Approaching a manufacturer with an original product idea can be both challenging and intimidating. This is because few manufacturing companies want to gamble with profits by producing new, unproven, entrepreneurial products, and—on the other hand—no entrepreneur likes having his or her product idea shot-down. However, whether you are seeking to have your product manufactured locally or overseas, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you promote your idea effectively and that manufacturers take your idea seriously.
Things You Will Need
Computer-aided design (CAD)
Summary of your business plan
Come up with an original product idea, and do some research to ensure that the product does not already exist, and that no one owns the rights to it. You can do this by searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) patent database at http://patft.uspto.gov.
Consult with an engineer who specializes in product design. According to businessweek.com, an engineer can advise you on production materials and design feasibility, and help you estimate production costs.
Protect your product idea. Now that an engineer has helped you solidify and strengthen your idea, you should apply for a U.S. Patent. For more information, and to find the appropriate forms, visit the USPTO website at http://www.uspto.gov.
Build a computer-aided design (CAD) model of your product. According to idea-invention.blogspot.com, this 3-D model will display all of your product’s dimensions, and will allow you to share your idea with potential manufacturers over the Internet. You will likely need to employ the help of a graphic designer.
Build a prototype (again, you will likely need the help of a professional). While a 3-D computer model can give manufacturers an initial impression of what they are dealing with, a well-designed, physical prototype that functions properly can help sway a manufacturer’s decision in picking up your product.
Develop a business plan. Manufacturers will want to know the quantities you want to start production at, how the products will be distributed, and the associated costs. According to businessweek.com, having at least a one-page summary that contains all of this relevant information will help manufacturers take you seriously, and hopefully help you get your product manufactured.
Be professional. If you are granted a meeting with a manufacturing company that is interested in your product, proceed as politely and professionally as possible. This requires that you act and dress (suit and tie / business appropriate) the part.