Do you think you have the next big idea but you can’t get it off the ground? If you have an invention idea but don't know what to do next (and have no money to fund it with) it can feel discouraging. What's the next step to turn your invention into a real thing?
Use the steps below to prepare yourself to pitch your invention to the people that may be able to help you become successful.
Determine if your Idea is Worth Anything
Before you look for ways to make your invention a reality, get professional advice. Talk to people that understand the process and see if they think your invention will be successful. You may come across someone that will invest in your idea before you even get started. This could be the big break you’ve been waiting for!
Of course, not every invention idea turns into a successful product. When you seek the advice of professionals, you’ll get useful feedback that will help shape your idea. This can help you to make simple changes before proceeding, or send you back to the drawing board altogether.
But the invention process isn't just about product design – if you intend to market and sell your invention, you must be sure your great idea is protected and does not infringe any existing patents.
Is There a Need for your Product or Service?
Once you know there’s a potential need for your product or service, you have to see if something similar is already out there. Some market research is an essential first step, including a patent search and prior art search. If you aren't sure how to proceed, you can hire a patent agent, or patent attorney, to assist with this research as well as your patent application. If there are products or services already like yours - how does your invention stand out?
If you want people to invest in you, there should be something different about your offering or how you plan to market your invention. You should know what sets you apart from existing products on the market. If you can’t differentiate yourself from the competition, you may need to come up with the capital for the product on your own. Investors will be less interested in investing in a potential product that already exists.
Write a Business Plan
The only way to entice others to invest in your business is to have a plan. A written business plan lets investors know that you’ve covered all of your bases.
Your business plan should include all of the necessary information you learned above including the information about your invention, your target audience, the money you need to fund your invention, and how you plan to keep your business going.
When you have a properly written business plan, it shows investors that you are serious about creating this product or service. Investors want to know that your invention has merit and that you have what it takes to make it succeed. Most investors just provide you with the money and wait for their return on investment – the hard work making the product or service successful is up to you.
Finding the Funding for your Invention
Once you do the legwork getting your invention researched and marketable, it’s time to find funding. While you could go the traditional bank loan route, it can be difficult and expensive to get business loans, unless you have a proven track record of bringing products to market. Most banks want you to have plenty of experience or collateral in order to secure funding. These days, there are many other options available:
Inventor Service Companies
If you’re open to partnering with a full service company, there are a few you can work with starting online.
Davison Research is an inventor service company that can help you transform your ideas into true products. Many people have successfully turned their ordinary idea into the next big product with their help. A few products Davison helped fund include the Laserbot, meatball baker, and Coaches Whiteboard App. Their process covers all the important aspects of bringing a product idea to market, including how to file a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, building a prototype, designing packaging, and properly filing for other types of necessary licensing.
Quirky, an invention platform that started as a small business, is another service that will help turn your ideas into reality. You can also participate in the process of bringing other peoples’ ideas to market, and if your input is incorporated into a product that ships, you may even be eligible to earn royalties.
Whether you have a viable invention idea, or just want to get feedback, crowdfunding can be a great way to get the funds you need. You pitch your idea to a group and see how many people want to invest in you. This is similar to raising funds for a family or individual in need, only this time, they are investing in your business.
There are numerous crowdfunding sites you can try including Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Before you market to a specific market, though, do your research. This way you’ll market to the right audience. When you use crowdfunding, you’ll know that you have an interest in the product or service as well as the money to make it happen.
Corporations and investors often run contests to find the next best thing to invest in, kind of like the show Shark Tank. Look for contests that you can enter and provide as much information as possible to get your invention chosen as the winner.
If you are good at networking, you may find an angel investor to back up your newest invention. You have the best chance of meeting an angel investor at networking events. Look for events in your area that offer the opportunity to pitch your idea to potential investors.
If you’re looking for a way to patent an idea and sell it, look to the experts. Talk to those that have been there already. Whether you get great advice or you find an investor that wants to help you get going you’ll have the support needed to move forward with your project.