Research is Key!
Last week’s focus was on creating a prototype and drawings for your invention. This week, we will discuss how crucial it is for you to research everything about your invention. Because next Thursday is a holiday, we will be sending out the newsletter on Wednesday, so watch for it a day early!
Being told to research may remind you of being in school and preparing to write a report. Well that is basically what you will be doing. Hopefully this won’t turn you off to the idea of it, because it is so important for your invention.
Now that the internet has made it so easy to access information, at times it can make us forget about the good old fashioned LIBRARY. I would recommend using both. The library has a lot of the same information that the internet has, but it will always be free. With the reliance upon internet search engines, companies have begun to charge you for information that was certainly published in a book, and that book is probably sitting at your local library.
Here are some search engines that I would recommend using, other than our beloved Google.
- 1. The Thomas Register
The Thomas Register is a great tool for specified searches on manufacturers and suppliers.
- 2. Hoovers
Hoovers offers a searchable database of companies, executives, and expert advice.
- 3. IndustrySearch.com
IndustrySearch is a great resource if you are looking to do market research on the tech or manufacturing sectors.
If these websites do not allow you to find the information below, try visiting the library.
With that in mind, let’s talk about what you should be researching. If you haven’t done one already, you certainly need to start with a search on potential competition. Some of you may be saying that your product is the first of its kind so it won’t have competition… WRONG!
You created your invention to solve a problem. Chances are there is already something on the marketplace that is currently being used to solve that same problem.
Research that product and the companies that it is affiliated with. Find out how long it has been on the market, how it is being manufactured, sold, and distributed. Write up a summary of the information that you have found, it may even be beneficial to do a comparison with your product.
After analyzing the results you may consider placing your product on a similar path.
Using your competitor as an example, you will need to find out who your potential users are, down to demographics. Demographics for the consumers of your industry can be found when doing your industry research. Before you begin that, start by asking yourself who is going to want to use your product and why? Try to narrow down as much as possible, WHO your target buyer is.
Start your industry research by narrowing down what industry your product should be placed in. Get as specific as possible. For instance, if you have invented a new type of pencil, you might consider your product being sold in through the office supply industry. An industry more specific to your product like writing utensils would be more beneficial. Specificity allows for more opportunities. Consider if you had gone with office supplies as your industry, you would have lost out on the school supply market.
The market that you are going to be supplying your product to is constantly changing. Some markets change with consumer spending, and some don’t. Some markets only last a year. It is extremely important for you to research the market’s history, and the anticipated changes that the market may go through. These changes will affect your product, so they are extremely important to be aware of.
Industry and market research can be frustrating and time consuming. As an added down side, much of the information on the internet is usually not free. Here is a tip for finding out information about your market or industry:
Find out what publications are specific to your product. Think about which of them would have the same or similar target audience. Look at the media kits and advertising information that they are providing for their advertisers. They have already paid to have this information researched and typically, they are placed on the website.
This write-up of all of the research you have conducted, will be a great tool in your decision making process, and also something you can use in a presentation for potential buyers or investors.
This week: In-depth Research… CHECK!
Next week: The materials needed for a great presentation!
About the author of this article:
Lindsey Yeauger is the Director of Communications for Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that owns and operates IdeaBuyer.com- The Online Marketplace for Intellectual Property. The site gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email her at Lindsey@IdeaBuyer.com.