Not a week goes by without an Inventor emailing me wanting to know why it takes so darn long to get an answer from a company they have approached or is reviewing their idea. Being a serial Inventor myself I understand the frustration with the long wait, so I am going to try and give you some insight into why it takes so darn long.
Here is an example I like to use: I contacted a company I have a long relationship with to look at a particular product. First, you have understand the company owns 34 other companies and all new products have to go through one central person to be reviewed by this person to decide if it should even go to a particular company within their grouping. He then gets involved with the lead person for that division and works with them the entire process. The 34 companies make everything from industrial lubricants, pet items, tools, medical supplies, plumbing items, auto parts and more. So they are very diverse.
I have talked with this person weekly for a number of years. So we have a great working relationship. He first saw the product in December of 2012. He forwarded it to the division lead that looked at the product and liked it for their pet division. They did some initial costing and other reviews. They came back saying they wanted to do further testing and would get back to me. The testing took 2 months due to the complexity of the product. They came back saying it was of interest but they had some internal personnel changes and it would take some time to move forward if at all. I continued to send the product to other companies for review and got a couple of bites, but those companies decided to pass on the product.
After several more months the original company I presented it to were back looking at the product and starting with a new focus group. So, I started their review process all over with the new people in that division. As things progressed we got involved with their engineering people discussing CADs, design changes and other information. After a couple more months we started discussing terms for the licensing of the product. It took 2 months of back and forth to agree to terms on a final contract. That contract was signed March 2014. So as you can see it was not an overnight success, but it was a great success.
To give you some real life examples of why things don’t move as quickly as you and I may want. Read some of the responses below that you get from companies. Do you think calling them daily or weekly asking for an update would help or hinder your chances of getting the current product they are holding licensed? If you called them daily or weekly asking for an update in these situations do you think they would be happy to work with you and want to see more items from you? Do you think pushing the issue would change their internal policy?
From a major leader in this particular market.
I forwarded the concept to our __________ Folks. Can we please touch base again in another month about this and other _________ ideas?
Am I supposed to tell him a month is to long to wait? Should tell him I need an answer by Friday because I don’t want to wait that long?
This is from a Toy Company that specializes and is the leader in the type of toy I want to present. I contacted them on October 2013 and below was their response.
Thank you for your email. __________ is currently wrapping up our product development for 2014, but if the opportunity is still available in the spring, perhaps we could discuss then.
Should I tell them Spring is to far off, I think December would be better? I went back to them in March and they have interest in the product I presented to them. They were so interested we have a meeting set to meet them face to face in the next few weeks to discuss that product and others.
Do you think it would have gone so well if I had emailed them every week saying “ Is now a good time?” “ How about now?”
Would I love to send a product out on Monday and be closing the deal by Friday? Yes. Does it work that way? In most cases I would say, No. Typically you are working within each company’s system and dealing with multiple people within those companies to get the products reviewed by the right person within the company, allowing the company to do their internal due diligence, costing, focus group or whatever else they deem necessary for them to make an informed decision. Why? Because, they will be spending a large sum of money and effort to get your product to market. You want them to be successful which means you will be successful.
One thing I have learned over the past 15 years of inventing and getting my products licensed is that you WILL have to wait, things will not always go the way you want, but if you do things in a professional manner your chances of success are higher.
A good practice to follow is once you have a product out there for evaluation don’t just sit there worrying about where that product is, and its progress. Start working on your next product to take your mind off the first one. The time will go by quicker and you will have another product to add to the mix.