How To Turn Your Invention Idea Into a Product (With Tips)
Updated June 24, 2022
Inventing a new and successful product is a thrilling career move, but following this path requires learning how to turn your idea into a product. In order to succeed with a new idea, it's important to understand how to determine its prospects. Creating then following a plan to make your idea a reality is the most effective way to create your new invention. In this article, we discuss why you should turn your idea into a product and explain how to do it, along with some helpful tips.
Why should you turn your idea into a product?
If you have identified a hole in the market that isn't being addressed by an existing product, that is a strong sign that there is a need for your product. By having the first idea to address this problem, you can create a product that has no direct competition and that people would like to use.
Other successful new products seek to improve upon the way that existing products already address a problem. By making a product that is more effective or easier to use, you provide consumers with a preferable option the next time they are shopping.
Creating your own successful product is an excellent career opportunity that comes with many benefits. In addition to creating a new source of income, working for yourself can help you feel pride that you created something popular and you have the freedom of being your own boss. This means you can create the rules and culture of your new company to match your preferences.
How to turn an idea into a product
If you have an idea for a product that you think will be successful, you need an effective plan to make it to market. Here is how to take an invention from your first spark of inspiration to a marketable and profitable entity:
1. Perform market research
Understanding the market your product serves is crucial for a successful rollout of your invention. Once you know what you are intending to create and what its purpose is, begin looking for similar products that may be in competition with your invention. Minimal or no competition is ideal, but there may still be room for your product if the market is large enough or if you provide a better option to existing competition.
It's also helpful to understand the size of the market, as that determines how much competition you can accommodate while remaining profitable. Performing searches on social media or analyzing search volume traffic on keywords relevant to your invention can help you determine if there is a demand for the type of product you are producing.
Read more: How To Conduct Market Research
2. Check for patents
A patent is a legal acknowledgement of ownership over a product, component or service that grants the holder the exclusive rights to produce or license the patented material. Checking for previous patents allows you to ensure that what your idea is unique and does not infringe upon any existing patents. If there are patents that you believe may cover your intended product, you may need to alter your idea so that it is not in conflict with existing patents.
3. Plan it out
Creating a successful new product requires a foundation of careful planning. Making sketches of physical products, or creating an outline and breakdown for intangible creations like an app or a service business, creates the structure you need to begin working on and refining your idea.
4. Build your prototype
Creating a prototype of your product gives you the chance to test it out and determine if it is as effective as you planned. Using your prototype allows you to identify elements that are working well and what needs improvement. It may even reveal potential uses or opportunities for your product that you hadn't thought of until you saw your idea made into a reality.
Prototypes come in a variety of forms. For physical products, you may initially create a fully functional prototype. You also might opt to create a scaled model or prototypes for individual components of the final product in order to refine the design before moving on to a fully functional prototype.
5. Consider seeking a patent
Just like a patent from an existing company has the potential to stop your invention from going to market if it is too similar, you can also protect your idea with a patent of your own. While you may not need a patent in the early stages of developing your product, you may benefit from the enhanced protection as you move closer to production.
One option to avoid the cost of a patent application before you are sure you have a viable product is a provisional patent application. While a patent application can cost several thousand dollars, a provisional patent application provides a year of protection for as low as $70, allowing you to protect your idea while you refine it and determine if a full application is worth the cost.
Related: How To Become a Patent Agent
6. Seek out partners
One of the most effective ways to turn your product into a self-sustaining business is to look for additional partners to work with. If you find that your product is demanding more work than you can manage in your schedule, finding a business partner to help allows you to share the responsibilities and get more work done on your product.
If one of your primary concerns when growing your company is a lack of financing, then you might also consider finding an investment partner. An investor can be a silent partner who simply provides the funding you need and trusts you to use it responsibly, or they may take on an active role, helping you in daily operations or serving as an advisor to help you make wise decisions during development.
Before going to a meeting with a potential new partner, take time to practice your pitch. The more refined your pitch is and the more comfortable you are giving it, the higher your chances are of convincing your prospective partner of the value of your idea.
7. Create a business plan and marketing plan
Successfully growing your idea into a product you can market requires careful planning. There are several areas where you may opt to create plans, but the two most important plans for a growing company are a business plan and a marketing plan.
Your business plan is an overview of your overall company goals and practices. A business plan covers both what you're hoping to achieve with your business and the methods needed to do so. A detailed business plan can make collaboration easier by providing a clear guide when bringing new people into your business.
When your product is ready for market, you can begin letting potential customers know that it's available. A marketing plan outlines the different methods of marketing you plan to pursue and the goals you hope to achieve with those marketing initiatives. By creating and following an effective marketing plan, you can help set your product up for success.
Related: How To Create a Marketing Plan
Tips to successfully invent a product
If you have an invention that you think could be successful, these tips can help you maximize the chances of effectively bringing it to market:
Treat your idea like a business. Turning your idea into a product requires commitment, so it's important to approach your invention as a business. While you do not have to immediately commit to working on your idea full time, the hours you do spend on it need the same focus and respect that you would give to a job.
Keep notes and records throughout the process. As soon as you feel inspired to work on an invention, take notes and keep records of your development. Writing your thoughts down helps you remember them and stay organized throughout the process. It also creates records that show when you were working on the project and what your ideas were in case you need to establish proof of origin for your idea.
Focus on the long term in the beginning. When getting started with a new product, it's important to prioritize decisions that set you up for the best chance of success in the long term. This may call for short-term sacrifices, but these sacrifices are justified by the value your product can provide if it is a long-term success.
Follow your passion. When starting a new company around an invention, it is important to be passionate about your idea. A deep commitment to the product you're marketing allows you to understand the market you are selling to more effectively because you are a part of it, and it can help you make better decisions during the development and marketing of your idea.
Practice your short and long pitches. There are two important pitch styles when seeking out partnerships or investments. A short pitch, often called an elevator pitch, takes only a few minutes and often has minimal accompanying materials. If it can catch someone's attention quickly, it may lead to the chance to give a full pitch. This longer pitch may include additional elements like presentation slides and product demonstrations. It's important to be comfortable giving both types of pitches when meeting with a potential partner.
Grow with online marketing. When getting started with a new business idea, social media is often a cost-effective way to tell people about your new product. While paid social media marketing can be a beneficial part of some marketing plans, you can also make use of social media for free advertising by talking about your new product and encouraging others to do so as well.
Encourage word of mouth. After you've gone to market with your product, one of the best ways to grow your business early on is through recommendations of your current customers. Incentives for recommendations are a great way to encourage users to speak about your product to others. Even without a referral program, simply asking buyers to tell their friends if they like it can help you increase your sales.
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