New inventors sometimes ask me questions like these below:

  • How soon can I get my product “out there”?
  • How long will it take me to get my product licensed?
  • How long will it be before I make money from my product?

The above questions have a common denominator: they assume there is a clearly defined process and that measurable results can occur quickly. Unfortunately, there is nothing either clear or quick with inventing.

The process varies for every product based upon the genre, price points, and inventor's goals and nothing is “set in stone.” More importantly, nothing happens quickly – inventing is a marathon, not a sprint.

As described in a recent Entrepreneur article, it can take as much as 4 years to get a new product to market if you manufacture it and market it yourself. If you are able to successfully license it to a manufacturer, it might take a couple of years to get it to market. It might take a year to find someone to license it for you and then it could easily take another year before they get it sourced, manufactured, produced, marketed and on the market.

Wow, what happened to get rich quick?

The reality is that getting any new product to market is a long, tedious process with many challenges and barriers along the way, whether you are an independent inventor or Samsung.

So, treat the process as an athlete does a marathon: prepare, train, and compete.

Make sure you are committed to the product for the long run. Secure your intellectual property (IT) in the form of patent(s) and trademark(s). Research to clearly understand the product category: is it growing, stable, or stagnating (hopefully not)? Who are the primary players in this category and what are their key products? What differentiates your product from theirs and which company could most benefit from licensing your product?

Lastly, determine which path to market seems the best for your product: retail stores, online, DRTV, QVC or HSN or a combination. Then, get into the race. Work hard to move your product forward towards the finish line. But remember, it is a long race. Be persistent, learn from your mistakes and have patience, lots of patience.

Stay tuned!