You have decided to pitch your idea or new product to a company. Are you feeling confident and energized by this prospect? Or are you nervous and unsure how to even begin? If you fit into the latter category, don’t despair. There are a number of inventors who feel the same way as you. Below we share some tips that show how to pitch an idea to a company.
Create a list of companies that might be interested in your new product. While more prospects might seem better, paring down your list to a more focused group will save you time, effort, and frustration as your time and resources will be used most effectively. You can research companies in the industry into which your invention falls through online databases and trade associations. Once you have created a list of prospective companies, prioritize them based which would be the best fit with your new product. You might also wish to consider if you have good access to a decision maker.
Be prepared with your elevator pitch, that is, a one- to two-minute explanation of your new product. You never have a second chance to make a first impression, and you must grab the attention of the company representative immediately. Include your product’s benefit, your target market, and how your invention would fit in with the company’s current product line. Whether you are meeting with someone in person or over the telephone, you want to grab attention immediately—and leave them wanting to hear more.
Understand and share the product features, manufacturing process, costs, price, risks, and market opportunities presented with your new product. The more facts you can provide along with qualitative evidence of suggested market acceptance of your invention, the stronger your pitch will be. Think of negatives along with positives: Are there risks associated with your product? If so, what can be done to mitigate them? Knowledge is power, so be prepared to answer the tough questions.
Prepare a professional presentation, including a three-dimensional prototype model, an introductory letter, and a simple sell sheet. This one- to two-page document should clearly detail the following about your new product: the problem, challenge, or need it meets; its features and benefits; its market; and its legal status, in terms of patents and trademarks.
Your pitch should be memorable and offer a course of immediate action. You must be ready to move forward the day of the pitch. If you have not done your research, prepared your presentation, or readied a prototype, wait until you have. Do not walk into a contact’s office until you have a well-crafted story to tell and props to help sell it.