The All-Inclusive Guide To Turn Your Invention Into A Successful Business
by Mony Shah Business Development 24 January 2024
Thomas Edison, Robert Kearns, and Elon Musk–what do they have in common? All of them built new products that have become an integral part of modern life.
But while Edison and Musk have reaped the rewards of their inventions, Kearns’s journey was filled with challenges. He designed, built, and patented the intermittent windshield wiper system in the 1960s.
Unfortunately, Kearns was turned down by companies like Chrysler and Ford when he tried to sell the technology. Then, from 1969 onward, several automobile manufacturers, including Ford, launched cars with intermittent wipers based on his invention.
It took a long and arduous legal battle for Kearns to receive the recognition and financial rewards for his invention. Nearly three decades had passed since he first came up with the idea.
And Kearns isn’t the only one. For every successful invention that makes it to the market, countless others don’t see the light of the day.
Of course, that shouldn’t keep aspiring innovators from fueling their creativity and coming up with remarkable ideas. You just have to know how to build a thriving business out of it (which takes more than simply patenting your invention.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to take your invention idea to the next level and build a profitable business. Let’s dive right in.
Validate Your Idea
First things first–even the most earth-shattering invention may not generate any profits if there’s a lack of demand. Before you even think about patenting your invention and setting up a company, it’s crucial to validate your idea.
Start by understanding whether your invention solves a pressing real-life problem for the target market. Research potential competitors in your niche to identify gaps in their offerings and determine whether your product can fulfill them. The last thing you want is for your invention to share the fate of the Apple Newton or Segway’s self-balancing scooters.
Next, calculate the cost of developing and distributing your product to target consumers. Determine whether you can maintain an affordable price point while still making money from each sale. It’s also a good time to visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website and find out if someone has already patented your invention.
While these steps can be time-consuming, they help you decide whether an idea is worth pursuing. The good thing is that you can seek professional help at each stage from an expert inventor coach like Brian Fried.
As noted by brianfried.com, Brian Fried is a serial inventor and author with 15 patents to his name. Having developed, licensed, and manufactured several inventions successfully, he is familiar with the complexities of turning an idea into a business.
Brian has worked closely with novice and established innovators for over 20 years, helping them assess validity and commercialize their ideas. He offers one-on-one coaching to help innovators navigate complex processes like patenting, product development, and more.
Besides speaking at conferences and other events, Brian also offers a 10-minute free consultation call to address any queries you might have about the business side of inventing.
Don’t Do It Alone
As an inventor, the urge to closely guard your ideas might come naturally to you. However, keep in mind that a business can’t run with a one-person army. From marketers and legal experts to accountants, you need driven and like-minded individuals to bring your ideas to fruition.
Build a team of skilled and trustworthy professionals to whom you can delegate different tasks. For instance, experienced attorneys can help you navigate the process of patenting your idea and negotiating licensing agreements.
Similarly, you need market researchers and analysts to monitor consumer behavior and purchase trends and determine whether your invention is viable. Depending on your idea, you’ll also have to hire other professionals, such as product designers and web developers.
Protect Your Idea
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to get your ideas copied or stolen. It is, therefore, crucial to know how to protect your invention from copyright infringement, and the process starts way before you apply for a patent.
It’s a good idea to build and test a prototype before applying for a patent. That way, you’ll be able to detect flaws and add new features early on. After you’ve refined the design, it’s time to file a patent. Consider hiring a patent attorney or consulting with an expert inventor like Brian Fried to get this step right.
Outline A Plan To Promote And Sell
Validating your idea and securing it with a patent is only part of the process. If you want to generate consistent income from your invention, you need a business plan.
Do you have the expertise and infrastructure to manufacture and distribute products at scale? Or would you like to give another company the rights to build and sell your product in exchange for a license fee? Do you have enough funds to run your own company? Or are you planning to reach out to investors?
If this has to do with development, you would normally need to cooperate with professionals. That is, if you’ve invented an amazing software solution for manufacturers, you’ll, most likely, need the help of custom enterprise application services to build that. Think about what your budget is and how long it will take to realize your plans.
Your answers to these questions will help you select the right business model.
It’s just as vital to have a marketing plan in place. Use various marketing techniques, such as email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing, to build hype for your product. The right type of marketing channel will depend on the selected business model and target audience.
For instance, if you’re looking to attract investors or licensing deals, platforms like LinkedIn can help you build traction. On the other hand, if your goal is to manufacture and sell directly to consumers, consider designing an e-commerce site and driving traffic through SEO.
Supercharge Revenue From Your Inventions
Brainstorming new product ideas is a rewarding experience on its own. But it doesn’t pay the bills. You need a well-crafted plan to turn your inventions into tangible products and monetize them. It’s also a good idea to build a strong team and delegate responsibilities.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to consult with experts like Brian Fried when dealing with complicated processes like patenting and licensing. Brian Fried has decades of experience mentoring aspiring innovators and giving them the confidence to turn their inventions into full-fledged businesses.
While you’re at it, explore online resources and social media platforms like the Inventor Smart Community app that are designed specifically for innovators. Such platforms can help you collaborate with other like-minded inventors and even promote your ideas.