Home Fires Burning

One Step at a Time

It's an age-old cliché that "every journey begins with a single step." Unfortunately, many inventors try to jump ahead to the end of the road, when they might be better off starting locally and building the momentum to sell to bigger retailers. Those initial sales might not make tons of money, but they'll fuel future success.

If you have a great idea but don't know where to begin, try attending the meetings of your local inventor clubs. They often have workshops and guest speakers and can put you in contact with the people in your area who can help you succeed. Most also have members who can mentor you during the initial product development process. Find the club nearest you by going to the United Inventors' Association Web site or by calling (716) 359-9310. The association also has an inventor's resource guide available for $9.95.
Another excellent resource for both new and experienced inventors is Inventor's Digest magazine ($27 per year for six issues); subscribe at www.inventorsdigest.com or by calling (719) 479-2290.
Other Web sites to check out include:
One last resource: Small Business Development Centers, which are located throughout the country. Go to www.sba.gov/sbdc for a complete listing of centers.

Don Debelak is a new-business marketing consultant. Send him your invention questions at dondebelak@qwest.net.

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This article was originally published in the July 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Home Fires Burning.

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