Category Archive:Business & Corporate

ByCarolyn Keane

3 TV Shows to Pitch to

Adventure Capitalists

We were invited to participate last season and now the show is a huge success. It is a great premise, 3 venture capitalist personally product test new outdoor adventure products. Talk about Shark Tank, last season they tested a new shark repellent device in the ocean with school of real mean looking sharks, giving new meaning to the term “wetsuit” for one of the capitalists. These guys are crazy and a lot of fun. Check out the show here http://cnb.cx/2eezoKK

They are looking for all types of outdoor products including but not limited to; camping, hiking, adventure, recreation, outdoor transportation, off roading, renewable energy, survival, etc. I suggest you watch the show and present accordingly. Here is the link to apply www.AdventureCapitalists.com   

Harry Wants Women

What a dream come true for the right women, Harry Connick Jr. is looking for women inventors with a great story to tell for his new daytime talk show. This is great exposure! Here is a link to the talent search http://bit.ly/2ddYLZb and here is a link to the show’s website https://www.harryconnickjr.com/

Dave Yonce Show

Below is the information they sent me about the show. Unlike most product hunts, shows are looking more for personality. Their guide lines are an education in themselves that everyone should read.

Asylum Entertainment and a major cable television network known for its loud, creative content is on the hunt for American entrepreneurs with well-developed concepts or prototypes for new inventions. To be considered, the invention must solve a problem, make a job more efficient, or make life more fun. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, electronics, weapons, outdoor recreation, adventure, home products, automotive, and power tools.

If selected to appear on the program, Oklahoma-raised inventor and entrepreneur, Dave Yonce, will invest money and time into you and your product, developing it into a working prototype, and in some cases, partnering with you to build your business.

For more information, email:  Casting@tikicasting.com.

Thank you in advance!

Kristina Hauser
Casting Director 

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ByCarolyn Keane

How to Submit Ideas to Companies “Think” Before You Send – by Roger Brown

Contacting companies for the first time can be scary and uncertain for Inventors. You want to do it right and get the company interested in your product and see it on store shelves. My invention submissions have resulted in licensing deals in toys, tools, eyeglass products, kitchen utensils, and even a device used in the nuclear industry. I did it spending less than $100 on each and some as little as $8. I utilized an NDA and Sell Sheet only, no patent or PPA. My major investment has been my time.

I have been a serial Inventor, a licensing agent and reviewed thousands of Inventor’s products. In short, I see and hear all sides of the inventing process. What I’ve discovered is sometimes inventors can be their own worst enemies. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to submitting pitches or new products to companies that can help you make a better first impression:

1. Don’t send hand-written submissions. Even if you don’t own a computer most libraries have one you can use for free. If a library isn’t an option, go to a FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s). If you send your submission via snail mail, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Don’t assume your target company will pay postage.

2. Do put your contact information on each piece of paper you send. That includes samples and prototypes.

3. Don’t waste a product reviewer’s time detailing how you came up with your idea. Focus on the benefits of your product/technology and why it will make the company money. Companies don’t care if your second cousin twice removed worked on your project for two years once he got out of prison.

4. Don’t use the phrase, “My idea is worth millions.” Let the company decide that.

5. Don’t use the phrase, “There is nothing else out there like my idea.” Most of the time you will be wrong.

6. Don’t say you have researched your product idea thoroughly when all you did was walk into a Walmart and didn’t see it on the shelves.

7. Don’t use the phrase, “Everyone will buy one.” This gets back to being realistic about the size of your market. Know who the target customers are. (See Rule #6)

8. Don’t send a prototype to a company unless they asked you to and are expecting it. Companies do not want to keep track of or be responsible for items they did not request in the first place.

9. Do be realistic about your expectations. Understand licensing royalties usually are about 2% to 5%. Greed can kill an otherwise profitable deal.

10. Do read and re-read everything a company sends you to make sure you understand everything in the documents. Don’t assume everything is fine and sign it. I send people my two-page non-disclosure agreement to read and sign prior to sending me anything for review. I have to include in my email an explanation to make sure they fill in their address on the top of the first page, because so many people don’t do it. This is in the first two paragraphs of the first page. So, if they are missing that what else are they missing in a longer document?

11. Don’t write a novel to explain your invention. Be concise and factual. No one wants to read a novel to get your idea. Be able to explain your invention over the phone or in person in 30 seconds or less. Practice your pitch until you can say it in your sleep. Look at the short blurb on the back of a book. It gives you an overall idea of the 300 page book. Your pitch needs to be that short.

12. Make sure you know your product. You should be the expert on your product. Never assume companies will just “Get It.”

13. Don’t send your submission to a company on Monday and call Tuesday to ask when they will be sending you a contract.

14. Do your research before submitting anything to a company. Make sure your submission actually fits their target market. Don’t submit a lawnmower idea to a soap company.(this happens more than you think)

15. Don’t send your invention submission in care of the general bulk mail of a company. Get a specific person’s name in charge of that department – new product development, marketing, inventor submissions, inventor relations, etc. Don’t send “To Whom it may concern.” The most likely place it will find is the trash basket.

16. If you call a company asking for the person in charge of invention submissions, make sure you are ready if you’re put through. This is not the time to forget pen and paper or fumble your pitch. If you get voice mail, leave a short intelligent message with your call-back number.

17. Make sure you know the time zone difference of the location you are calling.

18. Don’t send a company any package that has special storage requirements, contains a live animal or flammable liquids. Real example: An Inventor sent his new food-sealing device with samples of food sealed inside. It was not opened until a week later, by security due to the smell of the leaking packages.

19. Don’t send a company anything you can’t afford to lose. Accidents happen and things can get misplaced. If it’s a one-of-a-kind item, you may want to send a DVD or link to a video showing the product in action. If you post it on Youtube and you have not filed for any patent protection make sure it is set on Private and not Public.

20. When sending email attachments to companies, do make sure it is in a program they have installed on their computers. Not everyone has Filemaker Pro or Microsoft Office 2016. Ask if the company has a size limit on attachments. Moreover, some software automatically kicks out any email with an attachment that is not on a safe email list.

The more you do upfront to make sure you are prepared the better your chances of success.

http://www.rogerbrown.net

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ByCarolyn Keane

Entrepreneurs Call to Action – Apply to Present at 2016 Florida VentureTech Showcase

Apply to present at the upcoming 2016 Florida VentureTech Showcase

at CAMLS (Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation), in downtown Tampa on November 1st from 1:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

The showcase is a capital acceleration competition and business-networking event co-hosted by Space Florida and the Florida Venture Forum. The event will feature presentations by some of Florida’s most promising growth-stage companies. Additionally, a cross section of investors will be in attendance.  Troy Knauss, instructor, with the Angel Resource Institute, will be the special guest speaker!

Presenting companies will compete for the
Space Florida Accelerating Innovation Awardtotaling
$150,000!
$100,000 for the Winner and $50,000 for the 1st Runner Up!
Presenters will be chosen from a pool of applicants by a selection committee evaluating growth-stage companies from throughout the state of Florida.  Selection criteria for growth stage companies are listed on the Forum’s website. Selection preference will be given to those growth stage companies in information technology and health technology, knowledge-based services, space transportation and advanced aerospace platforms, satellite systems and science payloads, ground and operations support systems, agriculture, climate/environmental monitoring, civil protection and emergency management, International Space Station and human life science (including medical research), communications, cyber security & robotics, adventure tourism, clean /alternative energy applications, advanced materials and new products.
FINAL PRESENTER APPLICATION DEADLINE:
Friday, October 14, 2016
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ByCarolyn Keane

Discover How Women Are Charting Creative Paths To Funding

Female entrepreneurs are getting creative with their funding efforts, but not necessarily by choice. According to a study conducted by Babson College, just 2.7% of venture capital-funded companies are female-owned. Probable influences of this statistic, include a lack of female investors, females operating lifestyle or service-based businesses not typically of interest to venture capitalists, females maintaining smaller growth goals for their businesses than males and simply fewer females asking for venture capital.

For the rest of the article:

Discover How Women Are Charting Creative Paths To Funding

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ByCarolyn Keane

Living the Dream: A No Nonsense Guide on How to Work From Home

How to Work From Home HeaderI think I speak for everyone when I say that we would all rather work from home than spend years of our lives in a cubicle.

In some cases, you can even earn more money working from home rather than commuting to a typical 9-5. Why can’t you take a piece of this delicious pie as well?

According to Global Workplace Analytics, over 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000/year. With the right tools & habits in your arsenal, you can take advantage of thjis golden opportunity. For the rest of the story click here:       How to Work From Home

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ByCarolyn Keane

Why Do I Need a Business Plan?

Why do I need to do a business plan if I just want to sell or license my idea? It is a great question and we get it all the time.

The suggestion of doing a business plan is important for many reasons. If you are fortunate enough to be able to speak to someone or a company that might license your idea or product you need to be prepared. The interested party may ask you any or all of the following questions (example is for a product):

  • What will it be made of?
  • How much are the molds?
  • How many cavities in the mold?
  • Cost per piece, per 1000, for 10,000 & 100,000 pieces?
  • Cost of shipping
  • Cost of packaging
  • How is it packaged?
  • Suggested retail price?
  • Target market – What is the demographic of your customer?
  • What is the market for your item – sales in that field?
  • What are your projected Sales?
  • How do you intend to get those sales?
  • What is the cost to acquire customers?
  • Where do you see them being sold? Is drug store, specialty shops, big box stores?
  • How many will you have to sell to break even on the cost of the molds?

When you do a business plan, you go through all of these things because at the end of the day, if it cost too much to make them, it might not be worth it.  There are other costs most inventors do not take into consideration such as Boxing, Labeling, Warehouse space, Marketing or sales reps commission

And there are many other costs involved. So the companies considering your product need to know that you know your business and how they will make money if they license your product.  In doing the business plan, you will better understand the real costs involved and will be able to explain why they would want to take on your product.  You will also have the data if you should decide to create the business and manufacture it yourself.

Every company we have pitched to has asked many of these questions. They want to know you understand the process. I have seen them ask inventors these questions and when the inventor did not have any answers, the comment is – “Why should I care about your product more than you do if you haven’t taking the time to find out this information?”

There is a lot to consider, after you have come up with the idea, in order for you to make money. It is possible and there is help available.

Keep Inventing Daily!

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ByCarolyn Keane

7 Ways to Bomb a Pitch

7 Ways to Bomb a Pitch by Theodore O’Brien

We just wrapped up our Deal Flow Summit in NYC and it got me thinking about how pitches go wrong. Here are 7 ways to bomb a pitch:

1) Dear Sir/Madam: If I read Dear Sir/Madam or similar generic greetings, it’s an instant-archive. It’s not because I think so much of myself that I need you to spell my name right but I do need you to address it to me. Dear Sir/Madam is the clearest possible signal you could send that you are blasting your pitch to anyone and everyone.

2) Buy Now! and other used-car tricks: investing in or acquiring a business is a serious, long-term investment decision. Pressure tactics and hard sells are not only inappropriate, they’re often counter-productive. Respect the process and don’t pressure the investor the way a used-car salesman would.

3) Fail to follow-up: You can make the best pitch of your life and have the investor on the edge of his/her seat, but if you don’t follow up it could all be for naught. Remember that your pitch settles in somewhere between the other 20 meetings, phone calls, and pitches that a busy executive will have any given day.

4) Cheap Out on Presentation: It is inexcusable today to have a cut-rate presentation. Whether you’re using PowerPoint or Indesign or a top-end software, make sure that you take the time to edit your presentation and make it look professional. Send it around to friends and family. An executive that we’re partnered with recently sent his presentation to his mother for review and guess what? She caught more mistakes than I or anyone else who reviewed it did. Lesson: it only costs you time to edit your presentation and it can cost you millions to skip this step.

5) Talk about everything but the main event: You’re meeting with the prospect to talk about your company or deal and you want to build rapport so you talk about your kids, what sports you both enjoy, and every other topic of conversation EXCEPT what you’re both there to discuss. I don’t know how many meetings I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but left without any idea what the company did, what they were seeking, or how I could participate. When you’re meeting with a busy executive you’re working in a set time window and if you spend 50% or more of your time building rapport, you don’t get any extra time or brownie points for knowing that he likes fishing or has a cousin who lives in your hometown.

6) Forget the financials: When I’m meeting with a potential acquisition target or a company seeking funding, I’m zeroing in on the financials. Too often, I attend what I expect to be a formal, serious meeting to discuss a potential investment but the other party is ill-prepared to discuss the numbers. Not only is this a sign that you’re unprepared, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. I and a lot of other potential investors will likely reschedule the meeting for a time when you have the necessary details to have a real discussion. Some investors, though, won’t give you a second shot.

7) Meet with the wrong person: I recently scheduled a call to introduce a company we’re invested in with what would be a huge account. The team prepared for the meeting and when I jumped on the conference call we quickly learned that my contact wasn’t the decision-maker and was unfamiliar with the company’s sector. The lesson I took away is to make sure that the person you’re meeting with is A) qualified to make the decision B) familiar enough with the sector and C) taking the meeting seriously. In my case, the person we were meeting with was a principal at the firm (meeting criteria A) but a friend and thus willing to take any meeting I set up (violating criteria C) and unfamiliar with the sector (violating criteria B).

I hope that these lessons I shared help you craft an amazing pitch.

Theo O’Brien
Managing Director
The Private Equity Investment Group
(305) 503-9050
Key Biscayne, FL
http://PrivateEquity.com

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ByCarolyn Keane

South Florida Regional Business & Finance Conference

 

Join us and Get Discovered! Who knows, you may meet someone to fund your idea as well! You won’t want to miss this great event!

Join our panels made up of South Florida’s political candidates, business resource providers, editors & producers of local media, inventors, prime contractors, gov & corp procurement specialists & funders who will answer your questions on: marketing, funding, getting your inventory/product made, on shelves, getting your business certified and leveraging government contracts.

Click here to register

South Florida

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