Weight Lifting Inventions -
How to Successfully Market Them
Commercialization process for independent inventors trying to market or license their weightlifting equipment inventions by
Gary Polson of Strength Tech, Inc. and Polson Enterprises. This page specifically addresses weight lifting inventions.
Please also see our Invention Information Center which covers inventions
of all types and often contains more recent tips and tools.
The suggestions below are to be taken at your own risk and are being provided as information,
NOT as professional advice. We encourage you to seek professional advice from several qualified
individuals as you develop your invention.
Weight Lifting Invention Commercialization, Marketing & Licensing Tips
Some of basic problems and questions encountered by most inventors are:
- Participate in an inventors club or organization. Inventors Digest has a great listing of them.
- See what can be learned from some of the on-line invention forums and news groups (alt.inventors). Remember not to take everything you here in them as truth. They can be a good source of general information, but they are becoming a place for others to market services to inventors.
- Perform a thorough patent search on your idea. Our
Polson Enterprises site posts the procedure we use.
- Go to the Federal Depository Library in your area. They will have access to U.S. patents and often have some invention / marketing literature. The Government Printing Office (GPO) provides a Federal Depository Library Locator.
- In addition to being unique, is the idea truly different enough from others already on the market or patented to have licensing potential (if you plan to license it)? Many ideas are slightly unique, but still very similar to products already on the market or patented. Manufacturers have no reason to license those products instead of someone elses, or come up with their own variation of the idea.
- Evaluate your invention
- Construct a series of more detailed models of your invention. You may find our Constructing Prototypes on a Tight Budget paper helpful.
- Examine competitive products (anything used to do something similar to your invention). You can learn a great deal from them. See (and be able to describe) how your invention is different from them and advantages your invention has over them. Our How to Learn About a Company by Examining its Products page may be helpful to you.
- If you do try to approach a manufacturing firm with your idea, be sure it actually fits into their product line, could be sold through their current distribution chain, could be used by their existing end customers, and that it is truly novel (we see hundreds of ideas that are like things that we have already seen). Our How to Learn About an Industry or a Specific Company paper may be helpful in learning more about the firm.
- Be extremely cautious of Invention Promotion / Invention Marketing Firms. Ask to visit with 4 or 5 people who have been through the process and are happy with the results. Ask to see a list of inventions they have promoted that have actually made it into production. What percent of the inventions submitted have actually made it to production? Ask to see records for how long they have been in operation under this name at this site. Ask where they come up with the list of companies they submit your invention to. If it is from the Thomas Register, you can do the same thing. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has a page on Invention Promotion scams. Be very cautious of them.
- If your interested in patenting your device and would like to learn more about the patenting process, study the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Independent Inventors web page.
- Try to obtain assistance at your local Vo-Tech school. Many provide small business assistance and can guide you to someone who assists inventors.
- There is an excellent fitness industry market study online titled, U.S. Fitness Industry Market Overview and Entry Strategies online in adobe acrobat [PDF] format. If you do not have the acrobat viewer, you can search for the title using the Google search engine and view their html version.
- Read Inventors Digest online and order a subscription to the magazine. It is an excellent aid for inventors.
- If you plan on licensing your idea - you will find the road MUCH rougher and more difficult than you anticipate. Only a very,
very small percentage of weight lifting inventions/patents are successfully licensed by independent inventors. Be sure it is very unique, can be sold for MANY times what it costs to build, it is safe, easy and economically shipped in bulk and individual units, easy to understand/use, and produces RESULTS. If you can't meet all these qualifications, licensing is NOT going to happen.
- Consider manufacturing and selling the idea yourself, perhaps starting as a "low budget" gargage operation and growing
if it becomes successful.
- Consider having a custom manufacturer / job shop make a few to a few hundred (depending on your invention) of your invention or of its components and you assemble and sell them. This will take upfront money.
- If your invention requires injection molded plastic parts, we suggest you strongly consider another manfacturing method or forgetting your idea and moving on to another one!. Injection mold tooling costs are astronomical.
- If your invention is for the consumer market, read the consumer fitness magazines (Muscle & Fitness, etc). Study them for similar products and see how they are sold.
- Use your computer to produce a nice one page brochure describing your product and indicating its operation, features and benefits. This can be an excellent tool for showing your product to others now and later for selling your product or licensing your invention.
- Obtain competitive units and test them alongside your unit. Use this knowledge to better sell the features and benefits of your invention.
- We have a Funnel Chart that describes why people participate in specific leisure activities. Give this process some thought as to how it applies to your device.
Where can I have a prototype built?
Where can I obtain some funding?
Is my invention unique?
How do I get a patent? Should I get a patent?
How much will a patent cost?
Where can I find a manufacturer?
How can I explain my device to others and not have them steal my idea?
What is a disclosure document and how do I file one?
How long will it take to get to market?
How much will it cost to get to market and how much money will I make?
What are my odds of failure?
What is a provisional patent, what is patent pending?
Some of these can be answered by the resources listed above, others remain unknown or slowly reveal themselves
as the process moves along. Many of the more nebulous questions are addressed by Inventors Digest magazine from time to time.
I suggest you do some real soul searching about:
What is the market for this device? (Quantity, Geography, Customer Demographics)
What will it cost to manufacture?
What can it be sold for?
What is my cut?
Who are my competitors?
If I was looking at this from the outside, would I invest my mother's retirement fund in this thing?
Take the above two groups of questions, think about them, and take them with you when you go somewhere for assistance. You need to find the answers to these questions and others for your specific situation.
About Us or Submitting Your Idea to Us
We received hundreds of unsolicited invention proposals, mostly from invention submission firms that take your money and say they will market your invention. We throw them all away. Kessler Corporation is one of the firms that repeatedly sends us the same basic invention announcement with a new name on it. Another one frequently seen on late night TV and the want ads is, Invention Submission Corporation. The mailings we receive say someone has invented a new exercise device that can be used by 96.8 million (number slightly changes every so often) U.S. families, can be made of normal materials (wood, metal, plastic) and can be marketed in sports and retail stores. Boring !!! We throw them away without even opening them anymore.
We sell weight lifting equipment to institutions (NOT for home use). We have received hundreds and hundreds of the invention submissions for home use (retail/consumer) equipment and throw them all away. If you have a fitness invention that has specific application to the prison market, drop us a note. Equipment used in prisons needs to be incredibly durable, safe, no loose parts, not able to be turned into a weapon, no place to hide contraband inside of it, withstand a lot of abuse, require little or no maintenance, and be able to be left outside. Otherwise, we are NOT interested in producing your invention. Do not send them to us or call us about them. However we do provide several weight lifting invention marketing suggestions and links above that you may find quite helpful. I established Strength Tech, Inc. off an invention (okie grip barbell collar). It can be done. Although we are not interested in producing retail products, we do provide market research services for consumer weightlifting equipment as Polson Enterprises.Good luck to you.