Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Business
So you’re thinking of starting your own business. Congratulations! This is the beginning of an exciting new venture in your life that you’ll look back on for years to come as the best decision you ever made. For many, it’s a tedious, expensive process that can lead to nowhere thanks to the massive amount of options available when it comes to developing your ideas.
TL;DR – Nothing can fully prepare you for starting your own business.
What you should be asking exactly is how do you transform the idea you scribbled on the back of a napkin into a viable business?
Business 101: It All Starts With an Idea
Develop Your Idea
Before you start, the most important thing you need is a clear idea of what your product can do and who it is for. Keep in mind that your initial idea is just a concept. Don’t fall in love with it before you do your due diligence, including:
- Think through all angles — evaluate the opportunity like an investor would, in an objective, thorough, analytical way
- Identify your customers and what they need
- Evaluate how big is the opportunity
- Is the timing right?
- What will it take to execute?
- Is the payoff worth the risk?
- What’s the business model?
Wearing all the hats and getting your idea out into the world can feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Cobalt’s idea development software guides you with step-by-step instructions on:
- Planning and developing your brilliant idea
- Building a business model
- Creating financial projections
- Getting expert insights and feedback
And humble brag – all of this can be done in days using Cobalt.
Do a little Patent Search
After the “Eureka! moment”, it’s tempting to dive immediately into the development process. You might assume that since the idea you have envisioned isn’t already on the market, it doesn’t exist yet.
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. With more than 40 million patent documents published worldwide, and a million more added every year, only a tiny fraction of these ideas will go to market.
A patent search will tell you what’s already out there, patented and similar to your idea. If you don’t search in advance to see if your idea already exists, you may end up wasting your time and money. Additionally, filing a patent application without knowing if the invention meets the requirements for patentability is not good business sense, considering that it is more expensive than conducting a patent search. So, it could end up costing more in the long run if you consider the costs involved in submitting multiple applications.
It’s better to find out sooner rather than later that similar or identical product ideas have already been patented. Analyzing the results of a patent search enables you to hit the brakes and go back to the drawing board before it’s too late.
With Cobalt’s all-in-one idea development software, you can find legal partners to perform a professional worldwide patent search around your idea. This search will help identify any similar concepts that have been patented to determine where your idea stands and how to move forward with the patent application.
Secure a Patent
It is imperative to protect your invention, so find out if your idea is patentable. If it complies with the three rules of patenting – novel, useful, and not obvious – then you can move forward and patent it. Discover how a Ph.D. and serial inventor who understands the tedious and expensive process of obtaining patents created a project that aimed to create better sleep.
Does this mean that a patent is absolutely necessary when it comes to the success of your idea? That is a hard no. Worry more about speed to market and gaining customers who need and want your idea in the market and worry about patents later.
Market research is just as valuable, if not more so, than Patent research. What is market research? It helps you identify any similar products that exist in the marketplace:
- What features and functionalities are similar to your idea?
- Are they patented?
- Where do they sell? Online or in a retail store?
- What can you learn from existing products to enhance your idea?
While we love an original idea, there is no such thing as an idea without competition, even if it’s indirect. Make sure to take a thorough look into the products and services that might be similar or solve the same problems but with a different user experience. What you learn about your competition is very valuable. Take advantage of the information out there.
Build a Digital Prototype
You know what they say, “If you can see it, you can sell it!”. Bring your idea to life with a digital prototype – a visualization of your idea that goes beyond design to help you engineer, manufacture, and even market your idea. Prototyping is critical for resolving a variety of issues before launching, including identifying areas that need improvement. Once a preliminary version of your product idea is in the hands of actual users, you’ll be able to see how people will use the product rather than how you think they will use it. Then you can then go back and revisit your initial assumptions. Plus, it’s exciting to see real people with your idea in the real world!
Hire an expert to take the idea from your head and put it on “paper.” Cobalt’s all-in-one idea development software is a perfect solution for your digital prototype. The software lets you first define your idea and then pairs you with experts who help you understand your idea’s feasibility.
Why pay an in-house engineering team when you can hire on-demand designers and engineers to bring your creative ideas to life? Find and hire developers, designers, engineers, marketers, and others who will bring your idea to life. Showcase your idea to potential customers and get their feedback before investing time and money.
Learn how a Cobalt cooking enthusiast collaborated with talented professionals around the world to build a better spice rack in just seven weeks here.
In today’s world of diverse media platforms, attracting attention for a new product is a challenge. A comprehensive marketing plan must be a top priority. Whether it’s digital or print, direct marketing or online, web-based, social media, or cold calls and knocking on doors, try them all. Every business is individual and caters to different sectors, so a wide-ranging marketing strategy is essential.
Find and hire website developers, designers, legal experts, marketers, packaging experts, and everyone else you need to launch your business. Let Cobalt’s simple, easy and intuitive software technology seamlessly guide you through the idea development process getting you from idea to business in as little as 30 days. Get started today for free!