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I have an original product idea. Which of these pathways to take?

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theOfficialRJ

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I have an original idea for a product. The target customers are hobbyists from a very specific and small niche, yet big enough to make this product lucrative. (The Facebook group for this hobby has around 30K members). After a thorough Google and Amazon research session, I've concluded that nobody is currently manufacturing this product (or anything similar), and I couldn't find evidence that it has been manufactured in the past. There is obviously demand for this product as the members of this Facebook group are always resorting to D.I.Y. methods to solve the problem.

The following are possible roads I can take to bring this idea to life:
1. Build a prototype and get some members to test it. See if they like it, and go from there
2. Design and send blueprints to an overseas manufacturer such as Sourcify (if you know others, please comment below)
3. Build them myself and cut manufacturing costs (I'd be trading my time with this one).
4. Kickstarter to raise capital and build them locally

Which one of these would you recommend? Do you have any experience with any of the above? Do you have any other ways to develop the product that I haven't thought of?
 

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Real Deal Denver

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The following are possible roads I can take to bring this idea to life:

1. Build a prototype and get some members to test it. See if they like it, and go from there
Why? You understand the problem better, or at least as good, as they do. This would be a huge waste of time and resources, so I vote a solid no.

2. Design and send blueprints to an overseas manufacturer such as Sourcify (if you know others, please comment below)
This would be a viable option IF they don't suck you into paying for molds to be made. With 3-D printing, you should be able to avoid molds. After HEAVY research and referrals from manufacturers, this is the route I would take. Walter Hay (a forum member here) would be a gold mine of information about sourcing your product overseas. He also has a book available on that topic. I don't know much about that yet - but I'm learning...

3. Build them myself and cut manufacturing costs (I'd be trading my time with this one).
You're not talking a million units here - but you do mention 30K, which is wayyyy too much to handle on your own. This is a bad idea any way you cut it, unless you only plan to sell 50 or less.

4. Kickstarter to raise capital and build them locally
This is a toss up. Could work, but I don't have any information to form an opinion from. If it is a product with strong demand, I'd consider combining Kickstarter and overseas manufacturing. Study the pebble watch story of how super success could be possible.

One other option you could do is this - find a manufacturer of a similar product and license this to them. This is not as easy as it sounds - lots of research would be required of you, but the good news is that the information is readily available. Amazon has tons of books on this topic.

Let the licensed manufacturer do the heavy lifting. If it turns out to be a hit, you will have leverage for them to buy you out, and you win big time without the stress and headaches of doing it the hard way.
 

jlwilliams

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I have some experience with this sort of thing.

My two cents based on my own experience which may or may not mirror your situation is that going directly into mass production (especially contracted manufacturing) is a mistake. I've seen lots of shops come up with an idea, build one, test it a much as you can test your first version (with built in bias and the pressure of building costs pushing them toward a "final" decision) then jump into production. The product comes out with all the short comings they didn't see. The public nit pics it to shreds, and then someone comes out with what they should have done and eats their lunch.

Start by making a prototype and then a test run. Get "Beta testers" to try it out. Just a few well respected people within the craft to privately use a free copy then report back with their input. Give them a free copy of the upgraded, production version when you go into production. These people will hopefully become your biggest fans and an invaluable base. Start your production on a small scale. Get all your subcontracted work done in small enough batches to allow you to improve it as you go. Then, when you have a couple thousand units out and it's priced high enough that you did ok with the high cost of small batch production cost; then look into increasing volume and reap the benefit of scale.

Let me touch again on a part that bears repeating. If you start with the lowest cost and charge the lowest price, you build the lowest quality and attract the cheapest customers. You can cut costs and lower prices with scale down the line, but if you start out with a $19.99 price tag and later find out that you need to make a change that necessitates a price increase you are toast.

If you start by building the best and charging accordingly you build a brand worth building. Catering to cheap customers is doom. I repeat... DOOM. Cheap customers are demanding, high maintenance, low value pains in the butt. Build the best product for the customer who is willing to buy the best; then over deliver. People with high standards appreciate over delivery and will reward you for it.
 

theOfficialRJ

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Dec 31, 2017
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The following are possible roads I can take to bring this idea to life:

1. Build a prototype and get some members to test it. See if they like it, and go from there
Why? You understand the problem better, or at least as good, as they do. This would be a huge waste of time and resources, so I vote a solid no.

2. Design and send blueprints to an overseas manufacturer such as Sourcify (if you know others, please comment below)
This would be a viable option IF they don't suck you into paying for molds to be made. With 3-D printing, you should be able to avoid molds. After HEAVY research and referrals from manufacturers, this is the route I would take. Walter Hay (a forum member here) would be a gold mine of information about sourcing your product overseas. He also has a book available on that topic. I don't know much about that yet - but I'm learning...

3. Build them myself and cut manufacturing costs (I'd be trading my time with this one).
You're not talking a million units here - but you do mention 30K, which is wayyyy too much to handle on your own. This is a bad idea any way you cut it, unless you only plan to sell 50 or less.

4. Kickstarter to raise capital and build them locally
This is a toss up. Could work, but I don't have any information to form an opinion from. If it is a product with strong demand, I'd consider combining Kickstarter and overseas manufacturing. Study the pebble watch story of how super success could be possible.

One other option you could do is this - find a manufacturer of a similar product and license this to them. This is not as easy as it sounds - lots of research would be required of you, but the good news is that the information is readily available. Amazon has tons of books on this topic.

Let the licensed manufacturer do the heavy lifting. If it turns out to be a hit, you will have leverage for them to buy you out, and you win big time without the stress and headaches of doing it the hard way.

Thanks for your input! I don't think any molding would be necessary as this would mostly be made out of plywood or particleboard. I will be sure to contact Walter Hay and see if he has any advice for me.

There is a manufacturer who makes a similar product (it can't be used for this application) but it looks like they went out of business and I have no clue why. This is actually really bothering me. I couldn't find any customer reviews either so I don't know what the customers didn't like about their product. No luck trying to track down any of their customers either. The only two things I can think of that put them out of business are their build quality and their ridiculously high pricetag.

I have some experience with this sort of thing.

My two cents based on my own experience which may or may not mirror your situation is that going directly into mass production (especially contracted manufacturing) is a mistake. I've seen lots of shops come up with an idea, build one, test it a much as you can test your first version (with built in bias and the pressure of building costs pushing them toward a "final" decision) then jump into production. The product comes out with all the short comings they didn't see. The public nit pics it to shreds, and then someone comes out with what they should have done and eats their lunch.

Start by making a prototype and then a test run. Get "Beta testers" to try it out. Just a few well respected people within the craft to privately use a free copy then report back with their input. Give them a free copy of the upgraded, production version when you go into production. These people will hopefully become your biggest fans and an invaluable base. Start your production on a small scale. Get all your subcontracted work done in small enough batches to allow you to improve it as you go. Then, when you have a couple thousand units out and it's priced high enough that you did ok with the high cost of small batch production cost; then look into increasing volume and reap the benefit of scale.

Let me touch again on a part that bears repeating. If you start with the lowest cost and charge the lowest price, you build the lowest quality and attract the cheapest customers. You can cut costs and lower prices with scale down the line, but if you start out with a $19.99 price tag and later find out that you need to make a change that necessitates a price increase you are toast.

If you start by building the best and charging accordingly you build a brand worth building. Catering to cheap customers is doom. I repeat... DOOM. Cheap customers are demanding, high maintenance, low value pains in the butt. Build the best product for the customer who is willing to buy the best; then over deliver. People with high standards appreciate over delivery and will reward you for it.

That's a great idea and will likely be the path that I take.
And I never thought about that! Honestly, I probably would've learned that the hard way. With my last product, I focused on making it as cheap as possible because it was already being sold by other businesses but for twice the price of mine, if not more. Now I know that that would be a mistake with a brand new idea.

Slightly off topic: Do you recommend getting it patented at this stage? I am Canadian but most of my customers will be from the US. I did some research yesterday and this concept had NOT been patented yet. I also looked at the costs of patenting. It's expensive to file for a patent in just one country, let alone several others. Should I wait until the testing is done and save up in the meantime?
 

Real Deal Denver

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My two cents based on my own experience which may or may not mirror your situation is that going directly into mass production (especially contracted manufacturing) is a mistake. I've seen lots of shops come up with an idea, build one, test it a much as you can test your first version (with built in bias and the pressure of building costs pushing them toward a "final" decision) then jump into production. The product comes out with all the short comings they didn't see. The public nit pics it to shreds, and then someone comes out with what they should have done and eats their lunch.

If it's even remotely possible to have your product picked apart and redesigned, then give up now. Most inventors know their product and what their customers want, inside out. If that's not possible, then you are walking down a dark alley waiting to be mugged, and you will be. When I release a product, it is either the best it can be, or it's priced to take off like a rocket. I know my markets, or I don't embark on that journey to start with.

Slightly off topic: Do you recommend getting it patented at this stage? I am Canadian but most of my customers will be from the US. I did some research yesterday and this concept had NOT been patented yet. I also looked at the costs of patenting. It's expensive to file for a patent in just one country, let alone several others. Should I wait until the testing is done and save up in the meantime?

You can file a provisional patent, which gives you a year to work before you have to take the leap and make it a full patent. This will allow you to have protection ready to be activated, and still test the market for acceptance and potential ahead of time.

Patents are not the be all end all many people think they are. Someone could modify your product (as discussed above) and run with an improved, or a cheaper, design. Or, they could even just steal your product and run with it. Whatever happens, a patent only gives you GROUNDS to chase someone down and sue them. This might take a lot of time and money. Even if you win, you might not collect any damages. Crooks are sophisticated. They might take the money, close the company, and give you an IOU for your troubles, which you'll never collect on. Then they open a new business and continue their thieving ways. Of course, some large reputable company could buy you out and make you rich, too. There are strong pros and cons of patents. Many products are never fully patented because the inventors realize the time and money to defend their expensive patents is not possible, or maybe not worthwhile. There are countless cases on records of companies having their products knocked off, and not being able to sue and recover damages. Many have sued with what appears to be an open and shut case, only to lose the battle, or win but not collect anything. But, I can assure you, your lawyer will continue to fight for you, no matter how much it costs!!! Between your product being "stolen" from you, and your lawyer bleeding you to death, you might be surprised at how quickly your product can collapse. It's a double whammy.

There is certainly a lot to think about. Talk to inventors. You will be surprised at how little some of them have made with their products. You will also be surprised to hear that they are not all gun ho for patents. Don't forget the success stories, though. Just weigh and evaluate everything!
 

jlwilliams

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If it's even remotely possible to have your product picked apart and redesigned, then give up now. Most inventors know their product and what their customers want, inside out. If that's not possible, then you are walking down a dark alley waiting to be mugged, and you will be. When I release a product, it is either the best it can be, or it's priced to take off like a rocket. I know my markets, or I don't embark on that journey to start with.

...........

Well I'm glad your launches have all been moon shots. Honestly, the point about inventors generally knowing their markets that well doesn't fit every one I've seen as well as some of them. Maybe my experience isn't typical. I had a dozen patents (counting US and foreign) and a bunch of products that came from them. When I was in that industry, a consulted and saw a whole lot of other inventors work. Not all of it was equally well developed or targeted. Heck, a lot of my work wasn't great. The great work carried me far, but I can't say that all my products were as great as I thought they were at the start. What often happens, or at least what I saw a lot, is people get an idea and they fall in love with it. It's easy to look at your own ideas and say "This is GREAT!!" and systematically blind yourself to anything other than your own awesome idea. I saw products rush to market that the driving force behind was nothing more than vanity, and I saw well developed, refined work that still influences the industry 25 year later. At the time, when you are in the thick of it, it's harder to tell than one might think if you haven't been there.

Maybe your experience is more typical than mine. Maybe you only have great ideas. I doubt it, and that's not an insult. Anyone who creates will create some dogs. It's just the way it is. The trick is to only go to market with the good ones, but again no one wins them all. Once you release a few really good products, you convince yourself that you know your game. That's where pride bites you. If it hasn't bit you yet, call me back in a couple decades. You will have something to look back and laugh at.
 

Real Deal Denver

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Maybe your experience is more typical than mine. Maybe you only have great ideas. I doubt it, and that's not an insult. Anyone who creates will create some dogs. It's just the way it is. The trick is to only go to market with the good ones, but again no one wins them all. Once you release a few really good products, you convince yourself that you know your game. That's where pride bites you. If it hasn't bit you yet, call me back in a couple decades. You will have something to look back and laugh at.

I spent over 20 years fixing office machines. I was a component level tech (meaning I fixed power supplies - not just replaced them). With that said, I am no genius by any stretch, but I do recognize good engineering and quality. I don't think that is a gift - anyone can do it. I probably am somewhat better, but that's not a great advantage - I am just more "attuned" to it.

I can pick any machine that I fixed - and I fixed them all, by the way, and point out weaknesses. Most were known weaknesses built into the design intentionally. There were so many shortcuts, it was disgusting, really. Like using plastic to make a gear, when it should have been metal. Or using a field capacitor to step up voltage, instead of doing the logical thing and stepping down a voltage to an "idle" speed. To clarify this better, some manufacturers dropped the 110V source voltage to 20 volts, and then boosted it back up to 24 volts using an elaborate high powered circuit. High powered circuits burn out. They could have dropped the voltage to 30 volts instead, and cut it down slightly, using much cheaper and much more reliable methods. The Japanese did this. The Germans did it the other way. Why? Because the high voltage circuit would only take so much and then it would break down. The japanese circuit also broke down, over time, but for different reasons. Blah - blah - blah - too technical and boring, I know. The point is that EVERYONE knew how to build a machine to be reliable and strong. But they "crippled" the machines for various reasons. If you've ever heard of built in obsolesence, that's a big part of it. Nobody wants their products to last forever - although they COULD get close to it, if they wanted to. Cars are much worse. So are appliances.

Sure, I have some kind of inside knowledge in that regard, but this isn't anything that anyone doesn't already know. If you have a grease fitting, put in a zerk to grease it. Now they have sealed bearings that can't be regreased. If you have a high stress part, don't make it out of brittle plastic. Nylon maybe, or metal. Brittle plastic doesn't wear - it weakens and then shatters. Who can't figure that out? I have heard that Kitchen Aide replaced the metal gears in their world renowned mixers with plastic ones. Way to take a classic product and save a few pennies boys - if that's true.

There are very very FEW totally new products in the world. It's child's play to find an existing product and make it better, or cheaper - whichever market you're aiming for. Some products are just a combination of other products and/or technologies combined. If you're building a microwave oven, for example, do you want a plastic door or a metal brushed stainless steel door? Cheaper - or better? Every component can be analyzed in such a way as this. If there is a custom component, it can be easily manufactured using a 3-D printer, or a small manufacturer. Even a cast engine block can be made FROM SCRATCH at home. Youtube has many videos showing how to cast metal parts. I'll let you know when we get to the hard part. Surprise!!! There isn't a hard part. You tell me ANYTHING you want to build, and I'll tell you where to find the resources to do it - and it will likely be able to be done at home, or at least in your home town. Except the obvious ones - like a train, or a space shuttle, or a cell phone. I've "custom built" my own computers. Of course I didn't create the components, but I designed the machine and assembled the parts. If you're reasonable, and have just slightly above average intelligence, 90% of things are well within your reach.

I watch the TV show Shark Tank. If you want to see VERY simple ideas that can make a LOT of money, watch that show. The people on that show are average. Some are very well educated, of course, but not many. Every week there are MULTIPLE products pitched that all have great potential. Some are made by KIDS even.

But not everyone is cut out to be an inventor. But everyone can self teach themselves. All they have to do is watch that TV show, for starters. Then google a product and see what the differences are. I googled an outdoor grill and found one that was so well designed, I don't know the other ones can even stay in business. That's a grill - a burner and a grill plate, basically. Two pieces. How hard can it be to make a grill? Very hard, to do it right, I discovered. Now that I know the "secret" of the best grill, it is something that ANYONE could have thought up. But only one company did.

I have more than 20 inventions I'm working on. I'm not a genius, and it's anything but hard to come up with them. I even have a "game" that I thought would be very fun to play that I am inventing. ANY kid could come up with this game. I came up with it just to see if I could, after I saw some newly invented games and toys on the show "Toybox" that make me kind of sick, they were so bad. Everyone was a kid!!! Invent a toy! We can all handle that much.

We don't have to invent something complex or expensive.

One invention that I thought was really really stupid, that I saw on Shark Tank, was little rubber "booties" that went over the heel part of high heels so they wouldn't be so narrow and sink into the ground. What an idiotic product. Guess what - it got accepted and funded on the show. This is important to women, apparently, and they will buy these things. Shows what I know - which is not very much, I guess, about that product category!

Just. Do. It. Watch shows. Read books. Look at products in stores and ask yourself how you could make them better - or cheaper. It's easy. Dream a little bit. Just a tiny bit is all it takes. Everyone has "something" in their world that they are familiar with that could be improved - or is missing entirely.

My wife just bought a SUPER SIMPLE product that I just love. Will never be without it from hereon in. It's a plastic cover that sits over your food when you microwave it. This keeps the heat and steam in, and the food comes out hotter and better cooked. It's like an upside down bowel with vents. Yeah, she bought it for way too much money. But we use it EVERY day, and just love it. That's one of thousands of inventions that is super super simple, AND greatly loved.
 
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cwalto12

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I spent over 20 years fixing office machines. I was a component level tech (meaning I fixed power supplies - not just replaced them). With that said, I am no genius by any stretch, but I do recognize good engineering and quality. I don't think that is a gift - anyone can do it. I probably am somewhat better, but that's not a great advantage - I am just more "attuned" to it.

I can pick any machine that I fixed - and I fixed them all, by the way, and point out weaknesses. Most were known weaknesses built into the design intentionally. There were so many shortcuts, it was disgusting, really. Like using plastic to make a gear, when it should have been metal. Or using a field capacitor to step up voltage, instead of doing the logical thing and stepping down a voltage to an "idle" speed. To clarify this better, some manufacturers dropped the 110V source voltage to 20 volts, and then boosted it back up to 24 volts using an elaborate high powered circuit. High powered circuits burn out. They could have dropped the voltage to 30 volts instead, and cut it down slightly, using much cheaper and much more reliable methods. The Japanese did this. The Germans did it the other way. Why? Because the high voltage circuit would only take so much and then it would break down. The japanese circuit also broke down, over time, but for different reasons. Blah - blah - blah - too technical and boring, I know. The point is that EVERYONE knew how to build a machine to be reliable and strong. But they "crippled" the machines for various reasons. If you've ever heard of built in obsolesence, that's a big part of it. Nobody wants their products to last forever - although they COULD get close to it, if they wanted to. Cars are much worse. So are appliances.

Sure, I have some kind of inside knowledge in that regard, but this isn't anything that anyone doesn't already know. If you have a grease fitting, put in a zerk to grease it. Now they have sealed bearings that can't be regreased. If you have a high stress part, don't make it out of brittle plastic. Nylon maybe, or metal. Brittle plastic doesn't wear - it weakens and then shatters. Who can't figure that out? I have heard that Kitchen Aide replaced the metal gears in their world renowned mixers with plastic ones. Way to take a classic product and save a few pennies boys - if that's true.

There are very very FEW totally new products in the world. It's child's play to find an existing product and make it better, or cheaper - whichever market you're aiming for. Some products are just a combination of other products and/or technologies combined. If you're building a microwave oven, for example, do you want a plastic door or a metal brushed stainless steel door? Cheaper - or better? Every component can be analyzed in such a way as this. If there is a custom component, it can be easily manufactured using a 3-D printer, or a small manufacturer. Even a cast engine block can be made FROM SCRATCH at home. Youtube has many videos showing how to cast metal parts. I'll let you know when we get to the hard part. Surprise!!! There isn't a hard part. You tell me ANYTHING you want to build, and I'll tell you where to find the resources to do it - and it will likely be able to be done at home, or at least in your home town. Except the obvious ones - like a train, or a space shuttle, or a cell phone. I've "custom built" my own computers. Of course I didn't create the components, but I designed the machine and assembled the parts. If you're reasonable, and have just slightly above average intelligence, 90% of things are well within your reach.

I watch the TV show Shark Tank. If you want to see VERY simple ideas that can make a LOT of money, watch that show. The people on that show are average. Some are very well educated, of course, but not many. Every week there are MULTIPLE products pitched that all have great potential. Some are made by KIDS even.

But not everyone is cut out to be an inventor. But everyone can self teach themselves. All they have to do is watch that TV show, for starters. Then google a product and see what the differences are. I googled an outdoor grill and found one that was so well designed, I don't know the other ones can even stay in business. That's a grill - a burner and a grill plate, basically. Two pieces. How hard can it be to make a grill? Very hard, to do it right, I discovered. Now that I know the "secret" of the best grill, it is something that ANYONE could have thought up. But only one company did.

I have more than 20 inventions I'm working on. I'm not a genius, and it's anything but hard to come up with them. I even have a "game" that I thought would be very fun to play that I am inventing. ANY kid could come up with this game. I came up with it just to see if I could, after I saw some newly invented games and toys on the show "Toybox" that make me kind of sick, they were so bad. Everyone was a kid!!! Invent a toy! We can all handle that much.

We don't have to invent something complex or expensive.

One invention that I thought was really really stupid, that I saw on Shark Tank, was little rubber "booties" that went over the heel part of high heels so they wouldn't be so narrow and sink into the ground. What an idiotic product. Guess what - it got accepted and funded on the show. This is important to women, apparently, and they will buy these things. Shows what I know - which is not very much, I guess, about that product category!

Just. Do. It. Watch shows. Read books. Look at products in stores and ask yourself how you could make them better - or cheaper. It's easy. Dream a little bit. Just a tiny bit is all it takes. Everyone has "something" in their world that they are familiar with that could be improved - or is missing entirely.

My wife just bought a SUPER SIMPLE product that I just love. Will never be without it from hereon in. It's a plastic cover that sits over your food when you microwave it. This keeps the heat and steam in, and the food comes out hotter and better cooked. It's like an upside down bowel with vents. Yeah, she bought it for way too much money. But we use it EVERY day, and just love it. That's one of thousands of inventions that is super super simple, AND greatly loved.
So, I have an idea for a medical device. I'm a respiratory therapist and my colleagues all think it is a good idea IF I can execute it well. I've contacted an engineering company and they quoted me at thousands of dollars more than what I have in my bank account.

It is a small invention meaning that it is not an electronic nor is it very big - about the size of your forearm and can be made out of plastic or metal. BUT it could be very beneficial to doctors.

I am arguing with myself whether to pursue it because I think it is a good idea, but I do not know what the engineering firm can come up with. I also do not have a lot of money in my bank account - I graduated from college May 2016.

Would you recommend going all in on an invention in general? I realize I am not giving you a ton of details but I am more interested in your philosophy.
 

Real Deal Denver

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So, I have an idea for a medical device. I'm a respiratory therapist and my colleagues all think it is a good idea IF I can execute it well. I've contacted an engineering company and they quoted me at thousands of dollars more than what I have in my bank account.

After your due diligence, I assume this product will have a moderate demand. If the only thing holding you back is the money to engineer it, finance it. You can finance a 10,000 loan for $858 a month (edited earlier mistake here) at 5.5 interest for one year. Or cut that payment down by taking a four year loan. A two year loan for the same payment could get you some serious cash to work with! Eat that elephant one bite at a time, and you can do it. Don't try to swallow that thing whole!

Would you recommend going all in on an invention in general? I realize I am not giving you a ton of details but I am more interested in your philosophy.

I touched on these points before, but let me add a bit more detail...

Inventing and getting to market is a very time consuming task. Do NOT jump in all gung ho. Pace yourself because this is going to be a long journey, even for a simple product, which I assume yours is not, being medical.

Also, being a medical product, you are going to have this tested, verified, and endorsed that it is safe, by multiple agencies. Being in the medical field, do you know how long it takes a drug manufacturer to be approved for a new drug? Many years - and that's AFTER they have it all figured out and ready for market.

So - what to do with a high end custom product like yours?

After it is engineered, and perhaps a prototype is made, you can file a provisional patent which is good for one year. That gives you patent protection to some degree, without going through the slow and expensive process of a full patent. You will want to do this so you have a year to "test the waters" of how this will be accepted in the marketplace.

I would highly recommend you do not manufacture and sell this product yourself. Too complex, just being medical alone. Instead, find the top four makers of similar devices and propose your product to them, under a licensing deal. They already are set up for the testing phase, which is a huge bonus for you. And they will have the muscle to see this through and get it to market. It's a no lose situation for you. Then you can finish the patent process, or even sell them the patent for a lump sum. And you're off to the races!

Another idea, if you're really adventuresome and brave - is to do a kickstarter to fund this. That has it own perils, as someone could see your product and beat you to market. You could lose big time. Of course, you could win big time too. I throw that out there as an option. You could remain private and not have your idea ripped off (hopefully) by going to angel investors. Despite their innocent name, they are expensive to work with and sometimes want some measure of control. That works for some people though.

Being this is a niche product, I'd lean towards a licensing deal. You can win this game by pitting the companies against each other. Unfortunately, they are already successful and don't need you to help them. You need them. That limits your clout, but you can still work things to your advantage. Licensing fees typically start at 7%, and go to 15% - usually. That's just a guide. For a high tech specialty product, I'd go for 18-20%. That's where you're going to need leverage of pitting the players against each other. You could do better than that even.

You can even file a provisional patent first, and THEN start the selling product, without the engineering and prototype being made. The famous case of "The Pebble Watch" was funded on Kickstarter and did things this way. The guy raised millions, and then went "shopping" to find a developer and manufacturer. He had the money, so it was easier to launch - and it worked out fantastic. A true success story.

I applaud you in looking at the big picture first and formulating a plan of attack. I knew a guy many years ago that made custom artificial limbs. He made a lot of money and loved his job. I lost track of him when he moved - too bad. You don't meet many people of that caliber. He had the resources to make almost anything he wanted to, and I think he invented some small things for his business which he licensed.

You can do the same thing, if you don't waste time on the details and go for the big deal right away. That, btw, will also give you credibility and access to the big companies development labs. Tools - engineers - support staff - what more could you ever want? Yeah - look at the big picture. You might even be able to work out a consultant kind of deal where you are on salary. Not pay, where you have to show up and have a boss - salary, where you do your own thing on your own schedule and maybe submit monthly progress reports. I worked at IBM, and knew several people that had positions like that.

You know where IBM makes big money? Not by making PCs, for example. They license their patented designs to the people that make the PCs. That's where the money is!

You better call ME if you get a deal like that. I need that kind of support to work on my stuff!

The sky is the limit. You *can* have it all.
 
Last edited:

cwalto12

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After your due diligence, I assume this product will have a moderate demand. If the only thing holding you back is the money to engineer it, finance it. You can finance a 10,000 loan for $858 a year at 5.5 interest. That's $71.50 a month. Eat that elephant one bite at a time, and you can do it. Don't try to swallow that thing whole!



I touched on these points before, but let me add a bit more detail...

Inventing and getting to market is a very time consuming task. Do NOT jump in all gung ho. Pace yourself because this is going to be a long journey, even for a simple product, which I assume yours is not, being medical.

Also, being a medical product, you are going to have this tested, verified, and endorsed that it is safe, by multiple agencies. Being in the medical field, do you know how long it takes a drug manufacturer to be approved for a new drug? Many years - and that's AFTER they have it all figured out and ready for market.

So - what to do with a high end custom product like yours?

After it is engineered, and perhaps a prototype is made, you can file a provisional patent which is good for one year. That gives you patent protection to some degree, without going through the slow and expensive process of a full patent. You will want to do this so you have a year to "test the waters" of how this will be accepted in the marketplace.

I would highly recommend you do not manufacture and sell this product yourself. Too complex, just being medical alone. Instead, find the top four makers of similar devices and propose your product to them, under a licensing deal. They already are set up for the testing phase, which is a huge bonus for you. And they will have the muscle to see this through and get it to market. It's a no lose situation for you. Then you can finish the patent process, or even sell them the patent for a lump sum. And you're off to the races!

Another idea, if you're really adventuresome and brave - is to do a kickstarter to fund this. That has it own perils, as someone could see your product and beat you to market. You could lose big time. Of course, you could win big time too. I throw that out there as an option. You could remain private and not have your idea ripped off (hopefully) by going to angel investors. Despite their innocent name, they are expensive to work with and sometimes want some measure of control. That works for some people though.

Being this is a niche product, I'd lean towards a licensing deal. You can win this game by pitting the companies against each other. Unfortunately, they are already successful and don't need you to help them. You need them. That limits your clout, but you can still work things to your advantage. Licensing fees typically start at 7%, and go to 15% - usually. That's just a guide. For a high tech specialty product, I'd go for 18-20%. That's where you're going to need leverage of pitting the players against each other. You could do better than that even.

You can even file a provisional patent first, and THEN start the selling product, without the engineering and prototype being made. The famous case of "The Pebble Watch" was funded on Kickstarter and did things this way. The guy raised millions, and then went "shopping" to find a developer and manufacturer. He had the money, so it was easier to launch - and it worked out fantastic. A true success story.

I applaud you in looking at the big picture first and formulating a plan of attack. I knew a guy many years ago that made custom artificial limbs. He made a lot of money and loved his job. I lost track of him when he moved - too bad. You don't meet many people of that caliber. He had the resources to make almost anything he wanted to, and I think he invented some small things for his business which he licensed.

You can do the same thing, if you don't waste time on the details and go for the big deal right away. That, btw, will also give you credibility and access to the big companies development labs. Tools - engineers - support staff - what more could you ever want? Yeah - look at the big picture. You might even be able to work out a consultant kind of deal where you are on salary. Not pay, where you have to show up and have a boss - salary, where you do your own thing on your own schedule and maybe submit monthly progress reports. I worked at IBM, and knew several people that had positions like that.

You know where IBM makes big money? Not by making PCs, for example. They license their patented designs to the people that make the PCs. That's where the money is!

You better call ME if you get a deal like that. I need that kind of support to work on my stuff!

The sky is the limit. You *can* have it all.
Man...what a post. REP+ transferred.

Thank you so much for this.
 

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