According to a 2005 survey, half of all new inventions were created by accident. It starts like this: Someone sees a problem, they become passionate about the solution to that problem and the rest…well, the rest becomes a success story. So, do you have a problem, and a creative solution?
You could be like Louise Hardman. After witnessing a marine turtle die of plastic ingestion, this zoologist created a product to help remove plastic from the world’s oceans. For almost everyone, turning a passion into a product is the dream.
The problem is, about 95% of new products fail when the minute they hit the market. You need to have a strategic plan in place beforehand to be part of the 5% that succeeds. But, with so much information out there, how do you know where to start?
Fear not. We have created a step-by-step guide to turning your passion into a reality.
1) Visualize Your New Inventions
The lightbulb in your head is constantly going off. You have an idea that you are passionate about and you want it to take off faster than a rocket at Cape Canaveral. Step one: think deeply about every single detail of your idea or product.
Maybe it’s not fully formed yet. That’s OK! First, make a list of everything you are passionate about, then think about a problem that comes along with each one. After that, think about how you could improve on that and therefore solve the problem.
There’s your idea.
2) Write Everything Down
Writing triggers your subconscious memory. Writing things down can help with strategic problem-solving. If you’re worried that someone will steal your idea, there is a solution.
Start an inventor’s journal. Get a book with consecutively numbered pages that you cannot remove or add. This gives you more of a chance of it standing up in court if need be. Next, get someone to sign and date it, this will show when you created this idea before you spend a ton of money on it.
3) Research Everything About Your Product
Do a patent search. You want to ensure that this product does not exist already. This will save you wasted time, money and avoid any potential legal problems. Then, research the market. You want to make sure there is a need for this product, and the idea is not just supported by your mom. Do some deep digging and preliminary research into products that might be similar to yours, and the market as a whole.
Discover who your target customers will be and if they will buy your product. Are there any online forums of people complaining of that exact pains you are creating solutions for?
Next step: do some financial research. Can your product be manufactured and shipped at a profit? You need to be able to sell it at a competitive price, with the ability to make enough units, especially at the start. Research your competition and what the prices are for similar products. Analyze every detail about your competitors, check their customer reviews and create something better.
4) Create the Prototype
Creating your invention prototype is essential. Now that you have gathered your information about your product, it is time to start creating!
Doing a good job with the prototype gives you a greater chance that investors and licensors will give you a hand. The prototype is where you discover all the flaws in your new invention, so be ready to make a lot of changes.
Make sure you hold off on filing your patent until you have thoroughly worked through all of the kinks with your prototype. Otherwise, it will be too late to include all the necessary edits. This could put you at risk of losing the patent to someone else who was previously in your shadow.
5) Some Rules of Thumb When Preparing Your Prototype
- Begin with a drawing
- Create it using any material—it doesn’t have to be the official materials.
- If your prototype is impossible to make by hand, consider creating a digital computer-aided design (CAD) of your invention.
You can also hire or outsource a company to make it for you, but that also could cost you quite a bit of money. If this is the route you want to take, investigate hiring some engineers from your local college or university.
6) Create a Presentation
The presentation is your way to demonstrate your prototype to investors, manufacturers, and buyers. Be prepared for some constructive criticism! This will only better your invention and perfect it for the market.
Get comfortable using diagrams, images and models. You could also hire a graphic designer to assist you in creating a visually appealing presentation.
7) How to Patent Your New Inventions
Now that you have created a prototype and had some successful presentations, it’s time to file that patent!
Record everything that you’ve done to get this far, the inspirations you’ve drawn from, and why you created your invention. Include research that you did not discover any relevant similar inventions for proof. You can fill out the paperwork yourself, but do not file your patent without a patent professional having looked at it first.
A patent attorney is a good idea, find one that’s registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Check that they have a similar background to the field your patent is in. After that, get a provisional patent application, which prevents anyone from copying you while your patent is processing.
8) Market Your New Invention
Now that you have created your product, received your patent, and the manufacturer has mass-produced your product; it is time to sell!
Make a commercial, put an ad in magazines, create a POP display, anything that gets your foot in the door to generate brand awareness. Keep in mind that investors may only give you less than 10% of profits, but this saves you the business hassle associated with running the engine behind the product.
Let’s Get Going!
Now that you understand the process of creating your new inventions, it is time to act! If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and want advice from a professional attorney, feel free to contact us.