Inventors and individuals: How to go about developing and taking your idea to the market
 If you are an individual with an idea, who is new to the world of new products, the chances are you are wondering how to go about progressing your idea and you are likely to see it as a daunting task into the unknown. You could have real expertise in your field, such as being an electronics engineer but you need help, from a specialist, with putting an actual saleable product together. That is where I come in useful. I have got substantial experience working with start up businesses and individual inventors. Many of my clients have never worked on developing a product before.
I have put together a number of pages on the sub-menu to this page, which are specifically intended for to answer the questions that inventors and start-ups often ask me. However, the whole website contains useful information.
The page The development process illustrates what is the logical sequence to develop the product. However, individual inventors do not necessarily follow this process, for instance, a person with mechanical skills may go far into the development process without having gone through a product research or concept evaluation first. I am able to help the inventor rectify this situation and bring the project on track.
If you form a company for your idea, it helps you concentrate the finances and work on the product idea within the confines of that company. As you can see in the pages related to finance and development, the company will help you with credibility and 'trading history'. It does not matter if you have made little or no profits (in the development stages), people understand that all new companies and ideas go through a -sometimes long- period accumulating expenditure and losses while they make an effort to develop and put the product in the market.
You decide, with your accountant, if it should be a Limited Company, Sole Trader, a subsidiary of a company you may have, revive an old company, etc. The process to form a company is easy these days.
This also helps get credibility for your company and product idea. Get your relatives and friends, who have any specialist knowledge, to volunteer to put their name as advisors or members of your company. If you get any of them to invest money then name them as investors or directors. Of course none of them has to give up their day job.
But be careful how you apportion interest in your idea and company! If you want to put it in the form of formal written agreements, you need professional advice to do so.
People who invest in companies and ideas like to see:
A- That other people are interested to participate and keen on your idea too.
B- That there is a team of people with skills in different areas who are prepared to work on your idea.
It is natural for inventors to worry about showing their idea to anybody (including myself!) for fear of having it 'stolen' and exploited while being left out of the profits it will generate. Whilst it is not wise to publicise your idea (say in Facebook) before it has some form of protection, it is better not to hide it from people who can help. What you can do is to use one of a number of methods to request of the person who will see you idea to agree to confidentiality and non use.
These are the types of documents that can be used. In this day an age a documents of these types, signed electronically, are valid in most places.
1- Letter of disclosure
This is a letter that you send to somebody who will look at your idea, prior to a meeting or you sending information from a distance. It says that you will be disclosing an idea in confidence and that you expect your recipient to agree to this. The recipient normally has to acknowledge the letter. This is not a fully detailed agreement with clauses and conditions. It is particularly useful for people who are reluctant to sign fully detailed agreements
2- Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and Confidentiality agreement
This terms are generally interchangeable and they are for documents which deal in detail how the confidential information will be treated. The documents has several a number of clauses and it is usually 1 to 3 pages long. A very long document, with several pages and several clauses is normally used by large companies and it is not suitable for individuals.
This agreement is normally stated both way, i.e. The confidentiality covers both the information given by the inventor to the recipient just as that given the other way round. The reason for this is that the recipient is often somebody who can contribute with fresh ideas, engineering and other IP which has been created by himself.
3- Non-Use agreement
This usually goes together with the NDA. It states that the recipient of the information will not use the IP for his/her own personal benefit and will not try to exploit the IP to make money.
Added to the above, the inventor is able to gain protection for his/her idea from the beginning in various forms. See page: Patents and other IP protection .