by: TOMIMA EDMARK.
ON YOUR MARK......
Just thought of a great new product?
Well, that was the easy part.
Here’s. how to get it off the drawing board!
* * * * * * *
I N A FLASH OF SHERE BRILLIANCE, YOU COME UP WITH A GREAT IDEA.
YOU’VE THOUGHT OF THE PRODUCT CONSUMERS WILL CLAMOR FOR,---- ONE THAT WILL LAND YOU ON THE COVER OF ALL THE TOP BUSINESS MAGAZINES. (AT THE VERY LEAST) BUT A LOOMING QUESTION FILLS YOUR THOUGHTS: “NOW WHAT?”
That question becomes even more daunting when you realize you have many new choices. Some can be expensive, others are just a waste of time. But one thing is certain: Your first step should be to evaluate your idea’s marketability and potential for success . After all, without good marks in these two basic areas, your idea will never pay off . So here are some suggestions for the novice inventor.
One of the first things you should do---- after coming up with your brainstorm---- is find a very comfortable chair to sit in and think long and hard about your idea.
If an invention is going to make lots of money, it must be more than just a good idea. With store shelves already filled to capacity, a product must be outstanding to attract consumers attention----—and cash.
WHEN CONSIDERING YOUR IDEA, START WITH THE BASICS.
For instance, is it legal? Don’t skip this step, because your product could cross some legal boundaries you weren’t even aware existed.
Many watchdog agencies ensure that products meet or exceed certain standards and requirements; these include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, OSHA, and the Underwriters Laboratory.
Does the product conform to all local, state and federal laws? Are you real sure your idea doesn’t infringe on someone else’s patent? Many of these concerns can be answered by speaking with experts in your industry, consulting with an attorney and having a patent search performed.
Next, ask yourself if your product will create safety concerns. This is an issue you can’t afford to ignore. If your product is designed for children, this should be your number-one concern. Get advice about this issue from both your attorney and your insurance carrier.
Also consider the environmental impact of your idea. Consumers to day care more about how products affect the environment than they did in the past. Your idea may be more successful if it’s biodegradable or recyclable.
Also consider consumers’ likely perception of your product. There are many great ideas that people simply won’t accept for one reason or another. For example, a hat with a built-in stereo, sunglasses and fan may be practical, but many people would consider it ridiculous and, in turn, ridicule the wearer.
What industry does your idea belong to? Making this distinction is important because it helps you identify what companies and products make up your daily competition. You can then shop the competition and see what you’ll he competing against, what your retail price will need to he and what stores you can sell to.
Knowing whom you’re marketing to is most crucial to determine before you start the development process. Does your idea fit into a growing or shrinking market? For example, developing a new type of adding-machine paper when adding machines are virtually obsolete is probably not going to be a money-maker.
Get an idea of who will buy your product and how many of these people there are. What is the profile of your potential customers? Do they live in one specific geographic area? Will they be able to afford your product?
You can conduct your own surveys of potential consumers at shopping malls or other public places . Or you can talk to potential retailers of your product to gauge their interest.
April 1999 (Pg. 161)
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