How to Invent Something That Will Sell

A question i keep being asked is how to invent something new. And i can’t stress this enough, it’s not just about inventing something, as in anything, as long as it’s innovative. It’s about inventing a product that will have an audience, generate interest, and hopefully bring you sales and money!

Don’t get me wrong and don’t get upset. Yes, it’s not all about the money. Inventing something should be first and foremost about innovating and creating something that helps people and improves on what is currently available. However, once that step is behind you, it is as important to make sure your invention will sell.

Why? Even if you put your own need for making it big financially,  aside, there is a more altruistic reason you should want your invention to become a commercial success.

Assuming your new invention is a great addition to the world, solves a problem and brings value – you will want it to be bought by as many people as possible, so that they can all enjoy the benefits.

If you invent the best product in the world, but no one knows of it and no one buys it, the impact you have is so much smaller, and you are actually preventing people from enjoying a great solution that they might have had access to if it was more properly marketed and selling well.

So even if you are in this for reasons other than making a financial gain, it’s always worth making sure your invention will be marketed properly, and has the best possible chance of selling well.

How can you make sure what you invent has enough of an audience, has demand and will sell and not accumulate dust on store shelves or worse in your garage?

Here are some ideas to keep in mind on how to invent something that will sell:

Make sure your idea is original

It's a common question - how to invent something truly unique? Your invention idea doesn't need to be ground breaking in its innovation. It does, however, need to be original.

Research the market to make sure no one else is offering a solution like yours. Look at other solutions that solve the same problem your invention idea is trying to solve and make sure they are not better and cheaper than yours.

If your invention answers a need, is original, but frankly there is a better, cheaper available method to do the same thing – no one is likely to buy your invention idea.

Competition is good, as long as your solution is unique and better than any of the other solutions out there.

Look out for competition

This might sound very counterintuitive but even if you have an invention idea that is ground breaking, new and completely innovative competition to your product idea is a good thing. Why? It’s a sure sign that there are enough buyers for what you want to invent.

If others are selling similar solutions, and they all manage to make a living in that market, it means people are looking for solutions in that area. That’s a great sign that there is demand. If your invention is original, or improves on existing product by doing something better or for a lower cost, you can probably compete well in the market.

Photo Credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi cc

It’s quite scary to think about a great new invention, and find out no one else came up with anything similar. You might be truly excited to find out you are the first, and indeed in some rare cases you might really be the first to come up with a great idea for a well known problem.

However, more often than not, it’s better to find out that people have tried to solve this problem before you, but in a different way. Improve on their offering and capture a share of an existing market. 

If you can’t find any competing products at all, don’t panic. Check that you are searching for the proper terms and in the proper places. Inventions similar to yours might exist, but have been sold under a slightly different definition than the one you were thinking about.

Still can’t find any other products? Wondering how to invent something that has never been invented before and sell it to an audience who doesn't know he needs it?

To grab a share of a new market you will most likely need to educate your potential buyers that they truly need this product. It can be done, but is often more complicated and requires marketing expertise.

Lastly, If your product is really ground breaking and clearly solves a problem, and no one else is offering anything like it, you might really be on to something big. However, these cases are usually very rare.

Get real feedback for your invention idea

How to invent something people will buy? Talk with your potential customers about your invention idea.

It’s important to get feedback for your ideas from a large selection of people, not just from family and friends.

No matter how objective you think your acquaintances are, unless you are aiming to sell to your family and friends only, you should get feedback from others as well.

Clearly define who your potential customer is. Where does he shop? What else does he buy? Then design a plan to where you can approach people that are part of this group. Ask them questions to measure their interest in an invention idea such as yours.

Don’t limit your questions to the obvious ‘would you buy such a product?’. People might say yes, but it doesn’t mean much. Ask general questions, from which you can infer how important finding a solution to their problem really is, and how committed they are to finding something that will improve their life on that specific issue.

Wondering how to invent something that will sell? Getting feedback on your original invention idea is crucial, since it can save you time and money, if your invention idea is not being accepted with enthusiasm.

Real beneficial feedback can help you scrap your idea and move on to something else early in the process, before you spend too much money and time on it. Or, you might get great insight and some good ideas for new functionalities and a better design for your current invention idea - suggestions you might have never thought of yourself.

Even the smallest tweak to your design can sometimes make all the difference from one more ordinary product to a truly helpful invention, and one that can generate real profits.

How to invent something that will sell?  educate yourself!

If you are serious about inventing something that will truly sell and make you the income you envision, one of the best most affordable resources currently available on the process of inventing and monetising your invention is Ken Tarlow's online course: "Invention code: How to make money with your invention" on Udemy.

Tarlow has 81 US patents to his name and has developed 400 products worth over 1 billion dollars in retail sales, so you know he knows what he is talking about. 

The course is very affordable considering the wealth of information he provides, and you get lifetime access to 47 video lectures (more than 6 hours of quality content) on topics ranging from coming up with an invention idea, figuring if it would sell, to easily licensing it to make money through royalties. It is a truly great resource for anybody interested in inventing. Check the course outline to see all the topics covered!

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