For as long as you can remember, you have come up with unique ways to solve common problems. Now, you are ready to take one of your clever ideas and turn it into an actual product that you can manufacture, ship and sell. To make this process as smooth as possible, consider the following “Manufacturing 101” tips:
First, Start Sketching
If your amazing product idea is living in your head, it’s time to get it onto paper. Sit down with a pad and pencil and sketch what you envision the item to look like. Don’t worry if you are not a great artist; with this step, you are merely trying to get your thoughts on paper. Draw any accessories and make notes about possible dimensions and features that are not clear.
Next, Look into Making a Prototype
Once you have your product sketched out on paper, it’s time to transform it into a working prototype. Prototyping will convert the basic and sometimes hard-to-grasp elements of a product into a tangible working model of the desired item. Having a physical version of your vision that you can play with and try to use will give you extensive feedback that will allow you to make any needed modifications.
Consider Possible Liabilities and/or Manufacturing Dangers
In a perfect world, manufacturing your finished product will be completely safe. However, if there are any potential safety issues and/or liabilities — either from the equipment used to make it or the raw products — it is best to do your homework ahead of time. For example, for years certain workers were exposed to hazardous materials like asbestos; this situation has led to many of these employees being diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you have any safety-related concerns, do plenty of research to learn more about the risks associated with handling hazardous materials, and then consult with a legal professional who specializes in that area of law.
Look for Sources of Funding
Many inventors are long on enthusiasm and short on cash. Once you have made your prototype and have tested it and tweaked it, you are ready to think about manufacturing it. In order to make this possible, you will probably have to look for outside sources of funding. One idea is to go the old-fashioned route and speak with your neighborhood bank about taking out a home equity or small business loan. Another option that seems to be popular with modern-day inventors is crowd funding; you can ask for donations through a site like KickStarter or Indiegogo. Depending on your situation, you might also be able to apply for a government grant. While the government does not typically give money to sole proprietors, it does fund business-based ideas, products and innovative research that will benefit the community as a whole. If you are already an established business owner or are working with your boss on your project, it is possible that you might be able to apply for a grant.
Start Production and Selling
Once you have funding in place, it is time to start producing your new product. Depending on what you are making, you can either do the production in-house with your own materials and machinery like a 3D printer, or you can outsource it. You can then market the new product through social media and/or a business website and, if it all goes well, start making money on your golden idea.
While it might seem intimidating to bring an idea to fruition, it is definitely possible. After all, lots of other inventors have already managed to bring their products to market, so there’s no reason why you can’t do the same. By breaking down the process into manageable chunks, doing your research and looking for legal advice when need be, your idea will soon be a physical product that is used by many.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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