Converting ideas to Products


Turning an idea into a tangible product is a process that can require time, labor and money to complete. If you have an idea for a new product, following the proper steps from idea to salable product can greatly increase your chances of success. Learning about these steps can help you formulate a plan of action for a product a company sells.

In this article, we explain how to turn an idea into a product and answer frequently asked questions about the process of bringing a product from concept to market.

How to turn your idea into a product

If you've got a great idea for a new product, be it an intricate mechanized invention or a redesign of a common item, follow the six steps below to turn your idea into a new product with the potential to succeed in the market:

1. Document your idea

All great things come from great ideas, but ideas are infinite and intangible. They're also impossible to prove when claiming something as your own. Documenting your idea in a journal may not only help you track your process as you further hone your idea into fruition, but it also stands as evidence that the idea is indeed your own.

2. Check for patents

Before investing time and money into a new product, it's important to check that it doesn't already exist. A simple search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office can let you know what's unavailable for a patent. A general search may also give you an idea of what else is out there and who your potential competitors are.

3. Research the market

Performing market research can help you learn about how many consumers or businesses could use the product. A lot of time and effort goes into a new product, and the more you understand what's out there, the more prepared you can be for obstacles along the way. Research market trends and get more familiar with copyright and intellectual property law as they pertain to your niche.

4. Make a prototype

A prototype is an initial model for a product. Building a prototype for your product idea can help you identify and solve design problems and other issues before you decide to launch a product.

Create a digital sketch of your product using engineering software (often called computer-assisted design software) that a company can use to manufacture a prototype for your product. Depending on your product idea, you can then build a prototype yourself using household items or you can pay a manufacturer to create a prototype of your product.

5. Consider filing a patent

Once you have a mock-up of your idea and are ready to pursue your market, now is a good time to file a patent to protect your product. A patent is a type of intellectual property that legally protects an invention from someone else copying or selling it without your consent for a certain period.

You could opt to sell your product without a patent. However, business experts recommend obtaining a patent for several reasons, such as:

  • Protecting your intellectual property: Getting a patent for a product can help you stop others from copying your product idea.

  • Earning higher profits: Since another company can't copy your product idea when you get a patent, you can set higher prices to increase profits.

  • Increasing a product's selling power: Obtaining a patent for your product idea can give your intellectual property a monetary value.

6. Market your product

Once you've filed a patent, the next step is figuring out how to get it on the market. Make a business plan for your product idea, including whether you want to start a business to sell the product or sell the idea to an existing business. This process also includes working on your pitch and presentation to pique the interest of investors.