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Question added to topic Starting a BusinessMay 12, 2008

What are the pros and cons of a product-based business?

I am an engineer and I've designed a machine and got it patented. I am struggling between selling my patent or starting my own business. I am trying to balance out all the pros and cons of a product-based business. I had really great offers for my patent, but I think more money can be made if I manufacture the machine and sell it myself. What do you think?
Pros

Chance of making much, much more money
Control your own destiny
Control

Cons

Lots of uncertainty
Chance of losing money
Lots of hard work
Ride in somebody else's boat

By the way, have you actually tried to sell rights to that patent? Make an informed decision. Something like a patent is worth what a buyer will pay for it. Most patents, the vast majority of patents, have no buyers.

And then there's the problem of the buyer who offers a royalty for a license, then does nothing with the patent. You make no money.

And, on the other hand, there's also the chance that you try to build a business and fail. Lose your shirt. Lose your house. Which do you prefer--a bird in the hand, or a successful business that you build yourself in the bush?
Tim Berry is the president of Palo Alto Software Inc., based in Eugene, Ore., which produces business planning software. He is also the author of 3 Weeks to Startup and The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press.

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