I have an idea for a product...now what?

So I’ve had this idea for a product but I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ve seen adverts for companies that help you flesh these ideas out but I’ve heard they might be scams. What’s the dope say? Any ideas?

Not to be a wet blanket, but what you have is step 0 on a list that goes into the hundreds.

Can you build a prototype yourself? Are you passionate about the idea? Do you have some contacts in the industry?

Do you have a lot of money?

No money and no contacts. And Step 0 sounds about right. I could probably prototype it myself though. And idk about passionate. Its something that I keep thinking out; last 7 years or so. I think it’s work great but I usually just get lazy and drop it. But I definitely think its worth pursuing.

A friend of mine (who developed several products) once said that “The idea is not the important thing - it’s the implementation of the idea that is.”

Ideas are a dime a dozen.

Definitely. Like I said in my op; there are companies that will assist with implementing these sorts of things. Are they worth a damn?

I believe there is a poster on the SDMB who used to work for a place that claims to help inventors, and who does not refer to them in flattering terms.

I’ve worked with people who have developed physical products starting with an idea. They probably made it look easier than it was, and it still looked like a nightmare. I’d suggest that if you’re at step 0 and you’re already looking for shortcuts, then maybe it’s not the life for you.

If it’s only a matter of money, then maybe Kickstarter can help?

Of course if we knew what your idea was we might be able to better point you in the right direction. :slight_smile:

Most of those companies that claim they can take your idea to a full fledged product aren’t scams per se, but they charge you every step of the way. That’s how they make their money. Perhaps 1% (or less) of ideas they start with ever makes it into production.

You may want to consult a patent attorney to see if your idea really is unique and whether you can apply for a patent on it. That way if someone copies your idea you have a case against them.

Is this a consumer product or something industrial? If a particular industry can benefit from it they may be willing to partner with you on getting a prototype built, but you have to be carefully protect your interests since they may decide just to do it themselves.

Who is the customer for this product?

Is it something you would use yourself? If you aren’t the customer, how do you know there are customers?

Go find a dozen people who you think might buy such a thing, describe it to them, and ask how much they’d pay for it.

Or you could just tell us, and we’ll help you find customers/implement it.

Seriously: No one is going to steal your idea. The hard part will be getting people to believe that your idea is a good one in the first place.

I think that they will expect you to pay them to assist in developing your idea. So I’d recommend trying to develop your idea on your own. If I were you, I’d start by trying to find out what similar products are out there. Also, what patents exist for similar products.

So i don’t know about getting too far into the details of this online…

  1. It’s a consumer product.
  2. I would use it; wish I’ve had it for years. It’s not a day-to-day product but more of a occasional use.
  3. I guess it could be a standalone product or designed as an improvement to an existing product.

I’ve looked for existing patents in the patent office’s website and I cannot find one. I was searching the abstract on two basic terms and it only came up with one entry. And that entry was negligible. I need to continue looking though.

I can’t find any existing product like this. Even a basic Google search returns erroneous results.

I think I might end up looking into a patent before I do any prototyping. Idk, I guess I’ll look up patent lawyers and possibly speak to them.

You’re putting the cart miles ahead of the horse.

If it’s a fairly small and relatively simple product, you can try quirky.com.
They have an on-line catalog of their products so you can get an idea of their genre’. They now sell some things on Amazon (which is how I found them).
It’s $10 to submit an idea.
The Co. and site members vote on which ideas to develop.
Then they colaborate on design, production, name, marketing, etc… (ea step separately) to bring it to market.
I spent the vast majority of a weekend trying to fully understand the quirky process and am put off by the amount of ambiguity.
I have a few ideas too - I’ve got a notebook of them, and now multiple computer files… a couple of them might fit nicely w/ quirky…
Even if your idea isn’t selected for development (and the vast majority aren’t) you do get constructive feedback for improvements.

Oh, you can also get the book ‘Good Idea! Now what’

To paraphrase (because I am too lazy to look up the exact quote) Don Lancaster:

“Ideas used to be worth a dime a dozen, however the inflation of ideas has outpaced monetary inflation and and they are now worth considerably less than a dime a gross in hundred gross lots.”

Don has lots of advice for aspiring inventors. Find it here:

Wasn’t me, but I’ve covered them as a reporter, and most are scams designed to bleed money from inventors. The Patent Office has a section of their website devoted to the topic.

Patents cost $10,000 to $15,000, perhaps more under the “first-to-file” provisions that went into effect this month. That’s definitely not the next step after “have idea.”

The next step is doing the research to figure out how you would market the product, how you would manufacture it, and the costs for each. If you don’t know how to do either, then that start by educating yourself or finding people who know.

Oh. I read that differently.
I read, “and who does not refer to them [inventors] in flattering terms” and not “and who does not refer to them [these companies] in flattering terms”

I guess the difference is in whether you want someone to fleece you of your money or someone to point out all your shortcomings to your face.

Those are good steps, but before you do that, go try to find some customers.

Go to some public place with a clipboard and ask if you can have 1 minute of people’s time to conduct a very quick survey. Ask them if they ever have [problem], which your idea can solve. If they say yes, then describe your idea to them, and ask if they might buy one of those. If they say yes, ask how much they think it’s worth. You should be able to talk to at least 50 people in an hour.

How many people have the problem? How many people think they might buy your solution. Can you find at least one person who isn’t you or someone with a vested interested in not hurting your feelings that’s excited about buying this thing?