Commercialising your invention, idea or product
You might have a great idea or product or a terrific invention and need more information on how to commercialise it or take it to market.
Understanding the seven stages in commercialisation can help you be ready. This information (adapted from business.vic.gov.au) can help.
1. Your idea
The first step towards commercialisation is being able to clearly explain the basic idea or concept behind your new product or service.
You should be able to explain your idea outside your industry, have a prototype for demonstration, complete internal and external testing, and get professional advice to protect your intellectual property.
- Can you clearly define the idea or concept of the product/service you'll be offering?
- Are you able to clearly explain the product/service to people outside your industry?
2. Proof of concept
You need to demonstrate that your product or service is workable, and your intellectual property (IP) will be protected.
- Is there a working prototype which can be used to demonstrate features to customers?
- Has your product/service been through any internal testing processes?
- Has the product been through external testing, certification, approval or registration?
- Have technical support documents been written e.g. specifications and instructions?
- Have you documented the features and benefits of your new product/service?
- Are you getting professional intellectual property advice e.g. from an IP lawyer or patent attorney?
- Have you used a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement to protect IP at this stage?
- Have you developed an intellectual property strategy to protect your IP into the future?
- Do you have seed funding in place for research and development (R&D) and IP protection?
3. Proof of product opportunity
Customer feedback and product development are completed, market research confirms your product will fill a gap and has a competitive advantage, and your intellectual property becomes legally protected.
The main aim of this stage is to 'prove' the product/service has a commercial opportunity in the market. You need to get customer feedback and complete development of the product/service.
- Have you used customer feedback in the development of your product/service?
- Is product development complete and is the product ready for customer sales?
- Is the product ready to start commercial production in volumes that can meet demand?
4. Intellectual property (IP)
During this stage your IP needs to become legally protected. A range of options are available and you should get professional advice.
- Have you lodged a patent to protect your IP, or are you protected by copyright?
- Have you lodged a trade mark application to protect your intellectual property?
- Has the right business structure been put in place to protect your intellectual property?
5. Market research and financial evaluation
Confirm your product fills a need and has a competitive advantage. You also need to financially evaluate its viability.
- Has your market research identified market size, key players and potential customers?
- Has your market research confirmed there is a clear need for your product/service?
- Does the product/service have a competitive advantage over already existing products?
- Have you undertaken a financial evaluation of the viability of your product/service?
- Have you scoped an early business model and identified options to be researched?
6. Market validation
The entry of your product/service into the market needs to be validated by completing industry trials. You also need to finalise your target market, pricing model and market entry strategy.
- Have you completed trials to confirm the strength of both the product and the market?
- Have you identified your target market and worked out your market entry strategy?
- Do you have a well-developed pricing strategy/model that is ready to go?
- Do you understand the distribution channels needed to achieve market entry?
- Can you recognise the 'influencers' in the market that will assist your market entry?
This is actually the final stage in the process. It means financial projections, and accounting/reporting systems are in place prior to your entry into the market.
- Are financial projections for three years completed to support the commercialisation stage?
- Is funding in place to support set up costs and working capital for early commercialisation?
- Is your business model finalised, and based on market research and financial assessment?
- Is your business structure registered, and ready for trading activity and tax purposes?
- Have management and staff resource planning been completely developed?
- Have you completed your commercialisation plan with a focus on market entry strategy?
- Are your financial, accounting and reporting systems ready for the commercialisation stage?