People invent all kinds of cool things every day. Some inventions are born out of necessity while others are accidental. Have you recently had a “lightbulb moment” and want to do something about it?

If so, you are doubtless exploring the possibility of turning your ideas into reality. You might think that it’s just a case of building something and waiting for people to buy it. The thing is, there’s more to it than that!

Inventing something new is both an exciting and arduous process at the same time. It’s fun because you’ve created some new. But it’s also taxing because you need to jump through many legal hoops, as it were.

If you’re unsure what to do next, let me give you an idea of the steps needed to convert an idea into a marketable product.

Document it

The first thing you need to do is write down your ideas! They will be useless to anyone if there is no written documentation on what they’re all about! Writing down your ideas will also serve as proof that you came up with the concept before anyone else.

To make your idea more official, what you should do is get an inventor’s journal. Document everything about your invention and include diagrams to explain certain things. Next, have your inventor’s journal signed by a witness. If possible, have someone like a lawyer or prominent figure sign your journal for you.

Research it

Next, you will need to find out just how unique your invention is. You should start by doing a free, initial patent search. It’s something that you can do using a computer connected to the Internet. Almost all patent offices around the world let you search online for free. Consider using the Google Patents search engine to speed the process up for you.

Assuming your idea is unique, you should then determine if there’s a market for it. Don’t be afraid to ask some people if they think an idea like yours is something they would buy as a product.

Prototype it

Once you’ve done the patent and market research, it’s now time to convert your idea into reality! At this stage, you should create a prototype or model of your idea. Your prototype will be the foundation for your finished product.

The prototype doesn’t have to look great. Take a look at Apple’s early computers to see what I mean! Your prototype is to prove that your idea works well as a functioning product. You can then fine-tune it before getting it to a state where you’re happy for others to see it. When you build a working prototype, you can show it to potential investors and buyers.

Protect it

So far, you’ve determined that your idea is unique. You’ve also found out that there’s enough interest in it to turn it into a marketable product. Before you start manufacturing it, there’s one thing you must do: patent it!

Patents ensure that you have the legal entitlement to your idea. Plus, you can then licence your idea to other companies if they wish to market it as their own products.

Manufacture it

When you’re ready, you can start building the finished product! You’ve now reached an exciting phase of your idea. That’s because you’ll soon be building a marketable invention!

You will need to lease a suitable factory for your manufacturing processes. It’s also worth investing in the best MES systems for your new factory. That way, you can ensure your production line works like a well-oiled wheel.

Other considerations you will need to make include product packaging. Plus, you’ll have to work with carriers to ship your products to customers.

While you’re at it, you should check if you can get any business grants for your factory. Some regions offer manufacturing grants to startups.

Sell it

The final stage of your plan should be to market the finished product! You already know there’s a market for your invention. But, how will you reach your potential customers?

Right now, you need to devise a compelling marketing strategy. It should include press promotion so that you can get media coverage of your invention.

Consider investing in some online marketing techniques. Examples include PPC campaigns and social media marketing. Also, it goes without saying that you should have a website as well. Good luck with your invention!