The questions every inventor should ask before developing a new product

Excerpt from “How to Turn Your Idea Into a Success Story”

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and potential of a new idea. But before you start investing time and money make a rational assessment of your idea. Be critical and objective. Firstly, look at the market you have for your invention.

Is there realistically a market for my invention?

Is the market large or small?

Is your invention specialised or does it have a wide appeal?

Is it a consumable or a one-off item with no real resale potential?

Inventions are usually thought up to solve a problem or to revolutionise an outdated method of doing something. Ask yourself these questions.

What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Is there another product out there that solves the same problem in a different way?

If so, why are you trying to change this?

Is your invention that much different and better?

Is the problem you’re trying to solve really a problem or have you thought up a nice little gimmick which no one really needs?

Look at the competition you would be facing such as other products which are capable of doing the same as your product.

What is the price of the product currently in use, and would you be able to compete with this price?

Would your product complement another product which is already out there?

Would your product fit in with a range of other product’s already being sold?

If your invention is a significant improvement, you should be able to charge more. However, even if you do not have much competition, you need to be able sell at a price people would be willing to pay.

Once you have asked yourself these questions you should have a better understanding of what the strengths and weaknesses of your invention are. Later on in the process you will use this understanding to play on your invention’s strengths and to address any weaknesses.

Few inventions are without weaknesses. There may be many ways of addressing a problem or a weakness. If you have a small market, there may be alternative uses for your inventions or maybe you could add something to widen the appeal. If you have high manufacturing costs, you may be able to change the materials used for the product in order to lower the cost. Remember that these issues would also be relevant for licensing your invention.

On a piece of paper, draw a line in the middle and list the benefits on one side, the weaknesses on the other side. This way you will get a good overview of the issues you have to deal with. This is similar to what you would do as part of your business plan. You can also do a SWOT analysis (SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). This is simply stating these four aspects of your invention/business in order to get a clearer picture of these.

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