When you have a new idea for a product or service, there are 5 crucial actions you must take to assure your success. Getting a patent is not one of them. Typically, 70 percent of patents filed are granted. But, only an estimated 2-3% actually makes money. Many inventors and entrepreneurs whose products failed didn’t follow these 5 actions.
You need to think of yourself as more than just an idea person. Think of yourself as a product developer and marketer. To improve your chances for success, perform the following actions for your idea before filing a patent. I ve used the acronym IDEAS to guide you.
The 5 Actions for a Successful Invention
I – Inventor’s Notebook:
Protect your idea by documenting all your ideas and plans in an Inventor’s Notebook. In the United States, it’s the first person who documents their idea that gets patent rights rather than the first to file a patent. Use a notebook with a stitched binding and numbered pages. When documenting your idea, get a witness, who has no financial interest in your idea, to sign and date the pages.
D – Determine Competition:
Who is your competition? Find out what they’re doing and develop your product with benefits and features that are better than the competition. For example, if your product is meant to save time, it must save more time than other products. If you have a completely new idea, it must perform better than the product that you’re trying to replace. While we often like to think there is no competition, there are possible similar products. For example, you might have a new type of toothbrush that is unique. But people might be satisfied with their simple $2 toothbrush or Listerine strips.
>> RELATED: How to Get Your Consumer Invention to Market
E – Evaluate for Marketability:
Before you invest in a patent or go into production, evaluate your product idea for marketability. Your product must solve a problem or satisfy a need or want. It must also, be better than the competition. Ask yourself if there are large numbers of people who would buy your product other than your friends and family? Also, visualize your product in a finished state and sketch an advertisement. What are the compelling benefits to excite people to buy your product? If none, why build the product?
A – Analyze for Profit Potential:
How much are people willing to spend for your product versus your costs and expenses? How many will you sell? What are the unit costs and expenses related to developing and marketing your product?
S – Select a Target Market:
Other than everyone can you identify a group of consumers or businesses who will benefit most from your product? You can earn a lot of money by serving a particular group of people. Find a segment of people who have the greatest needs and wants for your product. You must tailor your product and marketing messages to a specific market group based on consumer demographics, business type, or location. You can select a market based on benefits sought such as safety, saving money, improving health or others.
Often people rush to get a patent, prototype, and go into production only to find the product is not selling. They later find that there is really no need in the market for the product. Or, the product benefits don t outweigh the selling price. Once you perform the above IDEAS and are satisfied with the results, then consider filing a patent, creating a prototype, and going into production. By getting a patent too early, inventors find themselves committed down a path and find it difficult to change course when new knowledge of the market is gained. Or, by spending all your money on patents and production, there is nothing left to perform the necessary marketing.
>> RELATED: How to Make Money from Your Inventions
This article offers you an overview of the roadmap from idea to market. To learn how to apply these principals to your ideas, I’ll take you step-by-step in my book Product Idea to Product Success: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making Money from Your Idea. For details, go to the book overview, table of contents, and ordering information pages.
Recommended Books on How to be an Inventor and Have a Successful Invention:
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cashing In On Your Inventions, 2nd Edition
- The Independent Inventor’s Handbook: The Best Advice from Idea to Payoff
- How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Cash In On Your Inventions, New Product Ideas, Software, Web Business Ideas, And More
- The Everything Inventions And Patents Book: Turn Your Crazy Ideas into Money-making Machines! (Everything Series)
- The Inventor’s Bible, 3rd Edition: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas (Inventor’s Bible: How to Market & License Your Brilliant Ideas)
About the Author
- How to Get Your Consumer Invention to Market
- How to Protect Your Business Ideas
- 12 Steps to Filing a U.S. Patent Application
- How to Make Money from Your Inventions
- Ruth Ellen Miller: A Woman Inventor’s Ingenuity and Determination to Succeed