And Here’s the Pitch…

Some Tips to Help Identify Which Companies Should be on Your Licensing ‘Hit List’ by April Mitchell


“MY DUCKS ARE IN A ROW, but I can’t get them quacking!” Say what?

Let’s assume you have your new invention/ product all set, with a great-looking prototype and marketing materials. You are eager to get it in front of the right people at the right companies.

You may even have your dream company—you know, the one that would be a perfect fit for your product! But knowing which companies to pitch to in order to land a licensing deal takes time, research, and practice. People often ask me: “Do you have a list of companies I should pitch to?” I respond: “No, I don’t have a magic list for you. I recommend checking out trade show sites, and online stores, and going in person to stores to check out other products in the same category.”

Trade show sites: Investigating them is a great way to see who the attendees/exhibitors are in a specific industry, and categories within the industry where you have developed a product. Make a list of these companies and research what their products are, and see if your new concept would fit in with their product line. If so, add them to your “Hit List”—your list of potential licensees.

Start gathering information on the company, corporate phone number, where it is based, top-selling products, and people you can connect with from the company.

Checking online: See which products are similar to yours, or what products are selling well in the same category. Companies your product may compete with if you were to manufacture and distribute on your own are potential licensees.

In-person research: Getting your feet on the ground to see and feel other products on the market in the same category and/or industry is of equal importance. There’s nothing like going to stores in person and seeing products on the shelves.

Where would your product fit? What aisle should it be in? Take other products off the shelves and flip them over to learn who makes the product and where they are based. Take a photo so that later you can look up these companies, research them and add them to your hit list if they are a good fit.

I like to do this at several stores where my new product could be sold. Once I have my list of companies, I research them and start connecting with them on LinkedIn to fully understand their product line and brand. In time, I know just who to contact and see whether they will look at my new product.

You should do this work for every industry as you invent for it. Each inventor will know his or her product best. Your potential licensees are out there. You will find them. Just be sure to do your research—online, and in person.