Why Can’t I Land a Licensing Deal?

22 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.

I get calls and emails constantly about licensing. People ask me the same thing over and over – can’t I just license my idea/product to a company?    

Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy…   

I am not sure what the current statistics are for licensing success rate, but based on what I used to know and the deals I have been involved in, few products ever get licensed.

Why? Lots of reasons…and here are just a few:

  • The product is simply not that exciting or capable of attracting much excitement with potential licensees
  • The product has not even been developed and so there is nothing for the potential licensee to evaluate
  • The inventor has unrealistic expectations about the kind of money he could earn from a licensing deal – most people seem to think they will make a ton of money and most do not make much at all
  • The inventor has little or no knowledge of how licensing deals are done and of how to approach the right people at the companies with which they are interested in striking a deal

There are certainly additional reasons, but it seems the internet can be a blessing and a curse, so to speak. There is a lot of information out there, but sometimes too much info can be confusing and overwhelming to an inventor.

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

What really makes a difference is if someone has experience doing licensing deals, and nothing beats a real-world experience in my book. People must understand that in order to have a chance at a good licensing deal, they must first have a product that can change the retail markets as we know them or at least have a product that appeals to a broad audience that can solve everyday problems or enhance your life in a positive way (like an IPOD for example). Although licensing deals are done in many product categories, it seems that consumer electronics/gadgets, apparel, and housewares/home improvement products seem to be popular for deals from what I have seen.

Just know that very few products ever reach that level of licensing success…likely a percent or two at BEST…likely less than that based on some older stats. For those lucky few that do get a deal, there are lots of things to work out like length of deal, royalty rates, guarantees, etc. – and many of these “done deals” wind up going south quickly!

So, given all these obstacles, what are you to do if you really want a licensing deal?

My advice – take the risk out of the deal for the licensee! That is one of the most effective things that you can do. And you can do this by “proving your concept” by developing it yourself and selling it to a few retailers. Once you do that, you have proven that your product is commercially viable. In the process, you will have increased your chances of securing an actual deal.

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