The internet is an amazing thing! You can sit at your computer or pull out your smartphone and answer almost any questions instantaneously. In fact, I have a blog (www.projectmanagementforum.net) where I have written articles about how technology and the internet were rapidly commoditizing many white collar jobs. Do you need an accountant? Turbo Tax or Tax Cut works for many people! Simple will? Legal Zoom! Question about that symptom? WebMd!
Those are for straightforward issues. But you aren’t going to have your surgery done online, and you aren’t going into court with a website pulled up on your phone! Sometimes you need help, and the internet is a fine resource to find that help!
Or is it? Go to your favorite search engine and type in “inventions to market”, or any variation of that phrase. You will have your entire first page of results filled with people that want you to get your product to marked in 6 easy steps! Or get you the manufacturing deal you deserve! Or….. You get the point.
Welcome to an amazing type of business that I have named the “Internet Shepherd”.
What are these Shepherds? They are companies whose purpose is to guide you through the process and refer you to subject matter experts (normally employed by them) to get you to market.
You have a great idea and you want to take it to market, so you type in the search criteria I suggested above, and you click on one of the sites. You will find a business that will take your idea and complete a computer rendering, file a provisional patent and market your idea to potential manufactures. They will probably hint, though not guarantee, that you may get the holy grail of inventions – a royalty deal! That is when you are paid for every one of your awesome product that sells, but you don’t have to worry about design, manufacturing and marketing. You just cash those checks!
Except, that almost never happens.
At every point of the process, these “shepherds” will be there to help you. Need a 3D rendering of your product, no problem. Need a CAD/CAM model for the patent? Done! How about the patent itself? Done!
All for a fee.
And many of those fees are incredibly steep!
So how much of this do you need to hire people for, and how much can you do yourself? I can’t answer that for everyone because we are all different. But you can see what we did and make informed decisions about what you can do, and what you need to pay for.
We used a shepherd for the initial steps in the process, but after I understood how things worked, I was able to figure most of it out myself!
First step – protect that idea with a patent.