New Invention Ideas - Five Steps to Evaluate Potential

By now you should have some new invention ideas that you feel are worth evaluating for their potential to become money makers.  So how do you evaluate them?  I will take you through the steps below.

1) Identify The Market

First, identify the market for all of your new invention ideas.  Are you selling to 30-60 year old females with a high school diploma or to fire departments run by state and local government agencies?  You must know who your market is as this will help you understand the size of the market, how much money is available from the identified consumers, and how that money is spent.  A 30-60 year old female with a high school diploma will usually spend her own money by cash, check, debit or credit card.  She can purchase directly online, in the store, or over the telephone.  A fire department may have more money but will likely have acquisition rules that must be followed. 

Each market has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Government agencies can usually pay more money but are very difficult to deal with.  An individual consumer can purchase immediately, even on impulse, and complete the transaction right away but often spends less than a government agency.  Only you know the best market for your new invention ideas.

2) Are your new invention Ideas Really New? How To Find out

The next thing you need to find out is whether your new invention ideas already exist.  This requires a quick internet search.  You will not find everything in this search but it is a great place to start.  You will need to visit websites that sell the type of product you have.  For example, when researching my cat litter box idea I went to pet supply websites. 

Be sure to visit major retailers as well as specialty sites as they may carry a wide range of products.  It is also a good idea to always search Amazon.com and Walmart.com. 

3) Do A Preliminary Patent Search

Do a preliminary patent search.  This is just a quick look, not the type of patent search you will rely on when deciding whether to apply for a patent.  I discuss patent searches later in the process.  I prefer to do my preliminary patent searches on google.

Google is very easy to use and, in my experience, very reliable.  In my case I would look up "cat litter box" as well as "self-cleaning cat litter box" and any other terms I thought described my product. 

Be careful about what you read when conducting your own preliminary patent search.  If I search for "self-cleaning litter box" I am going to find several patents.  It is easy to get discouraged here and give up by thinking that somebody already beat you to the patent. 

Often, when you read the patent and understand their claims, you will find that your idea is different and unique in some way, thus making it potentially patentable.  The only time to stop here and look for other ideas is if your exact idea is already patented.  (Of course, you could always try to buy or license the patent from the owner.)

One other important note is that I have developed successful products, like my Arm-Share airplane armrest sharing device, because my first version was already covered by a different patent claim. I had to redesign it. The redesign improved the product!

The point is that if you find a current patent that appears to cover your idea, use it as a springboard as a way to make your design even better, and thus patentable.

4) Come Up With A reasonable Price

Identify a reasonable retail price for your new invention ideas.  As you search for similar ideas take note of what similar products are selling for.  You will need this information to know if your product is commercially viable. 

In my case if self-cleaning cat litter boxes on the market are selling for between $50 - $100 then I better be able to sell mine in that range too or be able to justify why mine is so superior that consumers will gladly pay more for my product.  Note that it is not what I want to believe they will pay for it but what they will actually pay for it.  This is often a very different price.  I discuss details on how to know what consumers will pay for your product in my Invent and Profit System TM.  

Once you have an idea of what your product can sell for then you can do a quick calculation to decide if you can manufacture and distribute it at a profit for the distributor, retailer, and yourself.

5) Verify Size and location of your market

If all of the information above leads me to believe my product is promising then I like to use a very powerful tool to help me verify the size and location of my market.  I always go to my favorite resource "Google" and look at historical search trends for my type of product. Enter the best descriptive words for your product and see how much consumers search for it, what time of year they search for it and even what countries and cities do most of the searching!

 Let's look at "self cleaning cat litter boxes" and here is what comes up:

New invention ideas from inventandprofit.comScreenshot from Google historical search trends
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 Once you have applied these techniques to all of your new invention ideas and decided that your idea is unique and marketable, then you can begin to design your prototype.

Moving Forward

Click here to learn about designing an invention prototype.