The 4 Steps
In PicoFund, we identify 4 major steps that are required to get your invention out of your head and into shops where people can buy them.
The first step is usually to research whether your idea has already been patented. If it hasn’t, then you can proceed to patent your invention.
The second step is the prototyping stage, in which a working model of your invention is created.
The third step involves market testing your prototype in a crowdfunding campaign to see if it generates any real consumer interest and revenue.
The final step is to either batch or mass produce your product so that you are ready to start fulfilling your existing orders and generating new ones for real growth and success.
Step 1: Patenting
Patenting may not be compulsory for everyone. In some cases, your invention simply can’t be patented and in others, the costs are too great while the protections they afford are too little. Regardless, having a professional patent lawyer meticulously research whether a patent for a similar product has been filed is not only smart, it’s usually a prerequisite for investments. It acts as market research which helps when deciding how to move forward.
After it has been established that no patents exist for your invention, you can proceed to file your patent in the country of your choice. Typically, a provisional patent is filed which is cheaper and quicker but only lasts for 12 months. The alternative is to file a non-provisional patent from the start (as opposed to after the end date of the provisional patent) which is more expensive and takes longer but is effective for the full 20 years (the maximum time a patent holds).
Step 2: Prototyping
The creation of a working prototype is done by an engineering firm, which takes your idea and brings it to life. This is initially done by sketching the idea out on paper and then designing it using a CAD software (SolidWorks) on the computer. At this point, you will be able to see, for the first time, the way your product will actually look on the computer.
Then the real fun begins! Your idea will go from an image on a computer to a real life product that you can hold in your hands. At this point, you will be in possession of a working prototype as well as the CAD designs which you will use when working with your manufacturer. This is a major milestone and a sign that you are well on your way to making a product that people love.
Step 3: Crowdfunding
A successful crowdfunding campaign is caused by exceptional marketing and creating digital assets which convey the full capabilities of your product. The first of such is producing amazing photographs that display your product and add intrigue and excitement. The second is a high quality video which captivates the audience as well as showcases the brilliance and necessity of the invention.
Next is a website connected to an analytics program with the ability to collect leads which will later be used for drip campaigns and email marketing. Content is another asset which can greatly boost your social presence and add make potential customers trust your brand.
Finally, for those who truly wish to give their crowdfunding campaign the best chance they have to reach a never before imagined goal, advertising and public relation spending is crucial to drive real traffic to your website and crowdfunding page.
The most important part of your crowdfunding campaign is your campaign page itself. Here, users will engage with all the content that you have created and decided whether or not they will pre-order your product or not. The difference between raising $10,000 and $1,000,000 is in the quality of the page. While you can’t compromise on the quality of the product itself, good execution and marketing may play an even bigger part in your overall crowdfunding success.
Step 4: Manufacturing
While your product has already been engineered by a professional firm during the prototyping stage, there is little chance that it will hold up to the scrutiny of the manufacturing process. While it may have made sense to use certain materials and methods for creating one prototype, when it comes to manufacturing thousands and millions of pieces, things need to change.
The final part of the long journey from idea to market is the actual production. Here your finished products will be manufactured, assembled and shipped to the destinations of your choice. Making sure that your products meet the necessary standards and regulations as well as conducting professional quality assurance, is a major aspect of the manufacturing process.