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Here are some of our points we like to make to people interested in developing a product.
1. Stay away from the infomercial and advertising of the "Inventions are Us" type of business. Some of these are scams, but most will take large sums of your money with not much to show in return.
2. Patent lawyers want you to immediately file your idea to "protect" it. This is just the opposite of what companies do. They tend to patent their product when it hits the market. With the internet, it is possible for anyone to troll the patent office for ideas. A good example is Apple Corp. There is absolutely no information on new products until they are launched. Then they file patents. By the time their competitors figure it out, they are on to the next thing. Many believe that a patent will protect them, but that is only true if you are willing to fight infringement. That can cost a lot of money and take years to wind thru the courts. A billion dollar a year corporation can afford it, most private inventors can't.
3. A lot of people believe they will sell their patent to a large company. This does not happen. It is more likely that a company will by rights to a product after a market is established.
4. Before spending a dollar, you need to establish if a market for your idea exists. I see many ideas, but few people spend any effort to see if it is marketable. To go thru the whole process and then find out that no one will buy it is disheartening. Your friends and relatives opinions do not count.
5. A good way to test the market is to take your idea to a trade show. There are two ways to market at a trade show, one is to rent a booth and the other is to approach the people in a booth. A prototype to show is always a plus, but not necessary.
6. We can provide from one to hundreds of sample products. This allows you to get a feel for the market before investing in production tooling.
7. A tremendous resource for anyone thinking about starting a business or developing products is SCORE. SCORE is a service run by the Small Business Administration and it is totally free. It stands for Service Corp of Retired Executives. It consists of local retired executives from various disciplines. They can give you an unbiased perspective based on years of experience. Try to find a person who worked in a field that would be most helpful to you. For marketing and product development, an ex-insurance person doesn't have the expertise that you need. You can find a local chapter, or even an on-line counselor at score.org.
8. The start of any product development is to develop the computerized digital data that will be used throughout the process. In today's environment, it needs to be in 3D. This data is used for everything from marketing, to manufacturing. We employ experienced professionals that can do this. But it can get expensive. To reduce costs, I suggest contacting your local college and see if you can hire a student that is taking a course in computer design. They may not know all the tricks, but they can get you off the ground. There are some inexpensive programs that you can do this with. Google has a software called Sketch-up that will allow you to design simple items in 3D.