How to Turn an Idea Into a Product
(And Build a Thriving Business!)
Do you have an idea for a potentially game-changing product that you want to try and bring to life?
You're not alone. Every year, about 30,000 new products are released in the U.S.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these products fail. Some experts have guesstimated that about 95% of them don't end up making a serious dent in the marketplace and get shelved before long.
But you shouldn't let this stop you from trying to figure out how to turn an idea into a product. Who knows? Your product could be a part of the 5% of products that become massive successes once they're released.
It won't be easy to learn how to get an idea made. It requires a ton of hard work and perseverance to move from idea to product.
But if you're up for the challenge, you can create a winning product and even use it to jumpstart a new business. Here is what to do if you have an invention idea.
Start Documenting Every Aspect of Your Product Idea From the Beginning
When you first come up with an idea for a new product, you might be tempted to tinker with that idea without putting anything down on paper. It's still, after all, just a loose idea that you have in your head.
You'll be making a huge mistake if you don't document your product idea right from the very beginning. At some point down the line, someone could claim that you stole your idea from them. And if you don't have any documented proof that your idea was, in fact, your idea, it could present a problem.
For this reason, you should put a pencil to paper and document your idea as early on as you can. You should write down things like:
- A description of your product idea
- Possible names for your product idea
- The exact purpose of your product idea
You should also include the dates whenever you write down anything about your product idea. It'll show that your idea was original to you and that you didn't take it from anyone else.
Do All the Necessary Research on Your Product Idea
In addition to writing down notes about your product idea from the start, you should also make it your mission to do all the necessary research that you can on your idea. This is how to develop a product idea further beyond just the initial idea that you have in your head.
While researching your product idea, you should ask yourself certain questions and then set out to answer them. Some of the questions you'll want to answer during your research will be:
- Is there already a product that is similar to the one that I have in mind out there?
- Who would be the target audience for my product idea?
- How lucrative could my product idea be if everything goes according to plan and I'm able to create it?
You're probably going to spend a decent amount of money figuring out how to create an invention from scratch. You might even have to take out small business loans to fund the development. Make sure it's going to be money well spent.
Work on Developing an Initial Prototype for Your Invention
Once you reach this point, you're going to be on the verge of crystallizing the idea that you have in your head for a new product. It'll be make or break time for your idea, as you'll have to sit down and develop the very first prototype for it.
A prototype is the first actual product that you'll put together based on the idea that you have. It'll be up to you to fine-tune the plans for your prototype so that you're able to invent the product that you want to release to the masses later.
There are several important steps that you'll need to take while developing an initial prototype for your invention. These steps will include:
- Sketching out a drawing of your prototype before you begin trying to piece it together in real life
- Using computer software to turn your drawing into a virtual prototype that you can play around with
- Taking your virtual prototype and transforming it into a physical prototype that you can hold in your hands
After you've worked your way through these steps, you should run tests on your physical prototype to make sure it does what you want it to do. This will help point out the flaws in your designs so that you can mess around with them some more.
It'll help you to build additional prototypes as you move down the line until you finally land on the perfect design for your product idea. It often takes inventors a long time to reach the end of the design phase. But it's essential for them to iron out all the kinks before they begin manufacturing their product.
Look Around for a Manufacturer for Your Product
When you have the final prototype for your product idea in your hands and you're 100% happy with it, you'll be close to filing a patent for it. But before you do that, there's one more thing you'll want to take care of.
You should look around for a company that can manufacture your product. Speak with at least a few different manufacturers about their services and see how much they would charge to mass-produce your product for you.
The last thing you want to do is wait until too late in the game to discover that mass-producing your product isn't going to make financial sense. There are some products that are way too expensive to produce, and they don't allow those that produce them to make a big enough profit.
You want to be sure this won't be the case with your product. By talking with manufacturers, you can find out what it'll cost you to produce your product and how much you'll have to charge to make a profit on it.
File a Patent for Your Product
At this stage, your product idea will already feel real to you. You'll have a final prototype for it and manufacturing all lined up.
But you'll make it feel even more real by filing a patent for your product and getting your product idea patented. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has an entire process that inventors need to go through in order to successfully patent a product.
This process will call for you to:
- Figure out what kind of Intellectual Property protection you need for your product
- Prove that your product is original and doesn't include anything that has been patented by someone else
- Complete a patent application and pay a fee associated with it
- Work with a patent examiner to tie up any loose ends with relation to your application
- Wait for your patent to be approved
As long as everything goes according to plan, your patent should be approved within a couple of months. You'll receive a patent for your product, and from there, you'll be responsible for maintaining the patent to prevent it from expiring.
Begin Mass-Producing Your Product
With a patent for your product in place, you'll be free to begin mass-producing it with help from your manufacturer. You should figure out how many products you want to start off with and place an order for them.
There is a chance that your manufacturer may express some concerns that they have once production begins. Stay in constant communication with them to ensure your products turn out exactly the way you want them to.
Establish a Business to Sell Your Product to People
To start selling a product to people, you need more than just a product itself. It's not enough to just learn how to turn an idea into a product and start manufacturing the product.
You also have to establish a business and use it to sell your product. You should come up with a name for your business, register it, obtain the right insurance policies for it, and make it legit.
Additionally, you should create a website for your company and your initial product and set up social media accounts for your business, too. All of this is going to help you market your product and build a business around it.
The only thing left to do after all that will be to sit back and see how your product sells. It'll be the end of a wild ride in one regard and the beginning of an exciting new adventure in another.
You Now Know How to Turn an Idea Into a Product
People have ideas—great ideas even—every single day. But the vast majority of them aren't prepared to put in the work it takes to learn how to turn an idea into a product.
If you have what you think is a pretty solid idea, you shouldn't be like these people. Work your butt off to turn your idea into the product that you know it can be.
You could make a lot of money and maybe even change the world just a little by releasing your product. It'll make all the effort that you put into it well worth it.
Want some more advice on getting a new business off the ground? Take a look at our blog to get the tips you need.