Inventing in today’s ever-changing business market can be daunting. Inventors need to establish a business plan, raise funds, and find a capable product design company before product development can begin. Before you get started, we recommend doing adequate research in these three areas:
1. Market research
When time is of the essence to get your product to market, it is tempting to want to run to a design firm with paper napkin sketches. However, overlooking details and rushing to invent something without a solid grasp of what is needed can cost you later. Before registering a Kickstarter account or looking up local design firms, you need to do market research. What is the demand for your product? Who is your target audience? If your product does not solve a problem or fill a gap in the current market, you may want to rethink your idea. Likewise, if you target a small market or a market that does not have much use for your product, you may have limited success. You should also research if there are similar products currently on the market. If so, how will you improve on what is currently out there?
2. Patent research
Along these lines, you need to research whether your idea is patentable. If a patent already exists for your product, you will need to go back to the drawing board. USPTO.gov provides resources for searching for patents, but the process can be arduous if you do not know what you are looking for. If you are unsure how to proceed, you may want to seek out an attorney specializing in patent law. The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) through the USPTO is a resource hotline that can answer your questions on how the patent process works and guide you on what forms you need. We recommend developing a marketable product before beginning the filing process. If you file too early, you can spend a lot of money adjusting the patent to mirror design changes made during the development process.
3. Funding research
Once you have some solid research under your belt, then you can start pitching your idea for startup capital. This money covers startup costs, concept development, and initial prototypes. Doing a quick google search will net you several avenues for seeking out angel investors and crowdfunding. Sites like AngelList and Gust allow you to search for investors in your area and your industry. Another option is to join an accelerator or incubator program. These programs offer resources to grow your business and connect you with venture capital firms and other business resources. Most offer mentor programs, business and marketing seminars, and networking opportunities. Additionally, check with your local university. Universities such as Northwestern and UConn offer courses and opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
While inventing is never a sure thing, this essential research can prepare you for what lies ahead. Now you can choose a product development company and be well on your way to bringing your idea to life.
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About Synectic Product Development: Synectic Product Development is an ISO 13485 certified, full-scale product development company. Vertically integrated within the Mack Group, our capabilities allow us to take your design from concept to production. With over 40 years of experience in design, development, and manufacturing, we strive for ingenuity, cost-effectiveness, and aesthetics in our designs. Learn more about our product strategy services and see how we can help your next project.