Monthly Archives: March 2012

YEARLY EVENTS 2012 – MONTH BY MONTH RUNDOWN

6th March

LOOKING FOR OTHER PRODUCTS

I’m spending the next few days looking for other patents on the market, hopefully I won’t find anything and I can start this long journey. Looking forward to designing again, it’s been a few years since I’ve sharpened the pencil! 😉 I hope it’s like riding a bike! The question is, can I remember how to draw?! lol

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I’m just about to put pen to paper and start brain storming, apologies for the terminology but I’m old school, to be PC “ Mind Mapping “ but before I start and find out if this journey is a none starter. I’ve already written to a few Patent attorneys, I’ve asked for their advice, I’m just waiting to get some replies.

While I’m sat here in the lounge at stupid o’clock in the morning, I’m currently looking at patents within the UK, so far I haven’t found a single product that matches my idea, diddly squat! There’s some similar ideas out there but nothing exact, it’s starting to look promising. When I’ve finished with the UK searches it’s on with the USA & ROW. A big part of me is hopeful!

I would say that this part is useful in other ways as it makes you aware of other products that are either patent pending or granted patents, it even highlights patents back in the 1800’s! I don’t think they had car seat’’s back then! Lol on with the search!……

 

 

8th March

PATENT SEARCH – U.S.A & R.O.W

 

Well I’ve spent 2 days ( well night and evenings ) looking for patents and products within the UK and I haven’t found anything! Whoop! Starting to get excited about the prospect of designing this product. I’m now looking in the USA and ROW and again I can’t seem to find anything? I’m hoping that this particular idea can fall in the category “ A World First “! I’ve had a reply from some patent attorneys and their advice is spend time looking for patents now and they can do this as well for a small nominal fee of £500.00 and see if your idea has already been filed. If you / they can’t find anything straight away, then it’s worth starting the design process. I’m giving this patent search another 2 days and that’ll be 4 full days of looking and trawling for patents. I’ll have to consider this £500.00, it’s a lot of money but if it stops you in your tracks straight away, that’s a lot of time and money saved. Even though I was told that a patent can still come out the wood work later but you can then pay the person who owns the patent rights a license fee. To me that’s game on! Lol onwards and upwards.

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To date I can only find a few products that have a similar background but they either rock just a crib or just a car seat. There isn’t a product that I can find, that will attach to a car seat, crib, bouncer or mosses basket and is fully portable. I do believe I’m at that stage where I can look at designing this product. I must admit, my eyes are square, looking at the screen for so long but I‘m hoping I can say, A world first here I come! Time to get the pad and pen out!

 

 

12TH March

JOBS TO DO – PATENT SEARCH & QUOTES

 

I’ve decided to keep a monthly diary, not weekly, as time is flying by but I’ll update each week and put down what I’ve been up to, noting any comments, choices, concerns. This way, other future entrepreneurs can follow and read what I had to do and any decisions I would change, I’m hoping not too many! Lol

I can finally say, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m blind! I’ve finished all the searches that I can do and I can confirm that I haven’t found any products like for like or patents that match my product / invention. Whoop whoop! I’ve also listed and come up with all the innovative steps that will make my product different to any other products that might have had a patent filed against it. This is one of the most important parts on any patent application, make sure you have that “ inventive step “.

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Now I’ve completed the searches, I can start the design process, think about what the product should look like. I’m going to reply to some of these patent attorneys and get some further costings, how much does a patent cost to file?.

I’ll still have to juggle my main job during the day and design and run this project in the evenings and weekend. I’ve already spoken to the wife as previously mentioned and she’s supporting me 100%! One recommendation to other entrepreneurs / parents out there wanting to do this, make sure you get the support of the family! I think it’s going to take some time to get into a routine to juggle so many balls but it should be worth it!

Jobs to do:- design for this week and wait for quotes from patent attorneys.

I’ve just had some costs through and they do range from £1k up to £8k! There’s a big difference, I’d recommend shopping around and get those quotes in. I think I know who I’m going to use in the future but always work to budgets and stick to them. I used to be a project manager in my past life before I started my own business and this has helped run this project so far, control money and time keeping.

 

 

19th March

THE DESIGN PROCESS STARTS

 

I’ve put pen to paper, looking at how the product will look and work. I’ve noted the sizes of car seats, cribs and the angles needed to rock / bounce each of the apparel. Looking at the old 60’s radio for inspiration and shapes that keep the centre of gravity low to the ground. Had a late night with the little one not sleeping, I could do with a product that will help, right now! Lol

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I’ve got some good ideas and shapes that will work, a round base seems to be the way forward. I’m also looking at how I attach the product to the car seat. Looking into baby products, safety legislation, I’ve got to take into consideration the length of the cord, it can’t be over 220mm ( strangulation reasons ) maybe have to look at having it in 2 halves. Writing out a brief of what I’m looking for in the product, how it looks, ease of use. It’s always good to note your thoughts about the design, mainly so I can pass this onto designers in the future.

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I’ve got to admit, being a project manager in my past working career has helped me manage how I work now. I’d recommend a plan on what work you have to do and when you can do it? I’ve had a busy month with my main job, getting work back on track, as well as looking after my baby girl. The designs will continue….

 

 

2nd April

FIRST PROTOTYPE & JOBS TO DO

 

I’ve now got some ideas on paper, I need to find out if the theory can be turned into a practical 1st PROTOTYPE. I’ll have to use things that I can buy from the shops, find in the garage. The product has also taken on a new lease of life, I’ve created different versions, looking at safety and what other products we could sell along side this product. It’s starting to turn into a real business. Existing times.com

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I’ve put a brief together for some CAD designs and professional product designers. Ill have to look into companies that could do this, I’ll just add it to the list of jobs to do. So far I’ve narrowed the list down to 12 design companies, only a few then! lol

I’m now putting a list of questions together for parents to answer, I can then get feedback about the product concept and see if parents would buy a product like this, if there was one available in the shops? I’m hoping I get a good response from the parents as this will give me an indication if this product has a good commercial prospect. I have my fingers crossed, as well as everything else! lol

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Starting to look into my business plan. I have to think about future investors and what I’ve got to include. Looks like the business plan could take some time, plenty of work in that itself. I could do with getting a helping hand to do some of the work, I guess it’s just me myself and I. I’d better just crack on and get everything down on paper. I’ve enjoyed the journey so far!

 

 

7th May

PATENT COMPANY & DESIGN IDEAS BECOME REALITY

 

I’ve got a meeting set up with a patent company and hopefully I’ll be sorting out a possible patent application when we’ve designed the product. I want to make sure I’ve got a priority date for this product, main recommendation I was given by all attorney, I would agree with this.

I think I have a design company lined up. I had to write to over 12 design companies to find a company that seems to fit within the specification I was looking for, do your home work and see if you can find any reviews or other projects the design companies have worked on.

I’ve now met up with both companies ( patent & design ) and everything seems to be on track. I’m getting the patent company to do their checks on other patents as well. I might as well invest the £500.00, they are the professionals and know what they are looking for and seem to know what they are doing. This only takes a few days so I should hear back very soon. I just hope I don’t have bad news waiting for me! “ Sorry Mr newton but………”

GOOD NEWS, THE PATENT ATTORNEY CAN’T FIND ANY SIMILAR PATENTS EITHER! That’s a double Whoop!

patent 1988

I’ve also spoken with the design company and we’re going to put some of my design concepts into CAD and check which power source we can use. They are also developing the overall look of the design & future proof the product. The design company will take my design ideas and put something together. Things are slowly coming together.

Starting to write briefs and content for the business plan. I’m also looking at what to call the business. I’m either going to use the names of the people involved or just call the business what it is. So many things to do but not enough time to do it all in! Do they have a 36 hour day? Lol

I can’t believe that my little one is 3 months old already, still not sleeping very well, my wife and myself have our routine down to a tee, one night on and one night off. While I’m up with my baby girl at night, I’m working on IBP. Killing 2 birds with one stone, looking after my baby while developing a baby product ( multi tasking ) I’m just hoping that all of this hard work will pay off! Positive thinking! 🙂

 

 

4th June

CHOOSING THE BUSINESS NAME & PRODUCT

 

I’ve decided to call the business IBP – Innovative Baby Product Ltd. I’ll have to check with companies house and make sure no one has already taken this name and check that all the websites names are free? Hoping that no else has thought of it, otherwise it’s back to the drawing board.

I’m looking at what to call the product as well, I’m thinking of using words like rock, bounce, bouncing, jump? There’s something also missing from the product that I think needs to make it stand out? This is the designer in me coming out. I currently have an animal shape / cover that goes over the base but I think it needs something else to make it completely different, stand out in the shop, make those mummies say, argh, how cute or isn’t that fab! lol Thinking cap on.

Just checked if ibp.co.uk is free online and someone else has it, there’s no way I’m paying £10k for the name, ridiculous! I’m sure I can find an alternative. Also looking at the .com range.

Managed to find innbp.co.uk & .com! Result! I’ll have to make sure that they are free next month and get everything booked in. For the cost I might as well get it now, even if you don’t use them, it’s only cost £5.00 and there’s no “ I knew I should of got it ‘.

I’m looking at using a multitude of colours for the IBP logo, possibly use some grey to make it contemporary. I think the font should be round, to stand out existing new born baby products, make the font look soft. I’ll start to mess about with some ideas. I’m glad I can draw to a certain degree, a close friend of mine is currently putting some ideas together ( graphic designer / illustrator – very talented ).

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I’ve narrowed the product name list down to Rockeroo, Bounceroo seeing as another major baby company has already taken “Jumperoo” – will be checking which names are free for the product. Hopefully have the final name of both the business and product by the end of the month. I’ve now got my working schedule / plan all sorted. Working during the day and in the evening drop onto IBP, touch wood, it all seems to be working fine!

 

 

2nd July

FIRST DESIGNS & WEBSITE

 

I can confirm that I’ve decided on Innbp.co.uk & .com for the main website, just need to register the names for future use. Probably going to be a few years before I’ll need them but it’s better safe than sorry. It’ll be sods law that when I need the website addresses, someone else has taken them. I refuse too pay over £10k for a name! lol I’m also going to register Innovative baby products.co.uk & Bounceroo.co.uk, for the cost of a fiver, it’s worth to have the names as a back up. That’s over 6 names to register with the business. I can then decide at a later date which website address to upload the site to. I’ll start to look around for web designers as well, an E-commerce website.

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I’m meeting with the design company later in the month with regard to their findings, I’m hoping its some good news. They’re making a basic prototype to test the theory! Watch this space!….

I’ve been working on costs, things I need to list for the business plan, It’s very in-depth. Looking at future PCT patents, design costs, prototype costs, tooling and many other items that I’ll have to look into. This is my first Business plan I’ve ever done but I want to make sure I do a good job. I can certainly say that every day is a school day, it’s a learning curve with this product.

I’m attending a seminar in Nottingham later this month, I think the guy leading the presentation used to be on the 1st Dragons Den series on the BBC ( American dude ). I’m going to see if I’m on the right path, as I’m doing this all on my own ( get those violins out ), I need to make sure I’m doing everything by the book. I don’t want any major mistakes along the way!

I have to report that disappointed is an under statement! I’ve just had the designs through from the design company ( not mentioning any names ) but in one word, Crap! I could of got an A’LEVEL student to prepare better. The only good thing that has come out of it is the basic working prototype. I have now put together a package to prove that the theory works. Even though the motor is very loud and would keep most adults awake, let alone babies! Lol At least it proves my concept works! All is good! Lol. Note to design company, there is no way I’m paying the full amount of money they are asking, I’m so peeed off! I’ve even approached some of the other designers to get their comments on the work provided.

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I’ve had confirmation through from the other design firms that the work provided is sub standard for the money they are asking for! I’ve sent the design team my concerns in an email and proposed a final payment. Ggrrrrr……..

The design company has agreed to the sum that I proposed and now we have parted company. I’m not a happy Chappy! I’m going to access the situation and collect my thoughts. You think you’re paying a professional to do a job right and you get stuffed! Note to self make sure you keep control of the design process at all times!!!!!!

I’m glad I attended the seminar in Nottingham, I’m on the right road and not making any major mistakes yet. I’ll chalk the crappy presentation designs by the design team as poor judgement on my behalf but I’ve still got something positive from it, a working prototype. The main item that I’ve got to check and organise is the SEIS scheme. If I’m wanting to get an investor on board, this scheme will make it more inviting and means less of a risk. I would recommend this to any entrepreneur starting a new business prospect. Make sure you check this out as one of your main priorities, this is if you want to get an investor on board.

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Now I’ve got the proof that the theory works, I need to confirm and narrow down my questions for my in-depth questionnaire next month. If there’s not one thing to do, there’s half a dozen, it’s all go!

 

 

6th August

REGISTER BUSINESS NAME, PATENT & QUESTIONNAIRE

 

Now I’m set on IBP, I’ve got to register the name with companies house. That’ll be done over the coming weeks.

The Patent attorney is also applying for my very 1st patent! At least I’ll get a priority date for the application. I’ll have to put a small sketch together of the product so this can be lodged with the patent.

I’m also going to take the prototype and modify it so it looks more like my design sketches.

I’ve had a good chat with my wife and we think the cover of the product should be the main character itself. I have narrowed this down to 12 characters, I have my favourite but I’ll add it to the questionnaire and see what parents say. We’ve decided to ask 200 parents next month, get a true representation of what parents think about the product. My personal view is, I think it’s daft when you see out of 75 people asked? I’ll have to be careful not to give the game away too early!

Well that’s done it, I’ve registered IBP with companies house, I now have another business to look after, even though I won’t be trading for quite a few years! Lol..

It’s taken some time but I’ve printed out the 200 questionnaires for next month, we’re going to split the 200 into 2 groups, 100 in Lincoln and 100 in Nottingham. I hope I get a positive reaction. I’ve got to work on the prototype in the evenings and get that ready to complete next month.

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The prototype is looking like a real blue peter job but at least it looks better than the 1st version. I would say it needs something else and I’m hoping the character that we’ve got planned will set it apart from the current design ideas. I’ll be working on this next month so hopefully I’ll get a better understanding. We’ve also contacted China to get prices for parts to the product, it’ll give me a better unit price for the product, even though this is based on wholesale. I know it’ll be cheaper when we buy in bulk.

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I’ve had the recommendation of getting all the designs that I’ve drawn and put on paper to be signed & stamped by our bank manager! Must have been good timing as I’m going to open a business account this week, ready for our investor. I’ll get this all done by the end of the month. The whole point of this is instead of sending the designs to yourself in the post and the envelope has the date and time. Each page will have a signature, time stamp, and have a priority date. All of this to try and protect yourself from people steeling your idea but this could happen! Sad world we live in! 🙁

That’s summer just about over and I’ve gone from theory to practical within a 6 month period? Where did that time go? My little girl is growing up so quickly, I hope all of my kids will know when they’re older, what I’m putting into this, just for them. My wife knows as she has lived it for the past half a year!

 

 

3rd September

MARKETING STARTS, PROTOTYPE & SEIS SCHEME

 

I can’t believe we’re about to ask 200 parents what they think of my idea? I’m hoping it’s going to be positive! Being a father and business man, I’ve got to have my sensible head on. If I get nothing but no it’s rubbish, then I think it’s time to give up. We’re visiting baby groups and chatting to parents outside retail stores.

I’ve just about completed the business plan! When I read that it could take a long time to complete, I didn’t think it would but to make a business plan thorough and believable, it does take a lot of time. Rereading and making sure all the stats and figures tie up. I’ve just got to add the results from the questionnaire and I have a complete business plan. I must admit, it looks good! Smile on my face.

The only thing left this month is the SEIS application and finish the questionnaires. To date I can’t believe how positive the parents we are asking are responding. You’re always going to get the parent who won’t like it or agree but so far I’ve currently got 5 parents wouldn’t buy it out of 125 parent/parents asked

That’s the SEIS applications filed, can take up to 6 six, leaves me plenty of time before my first meeting with future investors. Another string to the bow!

I’m about to send off the trademark application for the IBP log & Bounceroo name, it’s always a good idea to protect the name of the business but also the logo design you want to use. This way no one else will use it on their packaging / boxes or letterheads. I’ve been told the process takes up to 6 -8 weeks to complete. The application is very easy, I’d recommend you do this yourself as some companies charge up to £250.00 for something that takes 30 minutes at max!

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Well it’s taken nearly 4 weeks to complete but that’s 200 parents asked about where they shop, age of their children / babies, what apparel they bought, would they buy a portable product that would rock or bounce a car seat, crib, bouncer. I’m astounded to say that 87% of parents would buy a product if it’ was on the market. This has given me even more get up and go to complete the product. We’ve also decided on the character that we want to use – A Giraffe!

 

 

1st October

FINAL BUSINESS PLAN & VIDEO / SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Now I’ve got all the information together for my business plan, I need to complete the graphs, check my spelling and make sure I’ve got my 5 year plan down to the last letter! It feels weird when you have completed something and you know you’re not getting paid for it but will hopefully I’m create something out of nothing. Heres hoping!

I’ve put the feelers out there to see if I can meet some investors to back the next stage of the product. This will cover the final design stage of the Bounceroo. I’ve also got to think of a name for the character. At the moment he’s nameless, poor guy!

Just bought 2 x Giraffe plush toys off Ebay, I’m going to make my 1st working prototype to see if I can get everything to work. I’m going to use the parts and motor from the 2nd prototype and build a 3rd but you could say this is the real 1st PROTOTYPE, as it’s starting to look like a real product, the real deal, even though he’s a Frankenstein!

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That’s all the social media created, Twitter, Linked In and Facebook. I haven’t got a Scooby on how to use Twitter but it’s on my list of to do’s “ How to use twitter “. Also a new thing called blogging, to me it looks like a diary but to make it sound kewl, they’ve labelled it “ Blogging “. Lol. I’m hoping the above can be put under this new category?

My youngest son walked in on me sewing and cutting up the 2 Giraffes ( yes I was using a needle and thread ) – he looked horrified! “ What are you doing daddy ” ? he asked, I just said creating your future! Lol…..

I must admit, the Giraffe does looks brilliant and works a treat! I intend to film him working with a car seat and crib, try my best to make a decent video. I’ve got to teach myself how to edit the video & add music. I think it’s the best way to show potential parents what he does. I’m no Steven Spielberg but I’m hoping to capture the story within a 45 second video.

I’m starting to get a good contact list on Linked In, met one guy who has shown in interest in the product just because he likes the product. It’s a sad thing to say but it’s very few and far between that you meet people who offer advice and help for no financial gain. Hopefully I’ll get some investor contacts over the coming months.

 

 

5th November

INVESTOR MEETINGS & RETAIL CONTACTS

 

I’ve written to numerous retail companies and I’m fortunate that I’ve had a great response. I’ve decided that the product has come to a cross roads and I need to know if the product is commercially viable. The businessman in me needs to know what the retailers think of the Bounceroo. I’m hoping to get some meetings set up for next month.

It’s only been 4 weeks and I’ve got 3 leads already interested in setting up investor meetings. Just putting everything together with the business plan. I must of used at least 100 ink cartridges, printing and reprinting the plan out. It has to be right and look the business. To say I haven’t done one before, it certainly has enough information in it!

I Started the day with an email from one of the major retailers agreeing to meet with me to discuss the product. I’ve been upfront with them and told them that I only want their honest opinion, show them my video and see what they have to say, their honest opinion. I’m looking forward to next month.

Just had another response from another major retailer! A 2 bagger! And guess what, another one! A Turkey! The guy I mentioned earlier ( offering help for no financial gain ) has a friend who works within another major retailer and is showing them the product for their comments. Interesting times for me, it’ll either be “ give up now “ or “ crack on”. I’ve got to admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last 10 months! Where has that time gone?…….

WHOOP! Just had confirmation through that my IBP logo & Bounceroo name has been grated, I have some Trademarks! This means I can use the R next to the images instead of TM. That was a painless exercise, another string to add to the bow.

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3rd December

RETAIL MEETINGS & INVESTORS

 

Not long till Christmas but in the interim I’ve got some meetings to go to. I’m as prepared as I can be, without designing and having a fully working prototype the video will have to do, it’ll show the main concept. Until I get an investor on board, my video gets the message across. I have to admit I’m disappointed with what the initial design company provided so I think I’ll have to look at producing my own designs., if you want a job doing right, do it yourself!

I’ve had my first investor meeting set up in the New Year, I’ll be interested to see what they have to say.

I’ve spent the last week putting some designs together for the presentation, hope it gives the overall package. Only one week to go and then it’s my retail meetings…..

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I’ve just had confirmation that IBP has been accepted for the SEIS scheme! Result. It’s such a good idea to do as many things as once that can run in the background while you wait for things to happen.

It’s Christmas next week and I’ve just come back from both retail meetings. I’m flattered that both retailers think the Bounceroo is a very commercially viable product. This is what I needed to hear to spur me on! The next stage is find an investor and finally design the Bounceroo. Has it been 10 months already? WOW!