10 Steps to Make Your Idea a Reality
1. Get excited about iterating again and again. Be flexible with your vision and understand that good ideas are ideas that evolve.
2. Research if this idea already exists by doing a patent search. If it exists, explore whether there are ways to make it better, or cheaper.
3.Do as much preliminary research as possible on your market and demographic; understand their needs as well as the current growth trends in the industry. Know that your audience and their needs change each second.
"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
4. Research materials and manufacturing; learn the lingo. Know that the materials and tools you choose (i.e. plastic vs. silicone; injection molding vs 3D printing) are ultimately a vehicle for your idea; there are Ferraris and there are Honda Civics. For every decision there are more implications. Be sure to factor in shipping costs, especially when you’re sourcing manufacturing or assembly overseas.
5. Look into your marketing distribution options, which may include selling products on your own website, through sites like Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, or hiring a manufacturer representative to distribute your product.
6. Weigh the pros and cons of submitting for a patent vs. open sourcing your intellectual property. To keep an idea top secret can be valuable, but it can also be detrimental. The actual patent process itself is costly for many startups. More often than not, innovators have high expectations when it comes to how much protection a patent actually grants. The fact that your patent could fail to protect you in court is a consideration to keep in mind.
"Innovation is change that unlocks new value."
7. Start collecting quotes from firms that know how to make your product—or who have worked on similar products in the past. When you walk in the door, be prepared to offer specific details on your audience, non-negotiables as they relate to your user, timeframe, and budget.
8. Protect yourself. If only one option — for anything from materials to pricing and benchmarks — is on the table at any stage, throw a red flag and ask “why”. Get everything in writing. Before signing any contracts, it’s important to ask:
Can I trust these people with my money and my idea?
When it comes to discussions on payment, ask if there are opportunities to set milestones, or review renderings. Be cautious about the use of retainers. Have your agreements reviewed by someone with a legal background. Consider involving an advisory team of people who have experienced success and failure in business.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
9. Begin to create using whatever process for funding that best suits you. In the design process, if only one solution is on the table, throw a red flag and ask “why”. The more you research and the more questions you ask, the more you get for your dollar in the consultation stage.
Have patience. Patents applications take time. Grants take time. Seed funding takes time. Refining your pitch for investors takes time. Kickstarter & Indiegogo campaigns take time. Building a team of champions that will help your network scale, will help expedite the seed funding process.
10. Understand that your role as the innovator is ultimately to get your product to market faster than anyone else to have first-mover advantage. Anticipate that someone will copy your idea and make it more affordable. Embrace the journey.
"Failure is part of innovation — perhaps the most important part."
This article was published by the Jaycon team. Learn more about how we can take your product design and hardware idea to the next level here.