Not everyone has the courage to take their idea to market all by themselves. The reason could be lack of capital, timing, deficiency in a needed skill, or simply not having the kind of personality to take on such a challenge. Whatever the reason, there is still a way to realize the fruits of your great idea: Sell it to someone who can make it a reality.
There are pros and cons to selling your idea. On the pro side, selling your idea means someone else will be using his or her resources to make your idea a success. An experienced licensee can see the strengths and weaknesses of your idea that you may not be aware of, such as a market or distribution issue you may not have considered. You might also see faster monetary rewards--the right purchaser can get your idea to market more quickly than you can.
On the con side, your control over your idea is reduced, if not eliminated altogether. You will need to work harder to protect your interests (by hiring attorneys and consultants, for instance). You may become frustrated if qualified buyers turn you down for what seems like no good reason. This rejection can be paralyzing. And finally, you may sell your idea only to find the buyer does not effectively develop or market it.
An important point to remember is that the value you place on your great idea (even after taking into consideration all the things you learned in last month's column about building an idea's value) will probably be higher than the value any third party puts on it. The reason is clear: A buyer wants to get your idea at the least possible cost. Hence, he or she will look more skeptically at the sales prospects, the profit potential and the benefits associated with your idea.
Your best offense is to be prepared. Know the facts, and have backup materials, such as research, surveys and consultants' reports, to support your position.