Food Engineering/Manufacturing/Selling off your idea

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Question
Dear Jim,

I have a terrific idea for a food product that I have been developing for a year. I am now ready to go into manufacturing. Before I take this next big step, is it wiser to sell the entire idea, possibly partner or license it ? Are there companies that specialize in presenting your product to companies?

Growing pains,

Michael

Answer
Michael,

The last thing you want to do is manufacture yourself.  For most food products you are looking at around a $10MM investment to get going.  Most of us don't have that kind of cash lying around.

Partnering can work, but history shows that there's no such thing as "equal" partners, and sooner or later one will buy out the other.  Usually not a happy occurrence.

Licensing, however, can be the best way to go.  In it's perfect form, you sit back and cash checks as they come in, but we both know perfection is something you strive for, but never really achieve.

If you haven't done it already, the first thing you must do is write up your idea in a one- or two-pager that summarizes everything ( and preferably as a pdf that can be attached to an eMail ).  When completed, this becomes the tool that you use in your initial conversations with anyone. Ask yourself: what are the things they'd want to know?...and make sure those answers are covered.

And, you should also draft a non-disclosure agreement that others must sign before you talk to them, or send them anything.  The NDA protects your confidentiality.  There are standard forms you can find online, or you can get your attorney to do one for you.

BTW, any and all things you send out should be run by your attorney first.

Once you have these done, then you can approach business development companies, and also some PR firms.  All can be found using Google.  Decide which ones are worth talking to, and get them to send you references showing similar work done for people like you.

Good luck!

Jim P.

Food Engineering/Manufacturing

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Jim Pfister

Expertise

Food Engineering/Manufacturing, Food Packaging/Distribution, Engineering Beverage Lines, Reducing operating cost of packaging lines while increasing efficiency. Lean Manufacturing. Incorporating new package technology into existing operations. Training staff to achieve smooth transition from "start-up" to full production. Managing complex projects across multi-disciplinary lines. Equipment PreShipment Factory Acceptance testing and Commissioning programs for new equipment.

Experience

Employment history: Over thirty-five years of experience. Managed as much as $40MM in concurrent, multi-disciplinary projects, both domestic and international, and have worked with such firms as Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Hershey`s, and Nabisco.

Organizations: An author and speaker, as well as a member of the IoPP. Past Chairman of IoPP`s Consultant`s Council and Member of the Packaging Equipment Performance Committee.

Publications: PMMI Solutions `99, Monthly Packaging Tipsheets

Education/Credentials
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