Even if you're not ready to present your product at a show, you should take every opportunity to visit invention conventions in your area. Shows offer a wide forum for networking with other inventors and finding sources for legal advice, prototype building and manufacturing small lots. At many shows, you can also attend workshops designed to help you prepare your product for market.
Invention shows may not be the quick route to riches inventors often dream of, but they're a great way to learn more about the task in front of you, meet valuable contacts and get a better feel for exactly how much potential your idea really has. Kim and the Hrabars, both, were disappointed by the outcomes of the shows they attended in the spring of 1999. But not discouraged, they both signed up to attend the Yankee Invention Exposition in November 1999. Even though they didn't get financing or close any deals this time around either, they received more feedback from marketers as well as many new leads to follow up on. They learned that the invention trade shows are a cost-effective way to get just a little bit closer to success--even if they don't sign that "big deal" right away.