The Invention Process: From Idea to Market
So, you've come up with an idea for an invention and you think it is a great idea and you can make some money. This report will help guide you to validate the idea, develop it, build it, and bring it to market.
Please note that the steps below are presented in a logical order that one might follow, but in certain circumstance you may want to skip around the steps to suite your needs. For example, you may want to skip ahead to the patent section and do a search before proceeding to far along in the process only to find out that someone has already patented the idea.
Night's Sleep Test
First, before you go to far get a good night's sleep and if you still like the idea in the morning then start down the following process. The night's sleep test really works and could save you time and money.
Document the Idea
Okay, so you made it through the night's sleep test and now the first step is to document the idea on paper. It doesn't matter if the idea is a tangible product, a service, or a business process. Getting the idea set out on paper will serve several purposes. First, as you write (or type) it down you'll find that the idea is probably more complicated than you thought and this writing process will help you further develop the idea and work out the kinks. You'll likely think of enhancements to the original idea and you may even come up with additional products that compliment it. Furthermore, writing it down will give you a document that you'll be able to share with people interested in your idea to better understand what you're up to. This may include people who may later be providing financing, patent attorneys, friends and family, licensees, manufacturers, distributors, other experts who may become involved, etc. Lastly, and this is somewhat discouraging, but as you put it to paper you may find that the idea is not so good or perhaps realize that it already exists or you may simply lose interest or even find that it is not really feasible.
This documentation process may take some time, but don't get discouraged as it is an important step. Documentation of the idea may include a written description, detailed specifications, materials list, drawings, a list of possible manufacturing techniques or issues, and customers. Don't feel like you have to get this right and completed in one or two sittings and you'll be able to come back and revise it later as you go through the rest of the process, but a good attempt here will pay off later.
You may want to skip ahead and look at the section on patents. It may be wise at this stage to check to see if someone already has patented the idea.