Have you ever had a great idea come to mind but then thought it might not be that good once looking into developing it online? Many people get so overwhelmed by the work and the process of actually inventing something that sometimes great inventions will never see the light of day.
To keep this from happening to you here are the top 10 tips for inventors below:
1. Learn the Business – Like any new business venture (yes inventing is a business) you need to educate yourself on the industry and learn the trade before you start spending money. Research is an essential part of every step of the invention and patent process. It is important to learn every step you will need to take from conception to collecting royalty payments before you begin.
2. Research your Idea – This may be obvious to most, but you would be surprised at how many inventors get excited about a great idea and assume that because they thought of it, the idea does not exist elsewhere. Many times a simple google search or a trip to your local Walmart may prove otherwise. Do not be discouraged if you do find your idea already on the market, you may have a modification or an approach that is not covered by patents held by the manufacturer.
3. Documentation – Write down everything concerning your idea. Keep an “Inventor’s Notebook” or journal that records the conception and development of your idea. Use bound notebooks, make frequent entries and date each one. This log may help you in litigation if your invention’s origins ever come into question.
4. Non-Disclosure Agreements – There will be a point in the development progress where you will need to employ others to help you. If this occurs before you have proper legal protection, always obtain a signed (preferably notarized) non-disclosure agreement or NDA. This document will prevent the contracted party from stealing your idea or modifying it to pass it off as their own.
5. Shop around – There is no such thing as a cheap patent, but there is no reason to overpay for the same quality you will get elsewhere. We don’t recommend making decisions based solely on price, but narrow your options down to the best providers, then select the affordable solution.
6. Develop your Brand – Many inventors come up with a great idea and think that the concept alone is enough to get it on the shelves. In some cases this will work, but a great name or brand image can exponentially increase your chances for success. If you create a product, something that salesmen and manufacturers can get excited about, you will get much better response and feedback.
7. Iron Hide – As you have probably learned already, the invention process is a turbulent roller coaster ride of emotions. There are euphoric highs when everything is going right and of course low points when you feel the project is a hopeless dead end. It takes an iron will to deflect criticisms from friends and family and continue to develop your idea.
8. Be Prepared – Before you start marketing your invention to others, take the time to properly develop your tools for doing so. Create a customized “pitch” targeting your potential investors or manufacturers. Have printed brochures, business cards, make a webpage they can visit, have projected financial information and a business plan on hand.
9. Funding your Invention – Having enough capital to bring a new product to market is a common hurdle for inventors. Many individual inventors simply do not have the personal assets to see their idea to the end, which results in high abandonment rates. One option you can take is to bring on investors.
10. Don’t Be Greedy – This tip coincides with number 9, I have seen inventors get all the way to a licensing agreement and turn down the contract because of insufficient royalty terms. Remember MOST invention ideas do not make it past the patent office. In most cases, if you have a company that is interested in producing your product, take the money and run! Pocket the cash and move on to the next idea.
I strongly suggest that you take the time to read over and understand each one of these tips.
Are there any other tips you can add that you have learned from experience?