Tag Archives: Independently Wealthy

Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?

Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?
by Andrew R. Spriegel
February 23, 2011

ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC is finally ready to sign the non-exclusive licensing agreements and make money on our product!

The product is a dripless baster.  Here is the initial prototype:

 

Baster Valve

Baster Valve Inserted into the Tube

I don’t know why it took me seven years to figure out how to market my business partner’s and my invention.  My business partner is Howard Loewenthal, a principal engineer at Invacare Corporation. We developed a dripless baster that we have attempted to market and sell for years.

Here is a video of a typical baster in operation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kUYyJ5ACYA

Here is a video of the ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC dripless baster

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rs5c96jKes&NR=1

We tried over and over to sell the baster with the check valve, we were in a position of weakness.  Last year we received a licensing offer from Merry Chance, a Chinese Company, that was below our expectations. In spite of our desire to so settle a deal, we turned down the offer and it dawned on me!!!

We don’t have to sell the baster!!….We just have to sell the valve!!!

INSTANTLY WE WENT FROM A POSITION OF WEAKNESS TO A POSITION OF STRENGTH!  Either you license out valve and have a dripless baster or pass and sell a baster that LEAKS!

Introducing the:

In comes Van Washburn from FIT-Brands www.fit-brands.com to handle the marketing and a new video:

www.wondervalv.com

Off to the Housewares Show in Chicago next month, we will keep you posted on the outcome!

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The Pet Rock was more than a gag or fad it was a brilliant marketing strategy

The Pet Rock was more than a gag or fad it was a brilliant marketing strategy

By Andrew Spriegel
January 16, 2011

Nothing is as easy or as simple as it seems.  How times have you heard someone say “A guy made millions selling pet rocks.”

Marketing, Marketing and More Marketing

In inventing, retail and service businesses, success or failure often depends on marketing.

Gary Dahl, a Los Gatos, California advertising professional was in a bar in 1975 with his friends who were complaining about their pets.   Dahl, as a joke told his friends that he considered dogs, cats, birds, and fish messy, not well-behaved and they cost too much money,  he had a pet rock.  His “pet” was clean, well-mannered, easy to care for, required no expensive foods required no feeding, bathing, walking, grooming, was well-behaved, had an even temperament, would not grow elderly or pass away or become sick.  They were the perfect pets, and Gary joked about it with his friends.  However, he soon took the idea seriously, and went home and started to write an instruction manual for a pet rock.  The manual was full of jokes and gags that referred to the inanimate rock as a pet.

Dahl quit his job to launch Rock Bottom Productions, the company that sold the pet rocks for $3.95 per “pet”.   Marketing, packaging and shipping the pet rock like live pets, in cardboard, pet carrier boxes, with straw for the rock to rest on and breathing holes.  Large volume sales only lasted about six months, however sales made Dahl a millionaire.

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio

Innovators and Genius in Ohio
Tom Moran
By Andrew R. Spriegel
December 30, 2010

There are many stories about the lack of innovation and the down economy in the Ohio and Cleveland Area.  Enter Tom Moran of Midwest Plastic Fabricators (MPF) in Aurora, Ohio.  Innovator and Inventor of numerous patented manufacturing processes and products, Tom is a 45 year veteran and leader in the industry.

One of the innovative products is a line of NEMA PVC Junction Boxes.  A combination of innovative materials and patented cutting edge technology combines for easy installation and reduced life cycle cost.

PVC offers less resistance than conventional metal in cutting holes for conduit entrance.  In addition, non-conductive PVC eliminates potential shock hazard.  In addition, its non-corrosive properties offer longer life and environmental integrity.

Photo Above: Light weight PC Enclosures offer Heavy Duty Performance for food process applications

Photo Above: Innovative Non Metallic PVC Enclosures feature Three-Point Latching

Photo Above: Patented PVC Elbow Crate Saves warehouse Space and is a dispenser pack.

Consider the Fulton Road Bridge,

a Cleveland engineering landmarks is a $44 million architectural attraction that spans the Cleveland Metropark Zoo


and Big Creek Valley.

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Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

By Tara1 | Published: December 1, 2010

portion padl pizza cutter

My thanks to Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel for agreeing to an interview with me about his business partner Greg Getzinger’s invention the Portion PadL and how together they brought the product to market. The Portion PadL was invented to enable pizza businesses to quickly and easily slice pizzas into equal pieces. The Portion PadL is available for both commercial and home use.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you are based and your career background?

Andrew Spriegen Inventor and Patent Attorney

Andrew: I worked most of my career as a Manager or a Lead Senior Electro-Mechanical Engineer for Fortune 100 companies, GE, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Invacare and others.  My experience involves a wide range of products, satellites, locomotives, off-highway vehicles, medical durable goods, surgical devices and consumer goods.  I have many US and international patents and had made a lot of money for other companies.  At 48 years old I decided to go to law school to become a patent attorney and commercialize my own products and other’s products.  I now own a patent law firm (www.Smart2Patent.com) and own several businesses commercializing products.

Tara: Is the Portion PadL the first invention you have bought to market?

Andrew: No, I had brought numerous products to market prior to the Portion PadL.

Tara: I understand that the original idea for the Portion PadL was invented by Greg Getzinger with whom you are now in business. Please could you tell me a little bit about Greg, how he came up with his invention and how the two of you connected and set up your business?

Greg Getzinger

Andrew: Prior to owning a pizza business (Pizza BOGO, www.pizzabogo.com) ), Greg was a Vice President for a large Insurance Company.  He developed the equal slice pizza cutting board (Portion PadL, www.PortionPadL.com) for his business to develop school and institutional accounts.  He heard complaints about unequal size slices of pizzas and worked on developing a solution for the problem.  Greg and I met at a networking event that his group was having at the building where my law firm is located.  It was a chili cook-off and Greg brought in a “chili pizza” on one of his prototype boards.  I saw the board and I asked him if it was patented and said that if it wasn’t it would be a great product to patent and commercialize.  We formed NuVo Grand, LLC as equal members.

Tara: Did you start with working drawings of the product or did you make a prototype?

Andrew: Greg built numerous prototypes (20+) of the equal slice pizza cutting board.  He was trying to perfect the cutting board for his business.  He did not have drawings, rather his father-in-law was making various designs based on Greg’s dimensions.  Greg tried numerous materials, sizes, grooves…

Tara: How did you go about protecting the invention?

Andrew: I have written two utility patents on the cutting board and I am working on a third utility patent.  We are building up a lot of intellectual property around the product.

Click here to see Video

Tara; Were there any mistakes, issues or problems you both experienced in the process of commercialization of the idea?

Andrew: Actually it has gone very smoothly.  Greg and I seem to compliment each other’s skill sets.  Greg is great at sales and marketing and I knew how to have the product manufactured, the manufacturers, the processes and protecting intellectual property.  I spent my career commercializing complex products very quickly and therefore I help inventors avoid the mistakes made by the typical inventors. Greg did encounter a big snow storm delivering materials to the manufacturer…a two hour trip turning into a twelve hour ordeal.

Tara: Did you consider licensing the invention or did you always plan to manufacture it yourself?

Andrew: The only products that I pursue are patentable, simple, revolutionary and either we can manufacture or have someone manufacture, preferably one at a time.  I prefer to take an order and then manufacture the product, that way you get to positive cash flow quickly.  Inventors often run out of money because they buy large quantities of product to get a good price on the product and they wind up with a garage full of product they can’t sell.

In my experience, licensing a product is a difficult thing to do.  Either you don’t get a deal, someone attempts to steal or design around the product or you get offered pennies on the dollar.

If you can manufacture and sell the product you start to “take away market share” and companies sit up and notice.  At that point if you sell or license the product you get a much better deal.

Tara: How will you go about marketing and publicizing your product? Do you intend to sell the product direct to businesses and public yourself or are you planning to wholesale it?

Andrew: Greg started marketing the product to large companies right away.  He has a real talent for sales.  Greg knows that it takes a lot of “no responses” to get a single yes.  Now our customers are Domino’s, Schwan’s, Speedway, Piccadilly Circus Pizza…and many Mom and Pop pizza shops.

I built the website www.PortionPadL.com and work with bloggers and social networking to build the brand.  If you Google “Portion PadL” we are the main listing for about the first six pages.

Tara: How long has it taken from Greg’s initial idea to where you both are now with the business?

Andrew: We have been working together less than a year.

Tara: What advice would you give to an aspiring inventor who thinks they have a good idea?

Andrew: We all love our own ideas, you have to determine if there is a market for the product.

Here are some of my key decision factors:

  • 1. Is the product Protectable? (Patent, Trademark, Copyright…)
    • a. If you have a great product and it is not protected people will copy it fairly quickly.
    • b. If you can’t protect the product I wouldn’t bother commercializing it
      • i. However, there are products that sell very well such as the Snuggies, the Amish Fireplace…but those products have been successful because of large ad campaigns
    • c.    The Portion PadL is protected by numerous Utility Patents Pending so it’s met that key decision factor
  • 2.    Is the product Revolutionary?
    • a. If it meets “a need” it is likely a commodity
      • i. People can listen to music on a large number of MP3 players
    • b.    If it meets “a want” it is likely Revolutionary
      • i. The iPod is the product that people want to listen to music on and therefore they have the largest market share.
    • c. The Portion PadL has numerous advantages over the existing products that assist people in cutting and therefore it is a “want” product.
  • 3. Can be manufactured “one at a time” until you have volume orders?
    • a. In the initial stages of commercializing the product we bought a full sheet of Richlite and when a customer ordered one we had the manufacturer make one and ship it.  That way we got to positive cash flow quickly.

Tara: What advice would you give to an inventor who has already developed and manufactured their product and are now looking at ways to publicize and market it?

Andrew: If they don’t have the expertise get help.  Many inventors have a great idea or product but they get in their own way because they have no idea how to sell it.  The product fails not because of the product but because the inventor cannot let go of controlling everything.

Tara: You have started creating a series of books for inventors chronicling the journey of inventors from invention idea to commercialization, perhaps you could tell me a little more about what you hope to achieve with the books?

Andrew: The series is called the Spilled Coffee Chronicles of Invention. I have several writers documenting inventors progress in commercializing products.  I have a high success rate in commercializing products and the books will help inventors avoid the many inventors pitfalls.  The books describe the successes and the failures along the way.  The volumes are just starting to be published but the first volume for the Portion PadL is on Kindle and Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/2wspqrh and http://tinyurl.com/36ypa6a, respectively.  The books are also written to dispel many of the myths around inventing.  It is not a get rich quick thing, it takes hard work and persistence.  The books generate income for the inventors, the writers, myself and for reinvesting in publishing the series.

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Self Publishing is a Great Way to Promote your Business and Services

Self Publishing is a Great Way to Promote your Business and Services
by Andrew R. Spriegel
Patent Attorney
Spriegel & Associates, LLC
Patent and Trademark Attorneys
http://www.smart2Patent.com

Self publishing a book has become easier and more profitable and a great way to brand yourself.

The Spilled Coffee Chronicles is a series of volumes that document real world examples of an actual invention or business. This series (the Equal Slice Cutting Board) is made up of numerous volumes.  The Equal Slice Cutting Board (www.PortionPadL.com) series is the factual story and the actual experience of an inventor Greg Getzinger and me as we worked together to move an invention from an idea to a successful, commercialized product.  The Product is exceeding all sales expectations with Domino’s Pizza, Schwan’s Foods, Piccadilly Circus Pizza, Speedway and many others.

The Spilled Coffee Chronicles of Invention™ is a series of volumes about any invention, created and owned by Andrew R. Spriegel.  Each series of volumes documents the actual ideas, creation, production and marketing of a single invention.  The SCCI documents both the
successes and failures along the path.  Inventing the Pizza Cutting Board (the Portion PadL™) examines one invention with multiple volumes that concentrate on one or more aspects of the process. Volume One, The Inventors, takes a look at what it takes to be
an inventor and helps you to commercialize your idea or product if you move forward.

Books available in both electronic and paperback versions:

Paperback book on Amazon $14.99

 

Electronic book on Kindle $4.95

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Ask the Experts

Andrew R. Spriegel interviewed by www.asktheexperts.org.uk 2010

The Invention of Trying
by Paul David Lucas

What drives people to become inventors? Perhaps Edison thought it would be an illuminating experience; maybe Watt thought it would be a good way of letting off steam. However, for Andrew Spriegel, it’s about making dreams become a reality.

Admittedly Mr Spriegel may not yet rank up there with the likes of Henry Ford, Wilbur Wright and George Stephenson, but his achievements should not be overlooked. He has already racked up dozens of patents to his name including products for the Invacare Corporation that dominates a $120 million a year market and has no competitor that has yet challenged the product for features and functions; and his first patent for a Laparoscopic Surgery device.

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Mr Spriegel went on to work in lead electromechanical design engineering or management positions for companies such as GE Astro Space, GE Transportation Systems, GE-Lubrizol, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Invacare, GOJO Industries, Kensey Nash Corporation and IBM, while also working on designs and projects involving NASA, International and US Air Force satellites, the Space Station, Locomotives, Off-highway vehicles, surgical devices and durable medical equipment.  It’s an impressive resume, but despite his personal achievements, Mr. Spriegel is not only focused on his own career – he’s also keen to help others reach the top.

At 48, he entered law school to study patent law and has since set up his own firm – Spriegel and Associates – to assist inventors and companies with the complicated world of patent law.“We take on inventors only if we believe they can commercialize their product,” he said.

“If we think the inventor won’t be successful, for example if their product is too complicated, they don’t have the necessary skills/drive, they believe it is a ‘get rich quick’ thing then we turn them away.  We want our firm to be known as a patent law firm with a high success rate in helping people commercialize products.”

Among the latest products Spriegel is helping to become a reality is the Portion PadL, which allows users to cut equal slices of pizza very quickly. It may seem straightforward enough but it solves a number of problems for food companies and fundraisers alike – because equal slices of pizza mean increased sales, reduced food waste and improved presentation.

“It actually does what it is supposed to do and that is to allow the user to cut equal slices of pizza very quickly,” commented Spriegel. “Greg Getzinger (the inventor) did a lot of research and experimentation to perfect the product. In addition, Greg is a pizza shop owner, very driven, a lot of fun and great at marketing the product.”Another of his hot products is the Nee-Z-eeZ a sleep aid device designed to ease the pain in your back, legs, hips and knees. Inventor Frank Fleischer, who initially developed the product for himself, earns high praise from Spriegel for the shrewdness of his invention and for capitalizing on a gap in the market.

“Frank Fleischer, the principal inventor, is 80 years old and can run circles around a lot of people much younger,” he said. “It amazed me how many people sleep with a pillow between their legs to align their hips. Frank owned a very large shoe business and they built specialized shoes. He knew there was a large population of people that needed the product.”

Of course it’s not just individuals to which Spriegel’s inventions hold appeal – he is also keen to push products with mass market potential for businesses, such as the MyTee golf business card which helps companies get their name out into the public domain by die stamping five foldable golf tees to a business card.

“We are selling the card both in the US and internationally,” said Spriegel. “The people/companies that have purchased it and distribute it love it.”

So with so many inventions under his belt, what advice would Spriegel offer to up and coming innovators?

“Commercialize products that are unique and very simple,” he said. “I tell them not to work on a product that they can’t get manufactured in small quantities and sell themselves – this can give you positive cash flow very quickly. Never start with a product that needs tooling or that you can’t fund yourself.”

He’s also keen to drive home the importance of trademarks and patents and that inventors should seek legal advice as early as possible.

“Many business people don’t realize that a business name/trademark can be the most valuable intellectual property that they develop,” he said. “They often use a common name that will have little or no value. For example, Coke is calculated to be worth approximately $67 billion, Intel $32.3 billion, IBM $56.2 billion. Companies spend a lot of money advertising their name every day, but if your name is Joe’s Pizza it is difficult to build that name into a brand, as opposed to Dominos, for example.”

He continued: “I would never commercialize a product unless I could patent it. I think an inventor should approach a patent attorney as soon as possible in the process. I also tell inventors that in commercializing a product that the patent/trademark fees in the end will only be a small part of the expenses.

“People say that inventors can write their own patents and it reminds me of the commercial where the guy is talking to his surgeon on the phone and the surgeon is telling the guy where to cut into himself to do the operation.”

The ability to try lies in all of us. The invention of trying is the technology behind the next phase of breakthrough and the next generation of inventors.

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Invent and Grow Rich – Here are a few examples of Self-Made Millionares

33 percent of Self Made Millionaires are Entrepreneurs – Many based on simple or accidental Ideas

 

FitDeck – http://www.fitdeck.com

Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disastrous idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported 2005 sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what the military pays.

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Designer Diaper Bags – http://www.diapeesandwipees.com/ 

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that’s big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie’s company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

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Got Junkhttp://www.1800gotjunk.com

This junk removal service was established in Vancouver, Canada in 1989 by founder and current CEO Brian Scudamore. He purchased a used pickup truck for $700 and came up with the slogan “We’ll stash your trash in a flash.” In 1993, months before his graduation, Scudamore quit university to concentrate on his business full time. Naturally his father, who was a Doctor by occupation, wasn’t too excited about his son’s professional plans but had to give in seeing his son’s enthusiasm. All you’ve got to do is call the company up, tell them you have a bunch of junk stashed up, and they will come and hurl it away! The company has established more than 220 franchises throughout the United States, Canada and Australia, and is worth more than $100 million

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http://www.pickydomains.com

Setting up a website today is a piece of cake. But finding the domain name that you want and which already is not taken is quite the opposite. So one man exploited this opportunity and came up with a unique idea that made him considerably rich; he simply suggested domain names for websites. Mind you it does take a certain degree of creativity! So here is how it works: after depositing 50 dollars, clients start receiving a list of available domain names via e-mail for a 30 day period. If they see a domain they like, they register it and notify the service about domain acquired. If no domain is registered, the money is refunded in full. The firm is now worth at least $5 million, courtesy this ridiculously simple idea.

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Toll House Cookies

When she ran out of baker’s chocolate in 1930, Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Mass., baked the first chocolate-chip cookie by adding semisweet chocolate bits to the recipe. Incorrectly, she had assumed the end result would be plain chocolate cookies. She named the accidental result after the inn in which she baked, the Toll House.

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