Creating a prototype of your invention will bring your idea to life and make it a reality. So how do you go about creating a prototype?
You have several options, including building the prototype yourself. If you are on a shoestring budget, building your own prototype can save you money. In fact, you may be able to create your own prototype for under $50! One way to build your own model is to buy similar products, take them apart and reassemble the components to make a works-like, looks-like prototype of your invention.
If you have the budget for a more professional prototype, ask an engineer or a product designer to create a Computer- Aided Design (CAD) drawing of your invention. CAD drawings can be flat two-dimensional drawings, 3D drawings or videos. But before you give away information about your idea, make sure to get a signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).
Once you have your CAD file, you can have your prototype made anywhere you want to. Through the magic of today’s technology, you can simply upload your CAD files to a website, choose the material and color you want, place your order and receive your prototype in your mailbox in just a few weeks.
Inventor Tip from Brian Fried
How do you make sure your idea is your own, and not someone else’s?
Before you invest in an idea that might be someone else’s, it’s a good idea to conduct some initial searches for inventions like yours.
Search engines like Google or Bing are a good place to start. You can also check online retailers like Amazon and AliExpress, an overseas e-tailer, along with social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook show ads for products when you search. Then visit brick-and-mortar stores and check out sections where products like yours are displayed.
If you stay organized, you can reference the information later and compare your idea to inventions that are already out on the market. Keep track by copying and pasting the URL to a Google or Word document.
If your invention is different enough from what you found so far, you are ready to conduct a patent search, or hire someone to do one for you. That way you will know if you were really the first to come up with your idea.
What is a royalty?
Licensing your idea is a good option if you have limited funds, or if you don’t have the time to manufacture your invention on your own. When you license your idea, you are renting your intellectual property to a company with manufacturing and distribution capabilities that can bring your invention to market. In return, you will receive royalty payments.
Royalty payments are based on a percentage of the wholesale cost. For example, if the licensee that rents your idea spends $1 to make the product and then sells it to a retailer for $3, your royalty payment is based on $3, no matter the sales price. If you negotiate a royalty rate of 5%, you would receive $.15 for every unit that is sold.
Wondering how to manufacture a product and get it on the market? Alibaba’s Min Yang explains the manufacturing process and how Alibaba can help you, as an inventor.
If that’s not enough, learn from industry experts at the US Patent & Trademark Office, the Small Business Development Center and author Charlene Walters. They offer helpful inventing tips, including where to find free resources for inventors and why it’s important to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Also, get inspired by some of our very own National Inventor Club members, who share a little about themselves and their invention ideas.
· US Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO.gov
· Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – email@example.com
· Charlene Walters, Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur
· Min Yang, Alibaba representative – firstname.lastname@example.org
National Inventor Club News
If you decide to manufacture your own product instead of licensing it to a company with manufacturing and distribution capability, you will need to find the right factory. At the National Inventor Club we heard from Min Yang about how Alibaba.com is a good resource for finding a factory to manufacture your invention, or perhaps source a product from overseas.
Min Yang, Partnership & Customer Success Executive at Alibaba, is a former Amazon.com ecommerce expert where she helped merchants from the United States grow their Amazon business for 10 years. She explained that AliBaba.com is a global B2B platform with global buyers and sellers in over 190 countries where people come to find the right fit for manufacturing.
Min Yang explained that there are three types of buyers who visit the Alibaba.com website: people who are looking for information and ideas; those with a specific product need looking for a company that can make a product; and larger buyers looking for larger suppliers. She said that there are 20 million active buyers on AliBaba.com.
We also heard introductions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Innovation Outreach Team & Resource Center and the Small Business Development Center. We heard from new members, and our featured inventor on our Inventor Spotlight.
Beside good information, the National Inventor Club provides an opportunity for networking and open Q & A sessions with speaker, founder and moderator, Brian Fried.
Mike Van Horst was recently interviewed on the Got Invention Show. As a professional realtor, he noticed that even months after his clients moved into their new homes, many still had pictures lined up on the floor waiting to be hung.
Homeowners would say, “I didn’t have the time,” or “I’m not that handy and I’m afraid to make a mistake.” That was when Mike had his “AHA” moment, and the Push and Hang Invention was born.
Mike thought there must be a faster and easier way to hang pictures on the wall so they would be straight every time. He came up with the idea of a tool with a bubble level in the center and a place for nails on either side. Homeowners simply put the nails in the Push and Hang Invention, place it on the wall, make sure the bubble is straight and boom! The nails go in the wall in exactly the right spot, no tools required.
Mike knew that perfecting a pitch for his Push and Hang Invention would be the key to his success. He worked hard to fine tune his pitching skills, and he became a successful guest host on QVC and HSN.
Listen to Mike share his journey, starting with a wooden prototype, pitching and demoing his invention, writing a Provisional Patent Application, using Direct Response TV for marketing, presenting at tradeshows and his ultimate success on QVC and HSN.
The Got Invention Show features 30-minute interviews where an inventor promotes an invention, seeks a licensing deal or looks for distribution opportunities. Host Brian Fried focuses on his guest’s challenges and solutions and asks about their journey, where they are right now and what will come next. Guests offer words of wisdom to viewers and listeners.
The Got Invention Show was picked up by DB&A Network which airs Brian’s interviews on AppleTV, RokuTV and Amazon Fire. The audio podcast is distributed on iHeartRadio, Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and others for a total of over 100 million potential viewers and listeners.
To become a guest on the Got Invention Show,
National Inventor Club Premium Members receive a discount.
From the Inventor Community
Hello fellow Inventors & Entrepreneurs of the National Inventor Club! I will be retiring at the end of this month. It gives me great joy to see how this Club has grown and become such a wonderful resource to so many……..not only in this country…..but globally! Keep it up! ….and Cheers to you Brian Fried!
I leave you with the same words of wisdom that I have been saying for almost 20 years now:
Finding success as an inventor & as an entrepreneur is a lot like the lottery……”You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play”….. Now…… Get out there and Play
Juneau County EDC “Worth a Closer Look”
PO Box 322, 122 Main St, Camp Douglas, WI 54618
608 427 2070
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News from the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)
Inventors and small business may qualify for free legal help in applying for a patent or to protect an invention. Available in all 50 states, each region decides the standards for inventor participation.
About Brian Fried
Brian Fried, serial inventor, is an award-winning authority in the invention industry, a sought-after celebrity guest speaker and an advocate for the invention community. As CEO of Inventor Smart, he acts as an Inventor Coach by representing inventors at every stage of the invention process. He also represents inventors as a licensing agent to secure deals.
Brian is the founder of the National Inventor Club, one of the largest in the nation. Guest speakers focus on topics of interest to the inventor community. You can hear his podcasts on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.
To learn how to proceed with your invention, get the Inventor’s Quick Startup Guide and sign up for an eLearning course. Visit Inventor Smart for more information and receive a free offer.