Saturday, March 23, 2019

How to Go From Having a Great Idea to Having a Great Product.

March 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( The things we use in our daily lives are products of great ideas. At one point in time, your car was an idea about transport without the use of horses. Your cell phone was an idea about making it easier to communicate using radio waves. Even in the cases of accidental inventions, someone had to have the great idea of using those inventions for a specific purpose.

Of course, your idea doesn’t have to fundamentally change the world we live in. You don’t have to invent something like the internet. If you think your idea might sound appealing to people, and there is a market for it, you can still turn it into a good product.

Put Your Idea on Paper

The very first step you should take with your idea is to document it in some way. You can write a description, draw diagrams, make a collage — whatever you do, do it as thoroughly as possible. That’s the start of your inventor’s journal.

The first step is important for at least two reasons. While you are documenting your idea, you will have the opportunity to think it through. It won’t be the last time you get the chance to do it, and you will have time to come back to it if you notice something is wrong with it. But the sooner you start making your idea better, the better product you will have by the end of the process.

It is also important that you document your idea because you might want to apply for a patent. You won’t have to, but you will have the option to do it. When applying for a patent, you need to have complete documentation of your product. So the initial effort counts.

Do an Incredible Amount of Research

Every year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office receives hundreds of thousands of patent applications. In 2015 alone, it received more than 600,000. It granted half as many patents. An important part of your research is to find out whether your idea is already in a patent. Even if you don’t plan to patent it, using someone else’s patent can unknowingly open you up to lawsuits. So dig in, and dig deep.

You will also have to do a lot of market research. You will need to determine the size of the market, the competition, the customers, how valuable your product would be to them, and how much would they be willing to pay for it. If the market you are planning to enter is highly regulated, you will probably want to find consultants that can help you navigate it. For example, if your product is related to medical marijuana, a marijuana consulting company would be able to help you understand the regulatory procedures that would apply to your product. They might also give you some insight into the state of the market. It really helps if you adopt a business mindset and mine as much information as possible.

Build a Prototype

If you decided that your idea is worthy of further development, building a prototype is the next step you should make. A prototype should be a working model of your idea. However, your prototyping process doesn’t start with the creation of a working prototype. It starts with going back to step one.

Because you carefully documented your idea, you will have something to use as a starting point for a prototype. At this point, you would want to develop further any drawings you have made, and be sure that you have everything you need on paper before you start creating a physical object. Then, you can create a mock-up of your idea. The real prototype might be expensive to create, and you can use the mock-up to hone the design. Once you’re happy with it, you should create a real prototype of your product.

File for a Patent

You can apply for two types of patents: utility patents and design patents. The former is concerned with how things work. The latter is concerned with how things look. Which of the two you choose will depend on your original idea and the product you developed based on it. You patent the innovation in your product.

You should never go into patenting a product alone. There are patent agents and lawyers who will help you through the whole process. You should choose who you work with carefully — be aware that a good patent can be worth a lot of money, and it can attract all kinds of shady characters. Look for reputable people to work with.

Now that you have a patent and a product, a whole other type of work begins. You have to find ways to produce the product and spread the word about it. You should also start thinking about financing, because production, distribution, and marketing cost real money. If you’re lucky, and your product applies to an industry people want to invest in, you will have no problems with financing. Otherwise, you need to think about getting a business loan. But if your idea was good, and you used it to make a good product people will want to buy, it will be worth the risk.

Staff Writer; Fred Moore

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