You’ve done it! You have officially created the next big item–the greatest thing to hit the marketplace since wheels became round and bread got sliced. Yes, your thingamajig is exactly what the world has been waiting for. The only problem is that you have no idea how to take the next step–turning your brilliant idea into a tangible product available for sale. And making a return on your investment.
There are several paths that you can take in order to bring your new product to the marketplace.
The DIY Path
Before embarking on a quest of this magnitude, it is important to ask yourself some big questions–and answer them honestly and realistically. Do you have the desire and the ability to commit your time and money into manufacturing, marketing, and distributing your thingamajig? Do you possess the knowledge, confidence, and stick-to-itiveness to see this monumental task to fruition? If you can truthfully say “yes,” to these questions, this may be the route for you.
While a patent is not a must-have in order to do this, “The Three Most Common Ways to Make Money from Your Invention” warns that if you “start selling your invention, or otherwise disclose it, and one year passes, you can kiss any hope of getting a patent goodbye.” It is also important to be realistic about the capital required for such a massive undertaking. Depending on the type of product, the manufacturing process, and the raw materials required, you may need to partner with investors. You will also need to become well-versed on how to start and operate a business and create a solid business plan.
If you are new to the world of entrepreneurialism, you may wish to start small by selling your thingamajig in your local market. This enables you to iron out any wrinkles in your supply chain, develop a small-scale marketing campaign, and test your product before making a sizeable investment. Selling at local stores, trade shows, fairs, and other public venues will enable you to generate some income while learning the ropes. Other options you could explore include setting up an online store or selling your product on a home shopping channel.
The License Path
This is a viable option for anyone who wishes to retain some control over their brainchild, but does not want to bite off the huge time and financial commitment involved in the DIY option. In this scenario, you will require a patent. You then license the rights to manufacture, market, distribute, and sell your thingamajig to another party. In return you will receive a set fee, a royalty on each unit sold, or a combination of both. According to “How to Make Money from Your Inventions,” these royalties vary from less than once percent of net sales up to about eight percent, but the majority range from three to six percent. While this may seem like a small return, it is important to note that the licensee is the one assuming all of the business risks.
The Sale Path
If you would simply like to sell your patent for a profit and move on to your next big invention, this option may appeal to you. You will have to secure a patent as no one will actually pay money for an “idea.” It is also important to remember that as “Turning an Invention Idea into Money” states, once you sell your patent, you have permanently transferred ownership and that any future financial gains such as royalties will no longer be yours. You will be kissing your brainchild goodbye.
Selecting a path is a life-changing decision. If you are unsure of what route is best for you, “How to Become a Successful Inventor” recommends seeking the help of professionals who are experts in the field of making your inventions materialize.
There you have it. You are one giant step closer to unveiling your thingamajig to an eager public. And seriously fattening up your wallet. So go ahead and do your happy jig.
What advice can you offer a budding inventor?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer, avid blogger, and lover of thingamajigs. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.