Navigating the Invention Journey: A Savvy Inventor's Guide for Asking the Right Questions to Expert Service Providers

by Brian Fried | 22 Feb 2024

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed

Dear Inventors,

Embarking on the thrilling journey of bringing your invention from concept to market is a testament to your creativity and determination. As an inventor coach with over 18 years of experience, I'm here to guide you through the essential questions to ask service providers and introduce exciting resources that can make your inventive process even more rewarding.


Introduction: Setting the Stage for Success


Before exploring the key questions for each service provider, it's essential to ensure you're well-prepared to seek the help you need. If you're in the early stages and have an idea but are unsure where to start, here are some questions to consider and ask:


The Inventor's Brainstorm: Working with an Advisor or Investor
Navigating the path from idea to market begins with seeking guidance from experienced professionals. Here are key questions to ask:

1. Experience and Approach:
   - How do you work with inventors in the early stages of idea development?
   - Can you share examples of inventors you've coached to successful commercialization?
   - What methodologies do you use to tailor coaching/mentoring to individual inventors?

   - Are you willing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure/ profit sharing for services or investment?
   - Can you provide a breakdown of costs associated with various coaching/mentoring stages?
3. Inventor's Role:
   - What information do you need from inventors during coaching?
   - How can an inventor prepare for sessions to maximize collaboration?

Protecting Your Invention: Engaging with a Patent Attorney or Agent
Understanding intellectual property protection is vital. When considering a patent attorney or agent, ask:

1. Collaboration and Communication:**
   - How do you collaborate with an inventor during the patent application process?
   - Can you provide references of inventors you've secured a patent for or other intellectual property?
   - How do you communicate progress to inventors?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for patent-related services?
   - Can you outline costs for different patent types including trademarks?

3. Inventor's Role:
   - What documentation should inventors provide for the patent process?
   - How can an inventor assist in ensuring accurate patent information?

Designing the Blueprint: Engaging Engineers and Product Designers
Selecting the right professionals to bring your invention to life requires careful consideration. Ask potential engineers or designers:

1. Working Dynamics:
   - What is your preferred approach to working with inventors during the design phase?
   - Can you share insights into your collaborative process, especially in addressing design challenges?
   - How do you incorporate inventor input into the design process?
   - Are you willing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for design services?
   - Are there additional costs for revisions based on inventor feedback and when?

3. Inventor's Role:
   - What input do you expect from an inventor during the design phase?
   - What materials or information should an inventor provide for the design process?

Crafting a Visual Identity: Graphic Design and Branding
Creating a strong visual identity for your invention is crucial. When seeking graphic designers, ask:

1. Inventor Involvement:
   - How do you involve inventors in creating product logos, sell sheets, and packaging design?
   - Can you share instances where inventor input significantly influenced the final product identity?
   - What is your preferred method of communication and feedback exchange with inventors during the design phase?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for graphic design services?
   - Are there additional costs for creating variations or additional collateral?
   - Are you willing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

3. Inventor's Role:
   - What information or insights should inventors provide to ensure the design aligns with the intended brand image?
   - How can inventors actively contribute to the development of a compelling visual identity?

Prototyping Excellence: Choosing the Right Prototyper
Prototyping is a crucial step in bringing your invention to life. Here are questions to consider:

1. Inventor Collaboration:
   - How do you involve inventors in the prototyping process, and what level of collaboration do you encourage?
   - Can you share examples of successful prototypes resulting from close collaboration with inventors?
   - What measures do you take to ensure inventors are satisfied with prototype iterations?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for prototyping, and does it include multiple iterations?
   - Are there additional costs for adjustments based on inventor feedback?
   - Are you willing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

3. Inventor's Role:
   - What files or information do you require from an inventor to initiate the prototyping process?
   - How can an inventor actively participate in refining and enhancing the prototype?

Licensing for Success: Partnering with a Licensing Agent
If your goal is to license your invention, engaging with a licensing agent is essential. Ask:

1. Inventor Engagement Strategy:
   - How do you actively involve inventors in the search for licensing opportunities?
   - Can you share instances where an inventor's input was instrumental in securing a licensing deal?
   - What steps do you take to keep an inventor informed and engaged throughout the licensing negotiation process?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for licensing services?
   - Are there additional costs for legal and contractual aspects of licensing negotiations?
   - What are the expectations of royalty and advance payments for a licensing deal in the industry?

3. Inventor's Role:
   - What information or materials should inventors provide to enhance the marketing potential of their invention?
   - How can inventors actively contribute to the licensing process?

Bringing Your Invention to Life: Manufacturing Considerations
Finally, when it comes to manufacturing, ask the following questions:

1. Collaboration with Startups:
   - How do you involve startups in the manufacturing process, especially during the transition from prototype to mass production?
   - Can you share examples where close collaboration with startups led to successful manufacturing outcomes?
   - What steps do you take to address and involve startups in quality control and production efficiency considerations?

2. Qualification and Pricing:
   - What is your pricing structure for manufacturing guidance, and does it cover the entire production process?
   - Are there additional costs for addressing unforeseen manufacturing challenges?
   - Are you willing to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?
   - Can you help with sourcing additional parts if needed, or assembly, and packaging?
3. Startup's Role:
   - What information or materials do you need from startups to facilitate a smooth transition to mass production?
   - How can startups actively participate in ensuring the quality and efficiency of the manufacturing process?

Suggestions for Networking, Collaboration, and Resources
In addition to the comprehensive questions outlined above, consider expanding your network and seeking collaborations through various platforms and communities. Here are additional avenues to explore:

- Inventor Smart Community App:
  - Explore the capabilities of the Inventor Smart Community app (, the pioneering social media platform designed exclusively for inventors seeking networking opportunities and collaboration. Gain access to valuable advice and resources while connecting with like-minded inventors. This app serves as a centralized hub for exchanging experiences and knowledge. Download the app now from the Google Play or Apple App Store to join this innovative community.

- National Inventor Club:
  - Joining the National Inventor Club offers a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, access exclusive resources, and participate in events that can further enrich your journey. Membership through the Inventor Smart Community app.

- Freelancer and Expert Services Platforms:
  - Explore to find freelance experts who can contribute to various aspects of your invention process, from design to marketing.
  - – a newly launched service provider directory designed to connect inventors with a range of experts, fostering collaboration and support throughout the invention process.

- Prototyping and Manufacturing:
  - Utilize for convenient and efficient do-it-yourself prototype ordering.

- Manufacturers Directory:
  - Navigate, a comprehensive USA directory, to find reliable service providers across different industries who can contribute to the development and success of your invention.
  - Look into websites such as which can be a valuable resource for connecting with manufacturing partners overseas.
- Inventor Coach/Consultant:
 - is my personal website and people call me the "Inventor Coach", guiding people with ideas in their head to commercialization through licensing royalties and manufacturing.
 - is an online 3 hour e-learning course with worksheets included, to navigate you through each step of the invention process.
 - "How to Make Money with Your Invention Idea" is a quick read and inventors quick startup guide. 

Dear inventors, as you navigate this thrilling journey, remember to infuse each step with a blend of passion and business-minded acumen. 
Your creativity is the driving force, but sound business decisions at every turn are crucial for your invention's success.
Approach each step strategically, evaluating not just immediate gains but also long-term benefits. 
Let passion guide you, but ensure your choices align with a calculated approach for sustainability and prosperity. 
Consider the potential return on investment, weigh risks, and stay vigilant in your decisions.
The journey to success is dynamic, and collaborations and resources can elevate your path. 
Connect with fellow inventors, utilize online platforms, and explore valuable directories like, the Inventor Smart Community app, and the National Inventor Club. 
Find additional resources as they provide not just support but also open doors to insights, collaborations, and opportunities.
Your inventive vision is more than a creation; it's a potential business with lasting impact. 
Stay inspired, tap into diverse resources, and with each strategic decision, bring your invention one step closer to success.

Inventively Yours,

Brian Fried

inventors #Invention innovation product development licensing inventor coach

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!