There is much more to just inventing.
Inventors are what bring us to the bleeding edge of technology, whether frivolous or life-saving. While most of them are well educated, experienced in a certain industry, and are full of gumption to go against the grain, many of them are not good at the business part.
Whether you are kicking around the idea of filing a patent or dedicating your time towards crafting inventions, here are some things to take into consideration so your efforts aren’t wasted:
Don’t Be So Quick to Brag
In the age of social media, it’s hard to keep things to oneself, and it’s especially prevalent amongst younger generations. Let’s say you develop some snazzy new software, and to get recognition from your peers, you want to plaster it all over Medium. Github, Twitter, and whatever channels you own.
From a business perspective, this is a big mistake, at least for patent-worthy material. While it’s still noble to share ideas or source code, at least do some market and/or patent research to make sure you don’t have a multi-million dollar idea for someone else to snatch.
If you want to get serious, you should get an intellectual property expert on the case as soon as possible. Most experts would even recommend getting the patent in long before you have a formal business running to protect copycats from abusing the system.
Standing on the shoulders of giants
For the vast majority of newbie inventors, a product won’t make it without assistance and funding from top players in the market. It’s quite easy to be buried under irrelevant products that are favored by large companies in our upside-down capitalist system.
Some inventors are pragmatic and go the route of leasing their patent to large companies with deep pockets. Some others tough it out by creating a startup and getting venture capital involved to carry their product. Either way, it’s easier to make it with large investors than doing it all by scratch.
Solving a Problem People Would Pay For
The sustainability of a product or service is based on its ability to solve a critical problem. If the demand is high enough, people or businesses will be willing to pay for it.
If you are lucky enough to hit the sweet spot between scarcity, demand, and complete obscurity, it’s an idea enough to make you billionaire while lacking other qualities. Think about how the likes of early software companies were able to make a fortune when little competition was in the market.
In a more competitive/established market, you would have to sharpen what your product offers by keeping up with marketing, customer experience, and package deals that make your brand seem economically viable.
Have Prototypes/Samples Ready
You probably see this mentioned on most invention blog posts, but it’s important to have a working model ready to show you are not full of it. This can be for presentations, crowdfunding pages, social media, and whatever marketing gimmicks you have up your sleeve.
Even for software products, you should have demos and concepts ready for users to test. You can cheaply set up pages on Github to allow developers and end-users alike to toy around with your test product.
Have a Real Business Plan
A business plan usually doesn’t work by whimsical actions. You should sit down and draft a plan of action, preferably with the guidance of someone who knows what they’re doing. You need to involve who you will be selling to, who will be doing the manufacturing, goalposts for your product, and other fine details.
Those that neglect research and professionalism are doomed to fail, even if the invention itself is quite brilliant. It’s important to maintain perseverance in the long, grueling and unfair process of trying to sell your invention, and it’s important to avoid comparing your progress to well-established companies.