QUESTION: What was the time frame between having the idea to you selling the patent?
ANSWER: It took me about 35 seconds to think of the idea for BetterBlocks, then to develop it and get it into the marketplace, about another 3½ years. I was $100,000 in debt and struggling to financially survive…let alone develop a new product. I built the prototypes myself but I couldn’t manufacture it. I wasn’t a marketing person. In fact, there was a long list of skills and resources that I didn’t have. So I had to find them. Then, assemble and lead the team of people who had all of the skills that I didn’t have, but were necessary for BetterBlocks to be successful.
Invest in your team as well as your product. With BetterBlocks, I not only invested in my invention, but I realised there was a whole lot of business skills and resources I did not have. A team effort was required to make BetterBlocks successful. The people in my team may not have been as inventive as me, but were far better at manufacturing, sourcing venture capitalist, marketing, drafting contracts and many more things I was not so good at but knew were important.
To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I attract the people I need in my projects, but I seem to be able to do it. It’s like my new kids entrepreneurial project. I had an idea that I wanted to teach kids about inventing, money and entrepreneurship, because, from experience, they seemed to be interested in these subjects. I knew whatever we created needed to be entertaining, because kids like to be entertained. And that was about all I really knew. Then off I went and told people I’ve got this idea, and now I’m beginning to assemble a team of really excellent people. Not only people who can produce great products, but also internet marketing people, but encouragement from people in general. Again, I’m assembling a team of people around me who are far more skilled in their areas than I am and that’s ultimately what will make my kids entrepreneurial project a successful product and a successful business.