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How do I pitch an idea to a large company (an airline) and get paid for my idea?
The short version of my question: I have a great idea that I think a major US airline could benefit from. The problem that I have is simple. Ideas can be stolen before I have an opportunity to be paid for my idea. I truly believe I have a great idea, and would like to benefit from it - but I'm not sure how to proceed. Can I pitch my idea to an airline exec and be paid for my services? Is this even possible? Should I get a lawyer before I proceed? Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.
The longer version of my question:
Okay, I'm a "thinker". I like to drive around in complete silence and solve problems. As an example, when I was 13, I noticed an airplane that I was boarding had a real problem getting all of its passengers seated so I whipped out a piece of paper and started sketching ideas of how to seat passengers more efficiently. I'm not kidding you when I say this, but the sketches and notes that I made when I was 13 - are now becoming standard seating procedures for some airlines (15 years later). Is this groundbreaking news? No, but I'm hoping to demonstrate that I'm not the typical person who is oblivious to the world's business problems. Lately, I've been focusing on air travel (I'm a pilot and studying to go into Air Traffic Control). While researching a recent essay, I stumbled upon (and developed) an idea that I think a major US airliner would truly profit from. This idea then turned into 3 wonderful ideas. One of which is a brand new business (although it requires far too much capital for me to even dream about starting). How do I take what I perceive as a significant opportunity for an airliner to expand its operations - to an airline and pitch this to them for my own financial gain. Any ideas? Come on yahoo Answers! Give me some leads!
From experience, most "original" ideas are already being worked on by other people.
Like writers who refuse to send in their work to publishers because a publisher might steal it, you don't want to pitch your idea because it might be stolen.
What is there to lose. If you can do it alone and make money, then do it (the first apple computer was rejected by every major computer manufacturer and Apple computers had to do it themselves, Sam Walton's bosses said his idea was stupid and he had to start Walmart all by himself), IBM said no to the photocopier and Xerox was created to make photocopiers.)
Otherwise pitch the idea, keep clear documents of all communications and so on.
Basically research the airlines and try to find someone in the middle who you could pitch the idea to and who would champion you.
If not, write or try and call senior managers yourself.
Have a 10-20 minute sales pitch.
Have complete documentation ready to back up your short sales pitch.
Write to Richard Branson or Mr Ryan and Ryan air, ie people who are looking at new ideas and flat management. They will be more open to ideas.
If sales like this is beyond you (and it is beyond 90% of most people) find a business partner to do the selling for you.
If you fail, then move on to something else, because if you have one idea, you will have others.
If they appear to steal your idea, then probably they already had the idea themselves and you can't prove anything.
It will be a great experience and you will have a chance to learn how to sell.
Later you will use this method to sell an even better idea.