When is the Time to Sell Your Idea?

13 Apr 2018 Mr. Peterman Business, Product

Many inventors and entrepreneurs have asked me as a product developer to get them just to the point where they can sell, nothing else. While it may seem like a simple request, and it is, it also doesn’t have the answer most people are looking for. When you start with an idea, the potential is high and the risk is high, making the investment chance low. Most business are risk adverse. That’s why inventors, entrepreneurs, and small business are usually the ones innovating. Larger businesses survive and grow by making safe calculated risks that create slow steady growth. Smaller entities and individuals have less to lose in many ways, and a lot more to gain by trying something daring and never done before.
As an idea is developed, it draws a curve and two of these factors change. If it’s a good idea, potential will never change really, if that starts to go down, then that means it might not be as good of an idea as you thought, and it will actually decrease its value as well. The chance of investment increases inversely. This motion is all made to move by your investment into the idea. Basically, when an idea is first made, the sky is the limit, but nothing is proven, so there is a high chance of failure. Businesses don’t want to buy into that. When you begin investing money into developing that idea into a product, however, the tables start to turn. If the idea is proven, it’s more valuable and more likely to gain investment or potential buyers. Usually at the point where the idea is designed, developed, ready for production, and is fully protected with patents and other legal items, that’s where you want to sell.
The sell point is also usually the point where investors would be most interested, though some more risk friendly investors work in the initial idea end of things. This point where there is real Intellectual Property, the product is proven, and you have costing and sourcing figured out, is the best stage to be at when asking for larger investments or pitching to sell the idea to other companies. The point where you see something on Kickstarter is at this stage. They can show you a prototype, it’s designed and pretty, but need the larger investment for tooling and the first order of manufacturing in quantity to make pricing work.
In my experience of watching inventors pitch their idea, the very beginning is the hardest, and it gets easier and easier as you move forward with investing your own money. By taking away the heavy risk at the beginning, you create a much more attractive product for any company buying your product or investing large amounts. I’ve seen many patents expire because they were looking for initial funding rather than moving forward, and so ended up with no product as they didn’t develop the idea enough to be a low enough risk for a purchaser or investor. Make sure you are willing to invest enough into the product to maximize your selling potential. Partnering with a good developer can bring resources to the table to help you with this and every other stage of the process.