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Lesson # 103 Your Good or Bad Reputation Will Follow You More Than You Know

rogerbrown's Avatargold

Had a discussion last week with an Inventor that has had a string of rejections from company Y even though based on the ideas he has shown me you would think they would have shown interest. His presentation is short and concise. He has great graphics that show his ideas and possible packaging aspects for all of them and even has short demo videos of each product showing them proving proof of concept. He even has some good gap analysis slides. The ideas answer the "Better Than" question.

Everything looks as prepared as you can get, so what is the problem? I was as confused as he was until he showed me a listing of the companies he had previously sent the material to for review. He had disclosed at a different meeting we had that he had a deal with company X and had signed a memorandum of understanding outlining what both sides had agreed to but changed his mind at the last minute and decided to pull the product from the company. They had spent a significant amount of money testing and doing a focus group study on his product. So they were not happy with this decision. I know the person he was dealing with at company X from my dealings with company X. 

What the Inventor did not know is shortly after this issue happened with him the person he was dealing with at company X left company X and is now working at company Y doing the same position. So how do you think his ideas went over with this same person he burned at company X?

As in any industry people get promoted, fired, quit, move to other similar markets looking for work. So, the bridge you burn at one company can follow you through a number of companies. So it does not take long for your name to be bounced around until you are known as trouble. The same goes if you have a solid reputation for getting things done, providing good ideas and having realistic expectations. Word gets around in this industry. What will they think about you when your name comes up?

Sarah Mann
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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

I'd like to think I have a good reputation with the few companies that I deal with on a regular basis. I always take my no's with a thank you and I appreciate... I also follow their instructions. I have one person that I deal with that wants all of my ideas sent at once every other Friday. That is just his particular time to review so I happily oblige. Now if they liked me enough for a yes one of these years. lol

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Erin, that is a good attitude to have, being polite even when you get a No helps keep doors open and other opportunities available. Inventors that have to have everything positive, unicorns and rainbows will be sorely disappointed in the real world.

Keep pushing forward until you get that Yes.

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chappy75's Avatargold

I agree totally...

~ What you do in the dark always comes out in the light

&
~ Bad Blood Follows You until reconciled

Street wisdom...

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Chappy, it is not a matter of being as dark or bad blood as you portray. In a number of cases it is lack of information, which causes the person to make bad decisions. Then you have those that are so eager to succeed they jump at the first thing that shows them any positive feedback, such as the ads for Inventor coaching classes, or turnkey services that offer all sorts of legal protection, prototyping,design work, etc. These are enticing to those that don't know if they even need these services, but get the hard sell that success is just inches away and time is critical. They feed off the hope of the Inventors desire for success.

Then you have those that their attitude is their worst enemy. They can't take criticism, everything has to be positive or they just can't handle the rejection. Because in many cases they are surrounded by people that gave them exactly the feedback they wanted and got a cold slap in the face when they went out into the real world of business. 

We have seen examples here at EN of disgruntled Inventors that blame everyone else around them for their failure to get their baby to market. Can it be just bad luck on their part...sure. Can it be they are just not approaching their market in a manner that works...yes. Can they have unrealistic expectations that no company is going to meet....yes. You can have everything perfect and still fail or succeed based on other factors.

Your attitude, ability to adapt, take criticism and learn from it, understand your market and have an idea that answers the Better Than question all factor in to helping you succeed. The inventing community is small enough that word gets out quickly who is good to work with and who you should avoid. The same goes for the Inventor. It does not take long for your name to get out to companies that you are someone they can't deal with or are a person they can trust and look to for ideas.

I get contacted by companies that were referred to me by contacts I have in other companies inviting me to submit ideas to them. Why, because my reputation in the industry is good, I listen to what they want and do my best to provide it. They see the success I have had and know I have realistic expectations. Even when I had a small group of 4 Inventors that were trying their best to discredit me for three years I still came out ahead because my work proved them wrong. No matter what business you are in you will always have those that are nutcases and people that just don't want to see you succeed. Companies understand this and will overlook these nutcases because they get enough of them themselves.

The person above had a deal where he would have gotten 8% royalty, which is on the high end of the average deal. Once he got thinking about it and talking with family and friends he decided he wanted 10% royalty. When the company said no he pulled out of the deal. 6 months later he has a royalty percentage of 0% because he has no deal in place. Had he taken the deal he would be a couple months from his product hitting store shelves. Instead he is cold calling companies with no bites in sight. All because he wanted more. 

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chappy75's Avatargold

That is sad. I work in an industry that 6% is the norm and 7% is premium but there are times that IF the deal is rich enough taking 5-5.5% might be considered. Good for him getting 8%, I probably wouldn't even ask for that much. I know the power of 7%. 

I made my response to your last 2 paragraphs...

"What the Inventor did not know is shortly after this issue happened with him the person he was dealing with at company X left company X and is now working at company Y doing the same position. So how do you think his ideas went over with this same person he burned at company X?

As in any industry people get promoted, fired, quit, move to other similar markets looking for work. So, the bridge you burn at one company can follow you through a number of companies. So it does not take long for your name to be bounced around until you are known as trouble. The same goes if you have a solid reputation for getting things done, providing good ideas and having realistic expectations. Word gets around in this industry. What will they think about you when your name comes up?"

That is Bad Blood unreconciled for stuff done in the dark done in the dark (Dark means in the past, The light is the present... AKA 20/20 hindsight). In my opinion, it is very thuggish, childish and vindictive to let the past to get in the way of the present. I have been hired by past clients that didn't like how the deal went on previous deals. They come back because when they stop and think about it, we have one of the most successful systems to sell real estate in the country... Top 1%. We are on track to sell 100 homes this year. If I let the past get in the way of the present because I didn't like the way they treated us then I would be stepping over money to pick up a hatchet that should be buried all emotional, no logic. 

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

I don't consider it thuggish, childish and vindictive. The issue there goes with other sayings "Past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior" or the "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me." In business you can't always take the risk to your bottom line.

And in the example you stated above You are the company and they are the Inventor. They need you more than you need them. You can get other clients, they want someone in the 1%. 

The same goes for the Inventor wanting Mattel. Mattel doesn't need that particular Inventor because they have thousands of other Inventors in line right behind them waiting for their turn to present. But on the Inventors side how many Mattels do they have to present to before they are out of options?

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chappy75's Avatargold

We differ on opinion. I am not surprised. It is ok to have different opinions, I am just not surprised.

Off to present my numbers in a preliminary funding meeting @ 10 am. Wish me luck!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Proper contacts within companies and a good working relationship with companies can make or break a lot of opportunities. You might be surprised how many companies browse your Facebook page before contacting you back on your submission. It gives them a look into how you might be to work with, experience level, attitude and do you share to much information about your products.

Being able to keep things confidential can be crucial to a company trying to be first to market with a unique product. The last thing they want to see is you posting the release date for your product, the production run, pics of the product BEFORE it has even been released to buyers. They can lose market advantage real quickly if the wrong info gets out. This again hurts your reputation in the industry.

I get internal updates and internal design drawings all the time from companies I work with because they know I will not post them or share them with anyone without their permission first. 

The same goes for anyone getting a deal through EN, you can jeopardize a deal by going around EN and posting information without their knowledge and consent.  

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

I had a bad habit of sharing my ideas with friends. My thought process was, that nothing would ever come of them, so I might as well have my friends see my ideas. I have since deleted my Facebook page completely so that I don't get tempted. Even if nothing ever comes of my ideas, I want to give myself the best shot possible, of something maybe happening.

Sarah Mann
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sjane722's Avatargold

Erin, 

You generate that many ideas that you have a batch to send every other week?

Do you do all the research on them and work up a presentation before you send them?

I am working on the third prototype of my simplest concept, and still don't have it right. 

I eliminated one of five concepts ( the pet category one) after exploring it's feasibility. 

Out of my four ideas I have the strongest confidence in two.

What kind of editing process do you use?

Patric J
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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Sarah, the company that I deal with just wants a simple sell sheet. I send them every idea that I come up with, because they want me to, and you just never know what they may like. It's usually about ten ideas a month so really not that many. I don't do a whole lot of research outside of Google. Honestly I don't have the time and they aren't asking for very much. This company literally has said that they will except an idea on a napkin. I do better than that but it gives me an avenue to share and not be bombarded with doing a lot of work that I don't have time for.

Patric J
Sarah Mann
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sjane722's Avatargold

Erin,

I find it amazing that you generate that many ideas!!

I'm having a hard time deciding how much to put into presentations for submission on EN. 

I'm disappointed to have discovered that my computer is too old to support Sketch Up. 

After licensing art I guess I feel that the more clearly you spell out a concept, the better chance it has, though that doesn't necessarily mean elaborate, and more doesn't always mean better. I tend to err on the side of persnickety.

I think signing up for Insider membership and receiving feedback will be really helpful.

Patric J
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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

They probably aren't all good ideas lol I let the company decide because they could have a different opinion. I am always coming up with stuff. My brain hurts a lot.

Patric J
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sjane722's Avatargold

Lol!!!

Does this company give you feedback, or request that you think in a certain direction? Do they ever give you assignments? 

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

It is Fat Brain toys in case you have any toy ideas. You can find their submission guidelines on their website. No, I always get rejections. However, I have had a handful of I love the idea but it's just not right for us. Usually it is a cost issue. They seem to like inexpensive ideas which I have a difficult time coming up with. Most of my ideas are complicated.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Thanks Erin,

I have one sort of toy idea, that I'm on the fence about. It's pretty simple. I'll check them out. 

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sjane722's Avatargold

Hmmm. Looks good.

I know this question comes up a lot... but I'm confused about whether I should submit directly to them or submit it to EN, or both simultaneously? Or serially?

What do you suggest?

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah,

If you choose to submit to Fat Brain and EN make sure you list Fat Brain in your submission form to EN so they do not duplicate your efforts.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Roger,

Thanks! 

That makes complete sense!!!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Erin, have you looked at their product line to get a better idea of their target market?  Toy companies do like new twists on traditional toys.

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

Yes, Roger, I have. Thanks so much. I really think I will make it with this company some day. He pretty much likes every idea I share with him. However, there is always something where it isn't a fit. I know I'll get it right. I have faith. Usually it's a cost aspect or just some minor ailment. Their toys are mostly a new take on building. There are only so many building ideas, at least for me.

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Keep in mind your reputation can also be affected by how you put together your presentation you present to a company. Is it sloppy, very wordy, confusing to read, extremely long, a lot of fluff or misleading information.

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

I just do a simple power point and get to the point. He seems to understand my concepts so I think I'm doing that right. My issue is not knowing cost. He seems to and that is almost always where I come to a stand still. Unfortunately I am just an idea person and really don't know how to put actual product together.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Erin,

I would think if they liked your ideas and the critiques are minor they would work with you in a collaborative way to adjust and develop what you present. My experience in product design ( aesthetic) is that it's a back and forth process... It all seems such a crap shoot!

I looked at their inventor requirements and feel a bit intimidated. For first time submissions they don't take casual, it has to be pretty developed.

My idea is for a building toy though, so I might work on it and see how it goes...

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sjane722's Avatargold

Roger,

I feel I am a careful and clear communicator, but the past few days of trying to get my idea across to John Vilardi really gave me pause and taught me that I need to make 100% sure that my concept is explicitly conveyed in the presentation materials.

And taking the time to edit and re edit is vital!!!

Sometimes when things are so obvious to you, you don't realize they those things are not obvious at all to others!!!

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mmmbopingmommy's Avatargold

I don't get it either, Sarah. I'll have come backs with whatever the issue is, and he is on repeat, it's a great idea but not for us. I believe he is honest because he hasn't liked all of my ideas and will say that's too niche etc. I would just send them a sell sheet. I've never sent them anything but and have never been told that I need a finished product. He said a sell sheet is fine and that is what he likes best to present to his team. Building toys are their cup of tea so I would go for it.

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sjane722's Avatargold

Thanks!

I've started trying to sort it out in photoshop, and I will probably have John Vilardi make a sell sheet. 

He is so awesome!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Sarah, I like when you said "Sometimes when things are so obvious to you, you don't realize they those things are not obvious at all to others!!!" That is so true and why I suggest finding a person that has signed an NDA and you trust to be totally honest with you to evaluate your presentation. The best method is not to tell them anything about the product other than letting them read your sell sheet and then have them tell you want they think the product is, its features and the Hook. You don't add anything and see if they GET it or is it confusing or obvious you are not getting the point across with your sell sheet.

Most Inventors forget they will not always be there to convey the product, your sell sheet is supposed to do that. Below is a thread you might enjoy on the topic.

https://www.edisonnation.com/forums/other/topics/l...

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sjane722's Avatargold

Good advice!

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sjane722's Avatargold

Fat toys does night lights too...gave me an idea....

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sjane722's Avatargold

Fat Brain! lol

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Talked with an Inventor that had a good connection with a company and was on their annual Wish List for what they were looking for the coming year. He had gotten a number of rejections from the company lately and was complaining about it to another friend via email.

After writing his email and venting  some harsh remarks about the company and its employees he hit send on the email. A couple minutes later he realized instead of forwarding the rejection letter and his venting email to his friend he had actually replied to the rejection email and the person that sent him the email. 

A week has gone by and he has not heard anything from the person. Do you think he will? He is scared to send them anything now and has basically decided he is off their preferred listing.  

Sarah Mann
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sjane722's Avatargold

OUCH!!!

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Ouch is right. He shot himself in the foot with that email and has lost an opportunity many Inventors would love to have. Companies are selective who they put on their wish list so to lose that is a deep cut.

Sarah Mann
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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi Roger, oh my, thats a tough one.  If it were me, and I stepped on myself (as we all do) I do think I would send out an email - and just face it head on - no excuses. 

He has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Perhaps a Headline like (This is what was i thinking but I forgot my mannors) and a sincere apology - sometimes people give one a second chance.


We are, after all, very human.  Unless it was an outright PERSONAL attack on the company or person, Id give it a try.  

We all make mistakes - we all reach our breaking points, we all need to vent.  And we all need to be humbled from time to time to keep us whole and grounded....my two cents.  

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rogerbrown's Avatargold

Crystal-Diane, he pretty much burnt that bridge. I know the person at the company he was dealing with and they are correct in their belief that if they drop one Inventor that void will be quickly filled by another Inventor. 

Companies can be selective who they use and don't have to put up with irate inventors or ones that feel the company has to change to fit them.

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