the community the opportunity to see what businesses are developing in the community and possibly provide future connections that can help all parties involved.

  • Provide help to individuals involved in all aspects of small business and entrepreneurship to make business connections. (These connections can range from investors connecting with entrepreneurs with an idea they wish to invest in to current small business owners connecting with professionals that can fulfill an important need or a new business idea.)

 

 For more information on this event, please visit the Venture Pitch Competition web page here .  If you're interested in submitting your own ideas directly to Will It Launch please visit our Submit Invention page here .





By Carrie Jeske 29 Mar, 2017

The Will It Launch video for 60-Second Salad is going viral as I write.     In just months 60 Second Salad will be launched at trade shows.   Buyers are already placing pre-orders and expectations are high.  Still, the product must perform well at retail.   

However, the correlation between viral videos and “As Seen On TV” success is not absolute.  I believe in this case, the advantage was timing.   Earlier tests of the 60 Second Salad in November did not perform as well as expected.   Then in January, the video went viral.  To me, the biggest difference was timing.  In November, people are gearing up to eat a lot.   In January, a fast salad seems more desirable.  

The inventors brought us a well-made 3D prototype that was testable.  With a good marketing pitch in place we had a lot to work with.

By Carrie Jeske 29 Mar, 2017

Trade show season is upon us.  Trade show are a great place to find new market ready products for us to sell on TV.  You don’t even have to go to the show!    From the comfort of your own computer, surf the show site for the exhibitors list and floor plan.

If you’re there in person, zero in on the gems inside inventors hearts and minds.  Stay connected to people you like. The products being displayed are picked over hard by competitors and service providers so it's harder to get out front. Most entrepreneurs get financially tapped out if they don’t sell product or secure a licensing agreement in the first couple shows. Almost always, they have other ideas. Dreams. Other inventions that are ripe for our low cost, high return inventing strategies. If you look past the product being shown and connect with people, their next idea may be the big winner that makes money for us all.  

Focus on single product booths.  We’re looking for early stage products that are physically small and solve everyday problems in visually appealing ways.   Google the booth name or click on the website links to see if the products meet our narrow criteria. Product booths with many products are usually (but not always) companies that already have distribution in retail stores. It's worth looking at those lines since it gives insight into what's selling. Occasionally, there is something there that we can partner on.

Put on your inventor cap and use some Invention Techniques to come up with your own unique products to pitch to me.

How To Submit as a Product Scout

Simply email me a link to the website or demo video.  Put the PRODUCT NAME in the SUBJECT line so I can track conversations.   Add a link to a website or demo video in the body of the email with your contact information below.  It’s simple.

My email date and time stamps everything and I reply to each email.  For trusted and loyal product scouts that I’ve been working with over time, I’ll share industry insider tips to help improve your keen eye for the next winner.  Give me under 5 days to reply… a bit more if I’m traveling.

If you are physically at a trade show or local store and see a new item you think I should look at, simply shoot your own short smartphone video or look on the packaging for the website of the manufacture, then send a link.

When you're the first to show me a product, I flag your name as the Product Scout. If we test and rollout the product to retail shelves, you get a piece of the pie in finders fees.

Go International

Want to increase your odds of finding the next winner?  Go international.  Don’t limit yourself to United States trade shows.  Find an international show and search online there. For every kind of show you see in the U.S. there is an international counterpart. Developing international relationships with inventors, service providers, product developers, patent attorneys, manufactures and production companies could be the ticket to an early look at the next million-dollar winner.  Connecting internationally has never been easier.  Searching international shows online can be like digging in a gold mine! Catalogs and small international online retailers are also very good sources.

Stay Local

Checkout your own backyard. There are Home & Garden Shows, Boat Shows, State Fairs, County Fairs, Pet Fairs, Craft Fairs, Do It Yourself (DIY) Shows and more.   Talk to your neighbors, friends, work associates.  Anyone.  Almost everyone you know has a great idea, but they don’t know what to do next. You do. Capitalize on it.

Bottom line.  No one knows where the next big winner will be found.  Where every you go, whatever you do, keep your eyes open and your mind sharp.  A million-dollar product may be in sight.  I’m counting on it.

See you on the shelves,

Carrie Jeske

carrie@willitlaunch.com

816-255-4600 cell


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