Using cutting-edge market analysis tools and databases, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center helps researchers and innovators gauge the commercialization potential of new technology. Beyond the basics of defining your research, the ASBTDC can provide information on the potential market, competitors, or alternatives to your technology.
The “economic intelligence” ASBTDC develops can also help define your design and distribution as well as find new customers, identify potential markets, and expand product lines. In addition, ASBTDC assists innovation-based companies with market research for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposals.
The goal of ASBTDC’s market research services is to help owners of small companies make sound business decisions by providing high-quality, in-depth information. Best of all, our assistance is free to Arkansas-based entrepreneurs. Contact the ASBTDC Lead Center at 501.683.7700 to learn more.
New Product Ideas
It is exciting to have an idea for a new product. Keep in mind that bringing a new product to market is one of the most challenging types of entrepreneurial projects. It is difficult and very expensive. So, before paying for that expensive patent, consider these points as you determine whether or not to move forward.
1. Does it already exist? Do a preliminary patent search. Also, a similar product could exist but not have a patent, so do extensive Internet research.
2. Is there a market for your product? If so, how big is it? Give real thought to who would buy your product and how many sales you would need to generate to turn a profit. Ask yourself these questions: Is this product or service in constant demand? How many competitors provide a similar product? Can you create a demand for the product or service? Can you effectively compete in price, quality and delivery?
3. The plan for how to bring the product to market is just as important as the product itself. How do you plan to commercialize your idea? Commercialization is very costly and challenging. Who will sell your product? How will you get those companies to sell your product? The challenges you faced in developing the product are small compared to this part of the process. This part is bigger.
4. Understand the financial realities of bringing your new product to market. Even if you have a good idea, it might be cost prohibitive to commercialize. Banks are conservative about funding the unknown, and government grants for commercialization are restricted to projects that meet federal agency needs. It will be up to you to come up with the funds. Do you have the money?
5. If you want to patent your idea, hire a patent attorney. But don’t assume a patent is the way to go. Your invention might not be patentable, or it might be a trade secret.
The Arkansas Inventor’s Network promotes product invention. For more information, see arkansasinvents.org.