What can I do to determine if I have a marketable idea?

The way inventors feel about an idea has a habit of overriding critical analysis. Many inventors charge ahead blindly, not really understanding what makes some ideas more challenging to market than others. Simple ideas take less time, money, and work to bring to market. So it’s no surprise more often than not, simple ideas are the most successful ideas.

Is your new product idea worth investing in? Take the following into consideration to help you make an evaluation. If it passes, move forward with it. But if it doesn’t, you might be better off abandoning or seriously altering it. Ask yourself the following

  1. Does your idea solve a problem? Can you identify the problem your idea solves in a sentence? Can you describe how your idea will solve that problem? Who will your solution help? How many people could it help? Will these people pay to have the problem solved? Not all product innovations solve problems, but many of them do. Maybe you’ve thought up a unique, interesting idea. But is it really relevant? If you cannot concisely identify how your idea is useful or beneficial, there’s a good chance it might not be very compelling. Consumers have an abundance of choices. Why would someone choose your product idea over another?
  2. Is manufacturing your idea going to be complicated or straightforward? Remember, the first two questions a potential licensee is going to ask you are, “How can we make it?” and “For how much?” First and foremost, does the technology needed to manufacture your idea exist today? If new technology is needed to manufacture your idea, potential licensees/investors are going to be turned off by that. So, take a look around. Do products similar to your idea exist? If so, that’s a good sign. If your idea is more technical, you’ll need to do more research.
  3. Does your idea have a wow factor? How is your concept going to stick out? Think about the type of person who would buy it in a store. What are they going to be intrigued by? What about it sizzles?
  4. Is your idea easily understood? When you try explaining your idea to other people, do they get it? Ideas that are too new, different, or complicated may require educating consumers about how they work and why they’re beneficial. Because education campaigns are so expensive, ideas like these are risky.
  5. Does it have mass appeal or is it a niche market idea (which appeals only to a very small and specific group of people)? Who buys similar product and what do they pay for them? Is there enough demand for it to be mass produced?
  6. Is it patentable? Some industries care about patents. Others don’t. Benefits sell ideas, not patents. In most cases, just the perception that an idea is patentable is enough to get you where you need to be, but you should still be aware of the landscape before talking to investors or to potential licensees. We also recommend looking on the Internet and visiting stores for similar products. Before you start is very important to study the marketplace. By looking at similar products you can determine if your product idea has a point difference worth pursuing and get an idea for its potential target audience and price.