Monday, August 11, 2008

Create a Prototype

So now you have your idea, you've googled it until you can't google it anymore, it's not in a store near you, and it doesn't seem to exist. What now?
Figure out what you need to make it yourself. Yes, I said make it yourself! I know, there are some things that maybe you have no idea how to make. You know you need it, but you don't have the expertise to create it on your own. Here's where I think most people fall out of the game. They think they can't make a prototype, and are sure they can't afford to pay someone to make one for them, and even if they could afford to, if they tell anyone about it, it'll be stolen. You all know by now what I'm going to say, "Whatever you think, you're right!"

In my experience, I was able to make a prototype at my kitchen table using a pair of scissors, duct tape, a zipper, a needle and some thread, and a used snow glove from a thrift store. As far as textiles and wood products, you can go on line and search "rapid prototyping," or "rapid manufacturing." There are companies that knock off designers sometimes even before the designers themselves get their product out! You can also visit colleges to find students and professors who can help you. Post an ad for some help on There are many options if you're just willing to seek them out. It takes time, it may take some money, but if you don't do the work, you'll never experience the reward.

My best advice about this is to do whatever you can to make something on your own. You know what your idea is, what problem it's solving, and how you want it to work. Nobody will make your product like you will.

On the subject of someone stealing your idea. Yes, it can happen, but so can a serious car accident on your way to work. Are you not going to drive to work today? In reality, you can protect your idea with a very simple Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and your inventor's log. You can also apply for a Provisional Patent that is a super simple process, only $110, and gives you a year of patent pending protection to really get out there and test drive your idea. The same way you drive safely and wear a seat belt to help ensure a safe trip in to work.

I'll talk more about what I know about patents and should or shouldn't you apply for a patent for your idea on Wednesday!

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