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FAQ:What do I do first with an idea I want to market myself?

Postby Work2XL » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:58 pm

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I have an idean I want to take to market. What do I do first.

Postby bottleslingguy » Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:38 pm

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Beside not quitting your day job, there are several things you need to do first.

First you have to determine your resources. How much money do you have? How many friends do you have who can help in some way? How many people do you know who have any kind of experience in this sort of thing?

First you have to determine your ability to do all the things it takes to get this idea on the shelves. And if you lack in certain areas you should be very honest with yourself and not fall prey to confirmational bias. Then take the appropriate steps to find who will fulfill your weak spots.

First you have to determine your invention will actually do what you say(or think) it does. How sure are you that spending $100K on a prototype is the way to go?

First you have to determine you're not infringing on someone elses idea and take the appropriate steps to protect your intellectual property. Should you aim towards ultimately getting a patent or go for a licensing deal and NDAs?

Each first step is just as important as the others. You must learn how to multi-task would be your answer from me.

first 3 questions

Postby grahamms » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:34 am

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I usually start with 3 basic questions
1. Is anybody else doing it? If so, are there any patents prohibiting me?
2. Is there a market and how big is it?
3. Can someone build and sell my idea for a profit?

If an idea can not generate revenue it is either a charity or a hobby. While good, it is hard to pay the bills with charity or hobby. If an idea passes this initial litmus test, then I start writing out lists: goals, needs, resources, critical gaps in knowledge/resources, time line, etc. Basically what bottleslingguy was saying.
My only personal experience has been with licensing concepts without patent protection. The vast majority of my employer's customers are corporations who rarely patent. Only a few customers are inventors who proceeded to patent and/or manufacture their inventions themselves.

Since I have limited financial resources, I have been trying my own technique to market. I start with all of the "free" work first: Setting a time line, discussing the idea with others, deciding how to protect the idea, and sketching the concept. Then, I start prototyping. I am fortunate enough to have a few industry contacts to whom I pitch the idea first. When that fails, I start googling companies and making phone calls. Please keep in mind, I have been presenting ideas this way for about a year and I have not sold an idea. I have had serious interest from various contacts.

Take it on the road yourself or lose out....

Postby n99269 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:55 pm

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My experience so far in selling my product is that letting a multi-million dollar company (like Sears/Craftsman in my case) offer me 1% royalties of an item that has market potential of several hundred thousands of $$
is actually an insult and motivates me to work my ying-yang off at any expense to maximize my net reward to the best of my ability and should be everyone else's out there trying to accomplish the same thing as me. That's one reason I wish somehow people like us in situations like ours could network resources, etc. to make the journey a bit easier.