A few months ago, I was researching ways to protect my ideas – I wanted to propose a couple of big ones to companies like Apple and Google. I came across this great podcast episode from Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income show called “How to get paid for your ideas.” In the episode, Pat interviews award-winning inventor Stephen Key on how you can get paid for your ideas. The episode is fantastic! Be sure to grab your notepad (physical or digital) and get ready to take notes. I have a couple pages in my Evernote from this episode alone. That doesn’t count all the resources attached to it.
One of the biggest wow moments from the episode was when Stephen talked about a sell sheet. Are you ready to have your mind blown?
A sell sheet is basically a one-page advertisement of your product, or in this case, your idea. You are giving the reader just enough information to spark their interest. The idea here is to lay out your product or idea so that a complete stranger could read this sell sheet and quickly decide if what you have to offer is something they would be interested in. Simple, right?
So Ed, why have you been holding back this information?
Well, to be honest I took notes, shared the podcast on my social media channels, and kept it moving forward. Right after listening to the podcast I crafted 2 sell sheets for 2 app ideas (all sketched out already) and sent them off to Apple. What comes next? Who knows!? But at least I put them out there. More importantly I did my research before putting them out there. I’m not kidding. These ideas could be the next Facebook or Periscope. This topic also came to light from a Facebook post in my social media managers group where I shared this information. I decided on the spot that this needed to be a blog post.
So, how can you take what you learned and apply it? Easy! First, listen to the podcast episode so you can really understand the big picture. Remember, your big idea could be HUGE and you must protect it as much as possible. Second, take this example of a sell sheet and apply it to whatever product, project, or big idea you have. If anything it will spark ideas for you.
Sell Sheet: A one-page advertisement showcasing your product, project, or big idea
- Benefit statement: Condense your idea into one sentence at the top
- Why do people care?
- Always geared to the end consumer
- Show a problem
- Show a solution
- List a few benefits
- Add your contact info at the bottom
Once you have crafted your sell sheet, examine it with a fresh pair of eyes to ensure that you didn’t give too much away and that everything is spelled correctly. Then it’s time to connect with a company.
Research which companies or individuals would be best suited for this product, project, or idea. Then reach out to them and say something like: “Hi ____, I’m (enter your description – inventor, social media manager, sales rep, etc.) and I‘d like to (talk about your product, project or idea) to your company. Who should I talk talk to?” Attach the sell sheet.
Once you find the correct contact person, send them the sell sheet. Remember to keep your email, voicemail, or snail mail message short, sweet, and to the point. The person you are reaching out to doesn’t have time to waste. Plus, the whole point of the sell sheet is to provide just enough information for the individual to decide whether or not to move forward with your idea. If they like what they see then they will call you.
Good luck, my friends!