How to take an invention idea to market?

Without a viable plan to develop your innovative ideas into marketable items, you will never be able to profit from them.

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. – Scott Belsky, Behance Co-founder

You might have a wonderful concept in your mind for a new invention that you believe many people would be eager to buy. However, without a viable plan to develop your innovative ideas into marketable items, you will never be able to profit from them.

An idea is an unverified thought that originates from your imagination; it’s a lightning moment that helps you solve a persistent problem that’s been bothering you for a long time. Innovation is an expansion of a matured concept. To become an innovation, an idea must take the route of least resistance. You must do market research, product development, and cost estimates, and if all goes well, obtain a patent.

Timing is everything in the field of invention. If you wait too long, someone else will seize on a similar concept and take your market share. On the other hand, if your invention is the first of its type, the market may not be ready, and you will have an uphill battle to carve out a niche for your product. Another significant problem is making the general public aware of your product. Your concept may be fantastic, but without a marketing strategy, no one will ever learn about it. While problems are many, a successful entrepreneur focuses on solutions.

In this article, we will discuss how to take an invention idea to market.

Step 1: Document it

The first stage in commercializing your innovative ideas is to obtain ownership rights. You will not earn from your idea merely by imagining it; you must have evidence proving that you were the first to think of a possible product.

As a result, record all you can regarding the concept, design, and marketability of the product in an inventor’s journal. A court-worthy inventor’s journal can be any bound notebook with consecutively numbered pages that cannot be removed or reinserted.

Step 2: Check for patent

Before putting too much effort and money into a new product, make sure it doesn’t already exist. A quick check of the United States Patent and Trademark Office will reveal what has already been patented.

You should also complete a non-patent “prior art” search. If you find any sort of artwork or design related to your idea, you cannot patent it — regardless of whether a prior patent has been filed.

Step 3: Conduct research to ascertain whether the idea has a market

Do some initial market research before devoting too much time and money to patenting your innovation. Conducting market research can help you learn how many consumers or businesses could use the product. The market research should answer one key question – Is this something people will buy? Once you’ve determined the demand for your product, ensure that it can be made and supplied at a low enough cost that your retail pricing is affordable. These prices can be determined by making a comparison to those of similar items presently on the market. It can also help you assess your competitors, which will exist regardless of how unique you believe your innovation is.

Step 4: Make a prototype

A prototype is a representation of your invention that puts what you wrote in your inventor’s journal into action. When you exhibit your idea to potential financiers and licensees, this will illustrate the design.

Do not file a patent without first creating a prototype. You’ll usually always find a mistake in your initial design or come up with a new function to include. If you patent your idea before ironing out the wrinkles, it will be too late to incorporate them in the patent, and you risk losing your new design’s patent rights to someone else.

Here are some rules to keep in mind when prototyping your invention:

  • Sketch- To begin prototyping, sketch down your innovation concepts in your inventor’s notebook.
  • Mockup- Using any materials, create a 3-D model of your design.
  • Model- Make a fully functional model of your product.

Step 5: Consider filing a patent

Patents are classified into two types: utility patents (for new processes or machines) and design patents (for manufacturing new, non-obvious ornamental designs). While you may start the patent application yourself, you should submit it with the aid of a patent lawyer who has the necessary technical knowledge.

Others will ultimately infringe on your patent if your idea is valuable. Hiring a qualified patent attorney ensures that your patent is completely protected and that you avoid costly court fights.

You could opt to sell your product without a patent. However, business experts recommend obtaining a patent for several reasons, such as:

  • Protecting your intellectual property
  • Higher profits
  • Selling power
The value of an idea lies in the using of it. – Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

Step 6: Get investors to back your invention idea

Investors have money. You need money. Now, convince them to invest their money in your product idea. If your product idea is brilliant and you have a prototype to back it up, more than half your work is done! Even better, if you already have an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), then your investors can see for themselves how much traction (paying customers who are interested in your product) your product gets!

Prepare an investor pitch comprising all the relevant details such as your mission, company vision, product idea, team, market opportunities, and financial projections.

Step 7: Product development

Armed with the required funding, extensive market research, and a can-do attitude, it’s time to kick your product development into full gear!

You will need a product development strategy with rigid but attainable targets and goals. Develop the product after careful consideration of its quality, quantity, and demand.

Step 8: Market your invention

Now that you have successfully converted your invention idea into a profitable product, it’s time to market your innovation and sell your product. Make a business strategy for your product concept, including whether you want to start your own company or sell the idea to an existing company. Working on your pitch and presentation to capture the interest of investors will be part of this process.