Talking with Inventors I am surprised by the lack of information they have on their idea/product so I thought I would start a listing of things every Inventor needs to know about their product and their market. Here are some questions to get you started.
1. What problem does your idea/product solve?
2. List the benefits of your idea/product over what is currently on the market.
3. Who is your target market? (adults, only males, only females, teens, age group, etc)
4. What is your “HOOK”?
5. What price range do your competitors fall into and where do you think yours would fall?
6. Have you proven if your idea/product works?
7. Are you already selling them or under a contract with anyone? ( Many Inventors that are selling online or at craft shows are doing it without having any patent protection and don’t realize the public disclosure)
8. If you have a issued patent when are the next fees due and are you current with those payments? ( This may seem obvious but you would not believe how many Inventors have patents that are lapsed due to non-payment and they don’t seem to know it. Or they want you to pay the fees to get the patent back in good graces.)
9. What would make a consumer pick your idea/product over the others on the shelf?
10. Can your idea/product be used in more than one industry? ( example It can work in the toy and pet industry. Some Inventors don’t look outside their initial focus and realize it has multiple applications)
11. Do you see this selling sitting on a shelf or would it sell better hanging off the shelf on J-Hooks?
12. Is there a learning curve to your idea/product that will need to be addressed before the consumer will understand its benefits?
13. Is your idea/product more of an impulse item, recreational item or a need item?
14. Will your product only sell during a specific season?
15. Is it market ready or do you see a lot more design work needed to make it user friendly?
16. Is this a solution to a problem or a solution looking for a problem?
17. If you filed for a patent did you also file for any international rights? (The reason I ask this is you have a limited window in order to file or lose it. I believe it is a year but not certain. Those with more patent background or a patent attorney can provide that info)
18. Do you have a listing of all the companies you have sent information on your idea/product? (This helps anyone you ask for help to see who has seen it and not duplicate efforts.
19. Do you have any of the feedback a company may have given you? (this can be very helpful if they referenced other products similar or gave you design/engineering advice)
20. Have you looked within the United States for a company to manufacture it stateside? Sometimes you will find that between the cost of shipping, the delay it takes to get it from China to the United States it may be more cost effective to have them made in the United States. Also if you have them made in the United States the turnaround time if you get a large order can be significantly smaller. It also helps you with quality control and returns
21. Can you provide a video of your product in use showing its benefits?
22. Could your idea/product qualify for a government grant?
23. Have you done any focus group testing? If yes, what were the results?
24. If you had samples made, do you own the molds and where are they located?
25. If you used a design firm to make most of your designs and they made improvements to your original design in order for it to be more marketable do you own all the designs or are they now partners in the product?