I’ve just finished watching another episode of The New Inventors, an Australian televised show about inventors around Australia who have great ideas that have been taken to the next step: Many are patented, most are amazing and contribute to the well-being of society. Some seem frivolous, yet we understand the need for a six-person table-tennis table!
So I had to check out their website to find more information for my own ideas. I’ve had a few good ideas over the last twenty years. And yes, I’ve not taken them any further than pencilling them, testing their parameters, checking their viability, asking my father what he thought (which is ALWAYS a good idea), and mostly just letting them slide by into oblivion. More about the future of those ideas later.
I was particularly inspired by the TINI content-filled site, though what I found most amazing is that it is FILLED with lots of written information. They certainly want to help us to make our dreams come to fruition, achieve our goals and be successful in the ideas we have. But I find the whole lot just a mess of words.
Thankfully they include a set of “Handy Tips” at the base of each ‘Task‘ page. I’ve taken the liberty of extracting these for easy reading. This is more for my benefit than yours, but I figured you’d want to be aware of this information.
Eureka! The First Step – Having a Good Idea.
- The process of discovery may require a little time and patience. Try sitting in a quiet space for a few hours and let your idea take flight.
- Sometimes is can be difficult to harness the theory behind your idea. Take the time to do some market research on the product or service in question, in particular your target demographic.
- Always keep a notebook handy. You never know when a lightning bolt may strike.
- If you are something of a prolific inventor be sure to keep an individual logbook for every invention, to ensure accuracy and clarity.
- Try and keep your journal away from prying eyes; leave it on the kitchen table and you’re asking for trouble!
- You may decide to have your inventor’s log witnessed by a JP or solicitor for authentication.
- Mailing your invention in a seal envelope to your home address is NOT a sufficient stamp of authenticity!
- Make a note of all materials that you use in the process of inventing: photographs, illustrations or even a home video. Just remember the golden rule is document, document, document!
- The IP Australia website is a great starting point.
- Do your homework. Spend at least one month researching the market.
- If you’re not Internet savvy, go to a bookshop or library, as there is plenty of literature to assist your research.
- If you find your idea has already been patented, don’t give up. If it’s a good idea, there may be many avenues to consider in its development.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for public feedback. But always employ a confidentiality agreement.
- Attend all exhibitions and company trade fairs that may relate to your product.
- Consider a patent pending. Bear in mind that any significant alterations to your original patented idea will require a new application.
- Consulting a professional patent attorney will considerably improve your chances when filing your application.
- Be meticulous in your research of the firm or organisation to whom you sell or license your idea. Remember to take advantage of the manufacturers online databases.
- When consulting the professional, don’t forget the confidentiality agreement! You may foil your chances of filing for a patent if you disclose your idea without appropriate protection.
- Find out about a local inventors group and get a support network.
- Don’t leave it to chance. Develop a financial strategy and stay above water.
- Don’t struggle alone! Seek out an inventions mentor.
- A professional and businesslike approach will increase your chances of being taken seriously.
Prototype – Once, Twice, Thrice
- The better your prototype, the better your chances of selling!
- Test and re-test your product before any demonstrations.
- Research and revise. Constructive feedback from your demographic is priceless.
- Beware: if you intend to make revisions after you have received a patent, you will need to make a new application for your updated product.
Gettin’ Your Business Plan Together
- Continually define and redefine your product and its intended market.
- Nurture your inner salesman learn how to spruik, professionally!
- A carefully written business plan helps iron out flaws. Use it wisely.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for professional support and guidance.
Getting Your Product On The Shelf
- Don’t try and go it alone. There are more than 800 grants available to inventors.
- Trade shows are a hotbed of potential. Get our there and mingle!
- Don’t be afraid to seek mentorship and guidance.
- Persistence and determination go a long way.
Revise & Renew Yourself and Your Product
- Consider at least five reasons why someone would NOT buy your product and tackle each problem head on.
- Carefully research the buying habits of your consumers.
- Scout out similar products and see if you can improve on them.
And this is the most important page to read. Not only is it important to have a good idea, but to know where and how to take it to the next level. Many assume that simply having an idea is going to make them billionaires. No, you seriously need to consider whether you have the self-confidence – not just in your product, but within yourself – to seriously take on what will become a business.
I say this: When you have a good idea, a really seriously good idea, don’t let it sit in the back room of your mind, don’t let it become a ‘I-should-have’, nor let it be forgotten. Every day the world is looking for new ways to transport, transfuse, transpire, and telecommunicate. What if it was your idea that made it all change? What if you were the one to find a replacement for oil? Most importantly, and even if your idea is small and seemingly insignificant, maybe your idea will make a difference.