This is one of the most common questions I get asked. Even as a seasoned inventor, it can be hard to dream up new ideas for my next invention. Knowing what products will be popular or if they can be manufactured at a reasonable cost only comes after years of experience. Sometimes, you simply have to trust your gut feelings and roll the dice. But don’t worry, at this point you are only spending time at the computer or notepad to flesh out a plan.
How do I come up with good invention ideas?
- Look for niche markets where people have money to spend.
- Identify areas where there are voids in product choices.
- Think of product ideas that will fill those voids.
- Pick mid-priced product ideas that offer the most profit potential.
- Start sketching your product ideas.
- Share your ideas with others and improve your design.
Look for niche markets where people have money to spend.
You will notice one common theme throughout Invention Therapy and that is that I do things opposite to what everyone else has been teaching you on other invention websites. This is an example of where my experience as an inventor can save you years of struggling. Invention idea top tip: pick the marketplace first and invent your products for that audience. There is no point in coming up with product ideas that won’t sell. You can avoid this by finding niche markets that have people with money to spend. I have been doing it this way for many years with great success.
A few of the niche markets that I have been successful.
- Film and Television Production.
- Photography accessories.
- GPS tracking technology.
- Electronics gadgets.
- Science projects.
- Specialized audio products.
- Synthesizer and music equipment.
- Scuba diving accessories.
Now my success varies greatly among all these different niche marketplaces but overall my income has been very good by sticking to these areas where I am most knowledgeable.
Questions to ask about a particular niche market.
- Is there a good selection of products selling for more than US$150.00?
- Is there a product I could come up with that is better (price, function, look, design)?
- Is these something i could invent that doesn’t already exist in this marketplace?
- What would it cost to make a prototype?
- Do I have the skills or access to talent to build the prototype?
- If I can manufacture it, can I make a reasonable profit?
At this point, we aren’t answering these questions accurately. We are just making some very rough estimates so we can come up with some good invention ideas.
Identify areas where there is a void in product choices.
I always talk about how, as an inventor, you don’t think in a straight line. You are calculating prototype costs for niche markets with products that you haven’t even come up with yet. I know this may sound kind of confusing but once you go through this post a few times, you will see what I mean and get the hang of it. Case in point, you already looked at the marketplace and the products available and even had some invention ideas. Now you need to go to the next step and find actual product voids.
Think of product ideas that will fill those voids.
Voids in the marketplace will fall into these four categories.
- Overpriced products that you can build better and cheaper.
- Existing products that are poorly designed.
- A market with existing low costing products with people wanting to spend more!
- Nonexistent product availability in a marketplace with earning potential.
There is no perfect or easy way to approach coming up with good invention ideas. Everyone thinks their ideas are good but the proof is when you are able to turn that idea into a viable product and make money. There is a long road between the two but the journey can be very rewarding and fun if you travel on it correctly.
Pick mid priced product ideas that offer the most profit potential.
Mid-priced products are usually those that fall into the US$150.00 to US$300.00 price range in my experience. I have retailed some of my products for less and some for more. I have found this price range to be the sweet spot and the easiest to fill market voids.
This article isn’t about pricing your products or the real costs associated with building them. We are just focused here on the conceptual part of inventing and this one question that will always be on your mind. You must get into the mindset of looking for new niche market places and then coming up with invention ideas all the time. You will become a natural at quickly answering those basic but important questions as to whether or not the idea is viable.
With products in the US$150.00 to $300.00 price range, we generally can manufacturing them in small quantities of one hundred units at US$50.00 to US$75.00 each. Some products will cost slightly more and some less. It’s all up to you but as a rule of thumb, I like to sell my products for between 2.5X – 3.5X what they cost to put “in the box”. That’s the price for everything down to the cost of the bubble wrap. Actually I don’t calculate the shipping tape and bubble wrap cost but you get the point that every penny must be considered.
Start sketching your product ideas.
This blog post is about the conceptual process involved in coming up with good invention ideas. One of the best ways to keep thing simple and at no cost, is by starting to put some of your ideas down on paper or computer.
I have talked about how up to only a few years ago, I was unable to draw stick figures. That’s right, I was really, really bad at sketching and tended to do things within computer design software. The choice is up to you but you should at least start getting those ideas and even some simple sketches out into the real world.
Here is a post I did about using 3D software to Sketch Your Invention Idea.
This process of writing down your ideas and sketching how you imagine your products will be a valuable tool for you over the long run. You will also be able to look back and see the progression as you work out the details of your design.
Another important aspect of sketching and writing down your ideas is that it will help with the branding of your product. This is another area we have yet to discuss but coming up with a name and brand for your product could be as difficult as the design itself. And remember, because everything is coming at you in different directions, finding a brand name could even change the look, marketplace or even function of your product.
I know you will find what I just stated as unbelievable but I can’t tell you how many times when I have thought of a product first and then the brand name that the product design actually changed. This happens all the time and is part of being a true inventor.
Share your ideas with others and improve your design.
People have a really hard time with this part. The hold their ideas so close and think that they have the next big thing but in the process destroy most of their chances at success. In order to achieve our goal of turning our ideas into a reality, we will eventually have to start sharing our ideas. Your family is a great place to start and they can offer some guidance during the invention process.
An important warning about seeking the advice of others. Never ask anyone their opinion on the potential success for your idea. I won’t even give you my opinion regarding this subject.
In fact, any invention help company that tells you your ideas is great and will be successful is probably lying to you. None of us know what ideas are going to be successful and which ones will fail. All we know is that if you can bring your product to marketplace, you have a better chance than doing nothing at all!
This is why you never ask that question. I have seen great ideas of mine fail and stupid ideas take off like I never imagined. Because of this fact, I just use the steps in this post to determine potential markets and try to come up with ideas that can fill voids.
It’s the journey, the process, the struggle, the rewards that are the fun part of being an inventor. Release yourself from the invention idea and understand that the product itself is just one tool of your trade as an inventor.