Your goal as an entrepreneur is to introduce a best-selling idea that leads to business success. If you're among the few with a truly original idea, you could be on your way. Or you might make an existing idea much better. This may be the quicker route to achieving results, as long as you don't take any shortcuts past the necessary research.
Any product or service should respond to a need or solve a problem. Ask who will use it and why. If you were the investor instead of the inventor, what would you look for in a new idea?
Thorough research should confirm that your idea will be viable and useful. Approach your idea from different angles to determine whether it has already been implemented under another guise. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, try to improve it.
- Think of products to make your own life better.
- Adapt an idea that works in another geographic area to your own district.
- Look for weaknesses; respond accordingly.
- If your idea already exists, market or brand it to address another need.
Think you have zero competition? Dig deeper. Online searches will produce the obvious competition, but you may also find paths that lead to related ideas.
Once your research leads to an idea that you could develop into a prototype, you need to know if people will pay for your product or service or if sellers will sell it. Test the waters with resources such as:
- Marketing software – gauge demand
- Crowdsourcing feedback – use online surveys and usability testing
- Product development companies – determine your market and get help with the next steps
You could develop a website to gauge pre-launch support. Will customers place orders before the product is even ready? Ask an advisor for guidance; investors will be especially honest. Other sounding boards include patent agents and your local economic development office.
If you believe in your idea and are willing to make sacrifices to bring it to fruition, your next step may be to engage a patent agent to see if you should apply for a patent. Our section on copyright and intellectual property has information to get you started.
Be more than just the inventor; be the entrepreneur who takes all the steps that can lead to success.