Ask Entrepreneur

How do I sell an idea for a product?

I have a great idea for a product to help parents with potty training toddlers. Do I approach a company that would manufacture the product to see if they would want to buy the idea, or do I come up with a prototype, trademark it and then try to sell it? I would prefer to just sell the idea. I have asked many parents of toddlers if they would buy the product and all agreed that not only would they buy it, but would pay a lot for it.
You can't sell an idea because you don't own the idea. Try this link for a seven-minute web video interview on exactly that question. And this one for a four-minute link.

And I don't mean that you didn't think it up. I mean simply that the only legal ownership is an invention, for which you'd need a patent, and patents are expensive, take a long time and don't really guarantee protection.

Companies don't even want to talk to you about your idea, because for all they know, you've thought of something they're already working on, and if they talk to you about it, you'll be able to say they stole your idea.

The way real people with real ideas get value from them is by building a company to implement those ideas. Then you can own it because you own the market, you were first, you're branded, and everybody else is just imitating you.

Share Your Thoughts

Today's Editor's Picks

About ASK ENTREPRENEUR

Ask Entrepreneur is a question-and-answer forum for and by the Entrepreneur.com community. Send in your burning business question, or comment on someone else's now. Have a Question? Ask Now

Topics (over 1000+ answers)

Ask Entrepreneur Q&A Hangouts

Google + Hangout With Shark Tank
Google + Hangout With Jason Falls
Google + Hangout With Angela Jia Kim
Google + Hangout With Grant Cardone

ASK Quick Tips