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Inventing and manufacturing advice needed

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bbar97

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Ok so this thread is mostly aimed at @Rearden , but anyone is welcome to comment.

I have an idea that I won't go into the specifics about (I'm not planning on patenting) but I can say that its a consumer good (an accessory) related to the automotive industry .

It's fairly simple, but it does involve moving parts and a few different materials. I've done a lot of research into inventing a product (and i've read "One Simple Idea", but don't plan on licensing currently), so I know the basics, but I would like some advice on how to actually excecute.

Here's my situation: I work for a small, full service marketing agency, and I've been here since I graduated in may 2019. I now have sufficent experience in the majority of areas of marketing, so marketing the product will definitely not be a problem.
I have about 8k in liquid cash, but also about 7k in student loans. My current plan is to work for maybe another year until I have enough saved up to pay off the loans completely and have some left over to invest in the design/engineering of the product as well as buying inventory.

I've heard some manufacturing companies will work with inventors to help design the product, but I don't know to what extent that is true. I'm also unsure whether I'll need to hire a firm to help design/engineer the product. I know pretty much exactly how I want it to work, and I've started designing it in SketchUp, but I would imagine I need some kind of official design with precise measurements, exact materials, etc.

My main questions are:

-Does my plan sound like a good idea, or should I immediately pay off my loans to avoid any interest? OR should I stretch out paying them off as long as possible since the IR is low. (4 or 5 %)
-To what extent do manufacturers help you design the product, if at all?
-How exact does the design need to be for a manufacturer to produce your product?
-Would a design firm be a good investment for a simple to moderately complex product? (Getting the design right is very important)
-Any other suggestions for me?

Thanks!
 

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Rearden

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I have to be honest and point you in the right direction...I specialize in licensing so if the results you are looking for is not a licensing deal. There are far better people on this forum that can help you.

One rarely used low cost strategy for validation of your product in venturing is actually the attempt to license. This is how I would use that strategy.

I would first put together marketing material and start to pitch it as if you have an intention of licensing it. The thing you get out of this exercise is by pitching your product, you get the input of people that have been in this business for sometimes 20 to 30 years. And when they say this will not work for X,Y,and Z reason then you can fix them before making a large investment. If they say we want to license it...then you know you have something that professionals that have been in the business a long time are willing to invest in.

This is very valuable information...I have pitched products and found out unknow manufacturing issues that I would not have forseen, design complication...and all it cost me was a sell sheet and a couple of hours on the phone.

For your other questions.
To what extent do manufacture design your product depends on the manufacture you are working with...and are you manufacturing overseas or in the US?
Design firms can be a good investment but depends on the complexity of the product if its simple you can some times get the manufacture to do some of the design work especially if you have some simple CAD work they can work from.

Paying off student loans is a personal finance question...my Opinion...I am of the mind to try and carry as little personal debt as possible. Business investment is different...and you need capital to make business investments. So holding on to cash to make investments is important in a launch, but then they are always hanging over your head. So this has to be a business decision you need to make and feel comfortable with, it can haunt you have debt creeping on you all the time. But everyone is different.
 

bbar97

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I have to be honest and point you in the right direction...I specialize in licensing so if the results you are looking for is not a licensing deal. There are far better people on this forum that can help you.

One rarely used low cost strategy for validation of your product in venturing is actually the attempt to license. This is how I would use that strategy.

I would first put together marketing material and start to pitch it as if you have an intention of licensing it. The thing you get out of this exercise is by pitching your product, you get the input of people that have been in this business for sometimes 20 to 30 years. And when they say this will not work for X,Y,and Z reason then you can fix them before making a large investment. If they say we want to license it...then you know you have something that professionals that have been in the business a long time are willing to invest in.

This is very valuable information...I have pitched products and found out unknow manufacturing issues that I would not have forseen, design complication...and all it cost me was a sell sheet and a couple of hours on the phone.

For your other questions.
To what extent do manufacture design your product depends on the manufacture you are working with...and are you manufacturing overseas or in the US?
Design firms can be a good investment but depends on the complexity of the product if its simple you can some times get the manufacture to do some of the design work especially if you have some simple CAD work they can work from.

Paying off student loans is a personal finance question...my Opinion...I am of the mind to try and carry as little personal debt as possible. Business investment is different...and you need capital to make business investments. So holding on to cash to make investments is important in a launch, but then they are always hanging over your head. So this has to be a business decision you need to make and feel comfortable with, it can haunt you have debt creeping on you all the time. But everyone is different.

Ok so if I were to attempt to license it, what do you think the risk of it being stolen is? I remember from "One Simple Idea" that it happens a lot less than you would expect, but I'm still a bit worried because I'm not planning on patenting and it would be pretty easy to steal. My competitive advantage would pretty much just be first to market, and superior branding and quality, so it wouldn't be that hard for a large corp to rip off. (I would think) .

I am planning on manufacturing in the US because I want to go the high quality route and branding is very important so I'll want to be able to say "Made in America" . I've heard of a group that helps you find manufacturers in the US that are friendly to independent inventors, so I may look into that to find a manufacturer.

Yeah thats kind of what I was thinking with the debt as well. I'll probably pay it off entirely.
 

Rearden

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It happens a lot less than people think but it still does happen. There is a strategy of filing a PPA for $70 that gives you patent pending status as you are pitching. That can usually get the conversation going if there is interest in your product most of the time you can convert that over to a deal. So you may use that strategy as it gets you in the door and the conversation going.
 

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@bbar97 dm me. got an engineering company and starting up a maker shop to help people get from idea to mvp / prototype. maybe we can steer you in a direction? you've got a handle on the marketing side, so when we ask 'how many have you sold?', you understand what we are saying. :)

on the protection question ..... a simple nda can help ease your mind. in reality, they don't mean a whole lot unless you have a) invented cold fusion and b) have the money to defend them.

hopefully you have a) and we can help you get it to market! :)
 

bbar97

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 1, 2017
45
44
115
23
South Carolina
It happens a lot less than people think but it still does happen. There is a strategy of filing a PPA for $70 that gives you patent pending status as you are pitching. That can usually get the conversation going if there is interest in your product most of the time you can convert that over to a deal. So you may use that strategy as it gets you in the door and the conversation going.
Thanks for all the advice Rearden, I really appreciate it.
 

bbar97

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Dec 1, 2017
45
44
115
23
South Carolina
@bbar97 dm me. got an engineering company and starting up a maker shop to help people get from idea to mvp / prototype. maybe we can steer you in a direction? you've got a handle on the marketing side, so when we ask 'how many have you sold?', you understand what we are saying. :)

on the protection question ..... a simple nda can help ease your mind. in reality, they don't mean a whole lot unless you have a) invented cold fusion and b) have the money to defend them.

hopefully you have a) and we can help you get it to market! :)
Will do!
 

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