There’s nothing quite like a brilliant idea. Maybe you’ve had a few of them, but taking an idea and turning it into a product is a process that takes time, commitment, and hard work.
It is possible, as hundreds of patents happen every day. Some companies like IBM make an average of 21 a day!
You probably aren’t going to get to the IBM level, but even getting even one product on the market is an achievement. If you want to learn how to bring a product to market, this read is for you.
How to Bring a Product to Market
Inventing all starts with an idea, and after that idea takes root in your head it becomes a possibility.
Once you have an idea, think it over. Don’t settle on the first thought that comes to mind, or you might miss out on something even better!
Start With A Notebook
The thing we want to stress here is documentation.
Writing things down will not only help you work through an idea in the present, but it will help you workshop it later on and as you try to get your idea patented.
The notebook is your scratch place to try your idea out. See how it works on paper. Play with the components and see if you can make it better. Scratchpads of paper won’t cost as much as a prototype! Don’t wait until you have the prototype to ask yourself what-if questions.
Plus, a log will be your best friend.
How many times have you had an idea, thought of an improvement, or pondered a question only to forget it at the next stoplight?
As you move forward with your idea, that notebook will help prove what’s yours. It serves as a paper trail in securing your product and helps you remember small details about ideas you have while on the go.
Time to be a Librarian
Your idea might be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It might be the jelly to people’s toast. If your product already exists though…well you’ve got some work to do.
You want to check the patent office and make sure nothing like your product already exists. If a version of your invention already exists, is yours better or capable of more?
This is where your research becomes more about selling a product than creating it.
You might think that your idea is great, but how do you convince people that they need it? Securing a patent and getting everyone to take notice of your design is unlikely.
Some people will buy your product within seconds of discovering it. Do you know who those people are?
This is what market research is all about. Find out where your product will take root, grow, and yield fruit right away. Those are the markets you want to continue researching, watching trends in, and learning what makes people take action.
Doing research will help you develop a marketing plan for when your product is sales-ready.
Securing The Patent
The patent is the key to the inventor kingdom.
Filing with the United States Patent Office can be intimidating. You’re taking a risk on a product that you hope will pay you back and showcase your creativity.
One of the things that hold people back is the initial payments. A patent can cost up anywhere from $5,000 – $11,000 when you factor in patent lawyer prices. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that might fail.
If you are confident in your idea, we encourage you to move forward with it!
If you’re looking for help in securing the finances for your idea (don’t forget to consider marketing costs!), we recommend checking out signature loans. One of these can help you complete the necessary steps to bringing your idea to life without taking out another mortgage.
Forging the Prototype(s)
When you can hold something in your hand or see it working on a screen, ideas come to life.
The prototyping process can be the most exciting part of developing a product because the idea is no longer just in your head. It’s in your hands, and you can give it to someone else.
What do you do with prototypes then? Put it on your shelf and point to it? No.
Prototypes are like test modules. It’s where you’ve put everything you had on paper into a working module, and now you’ll see if it works how you want it to.
We recommend doing user test surveys. Have people testing out your product and telling you about their experiences with it. This helps you see things you hadn’t thought about and find ways for people to use your product easier.
Showing your prototype off to family and friends is great, but you need outside sources and voices that don’t know anything about you or your product. You’ll be able to make the necessary improvements so that when your product hits the market, it’s not held up by rudimentary fixes.
Making The Updates and Hitting the Shelves
Don’t let the data you harvested from your prototype go to waste.
After you’ve collected responses from dozens of people, it’s time to make the necessary changes that’ll turn your product from being your idea to the item on top of everyone’s Christmas wish list.
Changes can feel immediate or simple, and people forget to document them. Remember that your paper trail is still important!
Once your product is 100% COMPLETE and you’re ready to hit the shelves with it, you may find yourself in a unique situation. You can venture on your own with all the market research you’ve done or you might have the chance to sell your product.
We recommend not selling the rights to an invention right away. Doing so may mean that you miss out on opportunities to sell it elsewhere or capitalize on all the hard work you’ve done. This is conditional, of course, because some companies may make you an offer you can’t refuse!
More Big Ideas
We hope this guide on how to bring a product to market has been useful for you. And we hope your idea is the next big hit! For more articles, check out our blog page, where we post tons of helpful content.
If you don’t see something there, feel free to reach out and contact us. We’d love to help you get your patent secured and your idea in the hands of everyone!