Anyone with enough money can re-package and market a pre-existing product. It takes real guts to invent something entirely new, and try to make money from it. While various inventors have had a profound influence on life as we know it, it can be extremely hard to make it as one yourself. If you’ve thought of a new technology which fills a gap in the market, here’s how to go about making it a reality.
Before you even begin to think about pitching your idea, make sure you protect it. You’ve heard of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, right? It may surprise you to hear that a man named Antonio Meucci was the real father of this remarkable machine, and he never saw a penny from it! Countless people have had their ideas stolen and capitalised on over the years, so make sure you’re not one of them! You should start by applying for a provisional patent from a company like Trademark Consultants. You also need to understand how nondisclosure agreements work. If you rush into things, telling anyone and everyone about your idea, your entire venture could end in disaster.
Once you have a nice legal safety net, start composing an elevator pitch. The elevator pitch for your product is similar to the cover letter of a job application. An employer uses this to decide whether or not they’re interested in the candidate. Similarly, investors will use your elevator pitch to gauge their own interest. You need to keep this short and to the point, but also engaging. Remember that most of these investors aren’t scientists or engineers like you. Complicated jargon may sound great to you, but may baffle a lot of other people. You should rehearse a verbal pitch as well. Try to keep this below thirty seconds, and practice it obsessively. Inc. has a pretty good article on this.
Once you have this groundwork down, you can start trying to make some money from your idea. In most cases, you’ll have one of two options. Firstly, there’s selling the patent. Before doing this, you should know that this rarely results in a profit. However, it gives you a guarantee of an immediate, definite payoff, which should at least cover your start-up costs. Another option is setting up your own independent business, and selling the product yourself. This means that the profits go straight to you, but requires a lot of hard work and investment. To begin with, any money you make might be swallowed up by the costs you’ve already put in. These will typically include accounting and legal fees. Many inventors do this with the aim of being bought out. However, if you’re determined to stay in charge of your product, be sure to learn as much as you can about running a business.
Right now, your invention may just be a dream. There’s a long road ahead of you, but don’t be discouraged! With enough dedication and a bit of marketing know-how, you can make your dream a reality!