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Preliminary Patent Search – You can do a preliminary patent search on your own for free using free search engines like completed on Google Patents Google Patents, the USPTO site Search for patents | USPTO
Is your idea feasible to create based upon your abilities?
Can it be produced profitably?
Is there significant competition?
Does your product make people say, “Wow”?
Step 2: Determine Your Target Market
Targeting the right market at this point is crucial since all of the rest of your steps will be geared toward creating the perfect product, packaging, marketing, image, etc. for that target market.
Create surveys, questionnaires or study groups to compare your product to other existing products. If you are using a brochure for your product, make sure you obtain brochures of competing products so you are not comparing apples to oranges.
Unless it is obvious your product will work you will need this to verify that your idea works the way you think it will. Your prototype doesn’t necessarily need to be made from all the same materials as your final product will be, but it needs to be a close approximation of your final product to prove to you, investors and potential partners that your idea does work.
Once your final patent search is completed on Google Patents Google Patents, the USPTO site Search for patents | USPTO, or by a patent professional, you will need to use the results to decide your patent strategy. There are many possible strategies, for instance: trade secret, design patent, utility patent, provisional patent, a series of weak patents or a prolonged patent pending strategy.
People who know manufacturing, have many industry contacts, or who understand how an industry works can help inventors cut costs and also help inventors have the quickest product introduction. Market momentum counts, and helpers can give you the startup momentum you need to succeed.
Marketing your product requires you to know the price structuring of different industries, what types of margins you will need, what type of distribution would be the most effective and profitable, and a myriad of other things.
In your market introduction plan you will need to: list who are your target customers, what strategy you will use to reach them (i.e. through retail stores, direct marketing, internet, etc.), the concrete steps you will take to realize your strategy and the pricing you will need to sell through your chosen sales channels.
Now that you are launching your company, you will need a brand name, logo, letterhead, business cards, sales flyers, product packaging and press materials. All of these things contribute to the image of your company and product. Brand names are key, consider hiring an outside expert if you can’t come up with a strong brand name.
I found the best ways to do this are by:
- Check the MacRae’s Bluebook, www.macraesbluebook.com which lists manufacturers by state by category.
- Check the Thomas Register, www.thomasregister.com, which also list manufacturer by category.
- Look for trade associations for the industry which will typically have a membership directory.
Some of the strategies and tactics you want to consider are:
Your sales organization
- Selling Direct
- Selling through Reps
- Sales through the Internet
Your distribution channel
- Straight to customers or retailers
- Through distributors
- Other distribution channels
- Partners with complementary products