The answer is time, a lot of time. There are three resources to any project and getting a product to market is no different. Money, Experience (Skills), and Time. At least one of these must exist in a large quantity to overcome a lacking by any of the other two. The most successful products have at least two of these in a good amount, but there are also plenty of products that are created using only one resource to start.
So what do you do when you have no money or experience, but are willing to put the time in? Well, here’s the formula.
First, you’ll need skills and experience. This can either come from a co-founder or from you learning those skills. You might ask, “why don’t you get funding first and spend time on that”? Well, it’s because almost no one buys, invests, or steals just ideas. They aren’t valuable enough. You must create value before someone will invest capital. The best way to do that is to create a working prototype of your product, which we’ve talked about the importance of prototyping before.
To prototype, you need the skills and experience to create that prototype, a co-founder/partner who has the skills, or the money to pay someone else to do it. Finding a co-founder that’s willing to jump in at the very beginning is like finding a needle in a haystack. Possible, and we all cheer for the one who does it, but not reached by most people right at the beginning.
Getting a prototype that would be convincing enough to get funding takes quite a bit of cash. In my experience, the cost is anywhere from $10,000 up to $50,000 on average. Plus, you might want to get a patent in there too. If you don’t have that kind of budget, then you’ll need to build your own prototype. It’ll still cost some money, but you can save a lot when creating your proof of concept.
Once you have that prototype, you’ll be ready to focus on getting investments to move the product forward. Keep in mind, this could take you years instead of months to create by yourself. No product can go to market without funding, even if you have a great idea. That money will go to marketing, sales, and production. While you could try to get a larger company to pick up your idea, keep in mind that they have teams of people coming up with ideas with huge R&D budgets.
If you want success, your best bet is to create a prototype, get funding, and launch a company. Selling a successful product and company is easier than one that has no proven market. Not that it can’t happen, because it does, but the chance of success is not as high. Some people will tell you that luck is a part of this, I’d disagree. Be persistent and enjoy the journey. Even if it takes years of working on it as you have time and money to do so, stick with it. Your idea is important for as long as you enjoy it. Happy inventing!