Chris Castillo, president of Master Entrepreneur International Inc., offers these tips for entrepreneurs planning to turn a product idea into a business:
• Decide whether you're an entrepreneur or an inventor – developing and licensing the product may be a better option.
• Ensure the business will be feasible, that there is a market for the product, and that the economy can support it.
• Hire a patent agent to make sure there's no existing patent on a similar product, or do your own search with the Canadian Intellectual Property Organization.
• If you don't have a network of people you can turn to, try a business incubator, or colleges and universities, to tap into a pool of expertise.
• Have a prototype designed as early as possible and get target-customer feedback on what could make it better.
• Secure a letter of intent or even a purchase order from potential buyers.
• If you are considering having the product made outside of Canada, contact the various embassies for a list of their country's manufacturers.
• Get a production-cost quote and samples of the finished product from all potential manufacturers to compare cost and quality.