Should You License Your Product?

03 Dec 2010

Jim Debetta

Jim DeBetta’s product development and sales experience has amassed millions of dollars within the retail selling world. Known nationally as a trusted coach and mentor to thousands of inventors and entrepreneurs, he knows how to take new ideas from a sketch on a napkin to selling the final product to major retailers worldwide.

Jim’s career in retail began at an early age with the family business – a fireplace and home hardware company. After graduating from college, Jim went home to help expand the business from a small successful operation into a multi-million dollar business and became one of the most recognized and respected store of its kind on Long Island. Jim stimulated new business, purchased products from all over the world, and ran the overall daily operations.

Jim decided it was time to grow and joined a start up firm that imported binoculars, telescopes, and optical products for children. His retail customers included a “who’s who” in retail such as Target, Wal-Mart, Radio Shack, Sears, Michael’s, Cabelas, Home Shopping Network, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Discovery Channel Stores, Costco, and many others. Jim employed nearly 20 people inside and had dozens of sales reps all over the US, Canada, and Europe. Ultimately, Jim helped expand the company from virtually no significant revenue to a leading brand in the industry that has sold more than 50 million dollars of product since the mid 1990′s. When Jim was ready for a new adventure, he left the company as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Jim decided he was ready for yet a bigger challenge and joined a leading premium incentive company as their National Key Accounts Manager. Jim represented major national brands for this $100 million a year premium incentive firm such as Toshiba, Sony, Nikon, Nautilus, Movado and others. The products were used to create various incentive programs for fortune 1,000 companies around the world.

Jim’s experience has reached far and wide working with various products, retailers, manufactures, and factories. He knew it was time to help those that had a product in mind or ready for production. His goal was to teach others the process without unnecessary expense, time and red tape. That is how DeCavi Corp was born.

As the founder of DeCavi Corp, Jim has helped thousands of inventors and start-ups learn how to get their products developed and sold to major retailers. Jim then merged his firm with the renowned Slingshot Product Development Group which employs a team of 35 engineers, designers, and marketing experts who help individual inventors and Fortune 500 firms alike. Both are recognized as leaders in the inventor product development and commercialization arena. Today, Jim continues to broaden his reach into the world of consumer products and has formed DeBetta Enterprises which is a private consultancy that coaches and advises inventors and entrepreneurs on everything from manufacturing to sales and marketing of consumer products. Jim also heads up the Retail Distribution arm of Kevin Harrington’s TV Goods corporation which today is fueled by the hit ABC reality show Shark Tank.

""Jim teaches inventors how to create sales and marketing strategies, understand the world of licensing, develop a product using CAD design, raising money to fund a business, and locating factories overseas to produce products. Jim is now reaching out to individuals who want to learn how to do it for themselves. Learn how he does that by clicking here.

Jim is a Professional Member of the United Inventors Association, a member of the Georgia Inventor’s Association, Rocky Mountain Inventors Association, and was the former co-host of the Launch Hour – a popular radio program for inventors and entrepreneurs. He is also the author of The Business of Inventing and has written hundreds of articles for industry publications, newspapers, and websites such as Inventor’s Digest, Georgia Magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Jim also appears as a guest speaker for leading trade and consumer organizations, speaks at international conferences, and hosts forum and blog discussions on prominent invention and entrepreneurial websites.

Should I license my product, or make it and sell it myself?    

This is one of the most common questions I hear from inventors and entrepreneurs, and the answer is simply NOT simple…   

First of all, you must understand that no matter what, embarking on either path takes knowledge and time, and you must be committed to seeing your project through. People often call me, telling me they want to license their idea and think it is easy and a quick way to make a lot of money. I tell them that getting a product licensed is almost always much more than what it appears.

It is not just calling a few big companies like Procter & Gamble and telling them about your idea, and then they put a big fat licensing deal in front of you. In fact, these companies reject most everything they see. They have to. They have access to an endless supply of inventors and thinkers who approach them with ideas. The fact is, they can only choose a few things that they can get behind and bring to market. They have budgets and internal constraints, too, and just cannot take on everything they like.

Purchase Jim DeBetta’s Looking 2 License CD set to learn how license deals really get done. Exclusive 20% Off for StartupNation members!

It is true that there are a handful of very savvy and talented people that can convince and negotiate with big companies to get a licensing deal. However, these people know what to do and how to do it. They understand that in order to be considered for a licensing opportunity, they must have a compelling product that can be patented and at a price that is compelling to them and the consumer – among other important factors. These people know what the licensee wants and needs, and they prepare their presentation to suit the specific company they are approaching.

They also clearly understand that they may get a lot of “no” before they get a “maybe” or a “yes”. It is not an easy path to take but certainly can be rewarding if you can prove to a company that your product has all the right stuff! The key is to learn everything you can about what path you want to pursue so that you are fully informed about what to expect and how to move forward.

For those of us that like to develop products and manufacture them ourselves, this path is traditionally much tougher, more time consuming, and requires much more of a financial commitment – but the rewards can be much greater. It is still a difficult but reachable dream. No matter what you wish to do, though, please realize that good old fashioned hard word and determination are some of the basic foundational components you will need to succeed.

So, which path do you take?

Well, that depends on your risk tolerance and the amount of time you have to devote to your invention idea. If you have a career and don’t want to run a business, then licensing may be for you. If you have always dreamed of running your own business and feel like you have the wherewithal to take your idea, have it manufactured, and then offer it to retail stores, then doing it yourself might be the way to go.

Whichever path you take, be patient! It often takes many months and even years to achieve success in this highly competitive business…just follow the correct steps and seek knowledge every step of the way.

Purchase Jim DeBetta’s Looking 2 License CD set to learn how license deals really get done. Exclusive 20% Off for StartupNation members!