Many people find themselves with an idea for a product, but have absolutely no idea of what they should and should not do to take that idea from concept to cash. We hope that the following outline will give you some ideas along this line. Words in CAPITALS correspond to other sections of our free information which will provide more detailed information about the particular subject. So, here we go:
STEP 1 Make a written DISCLOSURE. Sooner or later you will need a written description and, in our opinion, the sooner the better. It costs you nothing and you will need it for each of the following steps. Click HERE for Printable Non-Disclosure Form.
STEP 2 File a PROVISIONAL patent application. This is the fastest, cheapest and easiest means available to get protection for your idea.(Compare our information on PATENTS and PATENT APPLICATIONS) You do not need prototypes, formal drawings or SEARCHES! Click HERE for info about PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION.
STEP 3 Do Some Market Research. Get some opinions as to how much public interest there is in your device. Would they buy it? What range of prices are they willing to pay for it? What do they particularly like or dislike about it? Use NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS, click HERE for printable agreement
STEP 4 Consider Funding . At any point after this you may find that you need available. There are numerous funding sources available, such as government grants, bank loans, venture capitalists, etc. Talk to the S.C.O.R.E. counselors at the local office of the Small Business Administration, a branch of the U.S. Government. SCORE is the Service Corps Of Retired Executives and these are people who have been top executives in business and industry and who now volunteer their time to help people like you start small businesses.
STEP 5 File A Utility PATENT. Your PROVISIONAL patent application will protect you for only ONE YEAR. Therefore, when your Provisional Application has been filed for about 8 months, you should consider filing a utility application. Click HERE for more information on Utility Patents.
STEP 6 Learn About Production Costs. There are two primary ways of taking your idea from concept to cash A) produce and sell the device yourself or B) license of sell to a large company. In either case, the more you know about the costs of production, the better off you will be. You will need information about: a) cost of a prototype b) cost of tooling c) unit production costs at several volumes. such as 1000 units, 50,000 units and 500,000 units d) retail sales price e) profit margin f) amount of expected annual sales. Click HERE for LA Goodwill Industries of Southern California.
STEP 7 Finding a Company to Buy Or License Your Idea. If you are planning to sell or license your idea to a company, the information from Step 6 will help you to interest them and will help you determine what your selling price or royalty rate should be. Also, you need to learn all you can about a) the industry b) the leading companies c) industry and company attitudes toward outside inventors d) who to contact in the company e) when to contact them f) where to contact them. Your SCORE counselors can be extremely helpful in getting this information.
STEP 8 TRADEMARKS. It may be a good idea to come up with a TRADEMARK for your product. Click HERE for our free info on trademarks.
STEP 9 Marketing, Packaging And Distribution. You will need to consider how you are going to sell your product - TV Infomercial, Internet, Mail Order, Retail, etc. You will also need to consider a) packaging b) shipping c) wholesalers d) brokers. Again, your SCORE counselors can be extremely valuable for this information. We hope that the foregoing information will be helpful to you and, as we tell all our clients, we hope that, the next time we talk to you, it is on the cell phone from your Rolls Royce.