Taking an invention from “just an idea” to a finished product is a challenging endeavor that many would be inventors shy away from. The truth is developing a product can actually be a very fun and rewarding experience.
Developing invention ideas requires patience and an iron hide. If you are an inspiring inventor with many invention ideas, we suggest you start with an idea that you are very passionate about. This will prevent you from abandoning the idea during a sometimes lengthy invention process.
Developing the Idea
So you have an invention idea, what do you do now? The next step in the invention process is to begin working on how your invention functions. What components are necessary for it to function properly?
If your invention idea qualifies for patent protection you should consider consulting a legal professional. While there are ways of disclosing an invention idea without risking the intellectual property rights, you should not attempt to do so on your own. At the very least, file for a provisional patent.
Once you have the functionality and patent protection figured out, you can focus your attention on the design or “shelf appeal” of your invention idea. This entails designing an ergonomic product and exciting packaging.
Selling Invention Ideas
Once you have a finished product, now comes the hard part! You have to sell your invention idea in stores, that is why you are an inventor right? So how do you get retailers to sell your invention idea in their stores? An easy way to get started is to visit your local “mom & pop shops”. These stores do not have a complicated inventory system and will help you get your product noticed. You probably will not sell many units at this point, but you will get exposure and experience.
So now your ready to try the big leagues. If you want to sell your invention idea in major stores like Walmart or Sears, you need to have a means of mass producing your idea. For this you need a manufacturer who is willing to enter a licensing agreement. Often these companies will have a sales force to further promote your invention, but you can continue your own efforts by contacting individual distributors. This can be done via email, phone, or direct contact. Each company has it’s own channel for accepting new products, so research the prospective organization and take the right steps.
Tradeshows are another great way to sell new invention ideas to companies. You can talk to buyers face to face and seal the deal right on the spot. Just make sure you can back up your promises though – coming up with 10,000 units in a few weeks may be harder than you think!