The Inventing Process vs. Product Development
Most inventor's enjoy the creative inventing process, but many inventors miss out on the financial reward piece because they don't know how to effectively utilize the Product Development process. So many inventors come up with one idea after another, maybe going as far as building a working prototype and doing a patent search, but the real business of inventing is the product development piece. That's the next step that so many inventors either don't take or go down the wrong path. I believe that product development process is the key to making money; it starts after the working prototype and includes key elements such as market research, product function and price reduction refinement, identifying the best distribution channels and locating strategic partners in the market place. It a nutshell its your "Go To Market Strategy" and it is the key to success.
The key for the individual inventor to successfully develop a product is finding a way to proceed to the next step in the process in the most cost effective way possible. An Inventor should start by developing several "Go To Market Strategies" (Plan lan B and Plan C) and then be prepared to improvise, adapt and overcome. (I would spend 10 minutes talking about what a viable "Go To Market Strategy" looks like). Then you need to do the market research, basic free market research and paid professional type. Partner with a manaufacturer and start actually selling your product on ebay, amazon and your own website. Identify strategic partners that already exist in your market space. Connect with the key distribution channels, via the phone, emails and at trade shows. Overcome obstacles, modify your "Go To Market Strategy" and KEEP GOING!!!!
After a 25 year Sales and Marketing career in consumer electronics it wasn't until I got laid off in 2007 that I started chasing my real dreams of being a successful inventor. Since then my product and I have appeared on the Chicago Evening News, multiple times as a guest host on QVC and we star in a National TV commercial for Legal Zoom.com (see the attached link). My story appears in the book "Making Million with Your Simple Idea or Invention" published by Atlantic Books in May of 2010. In Septmeber of 2010 I was named "Inventor of the Year" at the 2010 ERA Moxie Awards. Even with all my accomplishments, my product has not achieved the financial success that you might think based on my journey so far... but I believe the best is yet to come and my story is not over yet.
TV Commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVfiBbcA9iI&list=UUIuBCedGTslqwwRDswQ3grQ&index=5&feature=plcp