What Toy & Game Inventors Need To Understand About Toy & Game Companies…
As someone who has had the good fortune to sit on both sides of the fence between Toy/Game company versus inventor/inventor rep, it’s apparent to me that there is less understanding than perhaps there should be in many situations.
This is of course to be expected, because until we ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’ we can’t truly understand the pressures of their world.
So while the following is by no means the be all and end all of what toy inventors or game inventors need to know about their potential partner companies, it’s at least a starting point:
1. This Is A Numbers x Quality Game – the reality is that the large global companies view many thousands (i.e. 4-10k) of concepts each year, and select any where from a mere handful up to 20 or 30 to become real products. Even mid size and smaller companies are routinely viewing hundreds of concepts each and every year. So if we do some simple math/s we can easily deduce that each product we present (all other things being equal) has a chance of being successful of somewhere between 1 in 2,000 to at best of 1 in 100. Logically, the best way to reduce the odds in your favour are to have more concepts to present.
We also need to look at quality – at least half of all submissions, maybe more are just not up to scratch in quality terms – either due to crappy presentation, generic or overly niched concept or other factors. Clearly having high quality concepts will significantly increase the chance of placing products.
Finally, while the top few companies globally may (dependent on deal terms, global commitment levels etc.) offer the biggest pay back should they choose & successfully launch your product, the best way to increase the chance of getting your product out there is to present it to more than just a handful of companies. There are thousands if not low tens of thousands of toy companies in the world…think about that!
2. There Is A Full On, Helter Skelter Business Going On Around The Person You’re Trying To Sell Your Concept To - Toy businesses do not employ excess staff resource to sit around waiting for you to call in order to ask if they’ve made up their minds yet about your product/concept! Rather they employ just about enough people at a stretch to do everything that needs to be done. And once you step outside the top Global players, your contact doubtless has other ‘hats’/functions they are performing – from marketing, R&D to owning & running the business.
So take account of this, and behave with some respect for the pressure they are under if you want to win friends & influence people!
3. Most Toy Companies Struggle To Make More Net Profit Than They Pay As An Inventor %Age - the percentage offered for your creation may seem somewhere from modest to pathetic to you, representing a fraction of the actual selling price of the finished product, but do your homework before you get overly aggressive on this beyond the realms of commercial reality, as you could alienate those who would be great partners for you. Go check out the published results of Toy & Game companies, and see if you can find one earning double digit profit percentage…speaking as someone who has managed P&L’s at length for companies big & small, I can tell you that a few percentage points for an idea is far more attractive & comparatively rewarding than a few percentage points for cashflowing 90-95% of the sales value in costs throughout the year, taking stock risk, dealing with retailers, staff, marketing, finance, factories etc. Being optimistically realistic within a commercially credible royalty %age range will go as far as having cool concepts much of the time!
4. One Product Toy & game Companies Don’t Tend To Last For Long - or to put in another way, companies have to run multiple products (as well as yours!) to reduce risk, manage product lifecycles, extend offering to build retail support etc. This means that your product will get only as much focus as it merits from a commercial standpoint. For sure you can be a real pain in the ass, and sometimes this will get you increased focus short term, but at some point the company’s management will over rule tantrums & awkwardness based on common sense (in my experience).
5. Toy & Game Companies Can Be Influenced Positively For Your Long Term Benefit – to balance out the previous point, just want to be clear, I’m not saying leave them to it, and accept anything that comes back from them i.e. renegotiations of commercial terms, lack of support etc., but it’s a case of giving them a long term perspective of your product being rewarding to their business in balance with what’s involved in making it work…that’s not easy, but if you look at the most successful professional inventors/Inventing. groups, they manage to do this.
There is more to add on this topic, but that’s enough of a start point for now…