Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Converting a Great Idea into a Reality

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Feb 13, 2018 10:11 PM

How many ideas do you think people try to make into reality every year? In 2017, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued more than 318,000 utility patents and almost 31,000 design patents. USPTO received even more applications for patents in the same timeframe. However, those are only the ideas that were subject to patent requests. Who knows how many more product and service ideas were born in 2017.

The ability to think up great ideas and see them through fruition is in the core of entrepreneurship. The digital disruption we find ourselves in relies on great ideas. Most of the ideas probably do not see the light of day, much in the same way the majority of startups fail. Still, you need to fight as hard as you can for your ideas, especially if you are onto something great.

Get Other People Involved

You will have to perform many functions on the road to realizing your idea. Even if you are a jack-of-all-trades, it is very likely that you will need some help at some point during the process. In some cases, you can ask friends for opinions. However, you might need more professional and structured support. Finding companies that help inventors get their ideas developed can be very helpful, and you should consider it.

Analyze Your Idea

It is exciting to have a great idea. You get the sense that you are creating something people have not seen yet, and something that will bring them value. You might be doing all of that. On the other hand, you might be creating something that already exists on the market. If it does not, you might be creating something no one will need.

Your first step would be to determine how original and valuable your idea is. If you find it is lacking in originality or value, you need to adapt it to make it more original or valuable. When you are done with that, you need to attack your idea from as many directions as possible to determine its weak points. You might have an original and valuable idea that is too expensive to produce, for example. You might also find that your idea is valuable to only a handful of people. Whatever you find, it is important that you start treating your idea as a business from the start, and determine its position on the market.

Look for Funding

Developing an idea can get expensive. If you chose to work with a company that supports you, they might be able to offset some of the costs. If not, you need to think about finding the money you will need for prototyping, patent application, and marketing. You can start developing your idea with your own capital. You can look for small loans. Crowdfunding is another possibility, and it comes in several different forms. You should be careful when choosing the financing method, but you will need to choose one.

Prototype Your Idea

Creating a prototype is one of the crucial moments in the development of an idea. You need to see how the idea works in practice, which is what a prototype allows you. If you have a complex idea, start with a simplified prototype, and then add to it in steps. That way, you will be able to work out the kinks one step at a time. The desired outcome of the prototyping process is to create a working embodiment of your idea that is as close to a marketable version as possible.

You cannot rush through the steps of developing an idea. If you were thorough, by the time you have a working prototype you will have a good idea about who your customers are, and what you are offering to them. You should also have some idea about the production process and its costs. From there on, the business part starts.

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