Inventors Insider: 5 Tips for Creating a Prototype - Page 2 of 2 - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Jackson (left) donated 3,000 Lock Laces to kids participating in the Special Olympics.

Understand what the retail value of the product should be. A lot of people come up with a great idea but they never know how much to charge. To determine the perfect price point to sell your product, first calculate how much your product will cost to make. Think about the big picture. You not only have to look at how much the product materials cost, but also the labor costs, or the price a person or a manufacturer will charge you to make it, in addition to wholesale and distribution costs. Try to use less expensive materials, and look at volume. The cost per individual product will go down if you purchase materials in larger volume. “All of that will go into the pricing structure,” says Jackson. Next, look for similar products on the market and see what their prices are. Make sure your prices are competitive (i.e. they will provide more value for your customer). But make sure you are able to still earn a profit.

Don’t disclose your idea to manufacturers. “One of the challenges you may have when coming up with a prototype is disclosing what you are doing with the components that you are requesting,” says Jackson. “Look for multiple manufacturers to make your one prototype, but never really tell them what the parts are for to keep your ideas from being stolen.” Jackson got separate components from three to four different companies to make his prototype. You can also hire a manufacturer to make your prototype, but only after they sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Use the materials that the manufacturer already has in place. If your patent is comprised of multiple parts and pieces, use parts that are already in existence unless it is absolutely necessary that your idea has to use specific types of plastic or metals, which need to be manufactured anew. “You don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” says Jackson. “If you can take components that are already being made by a particular manufacturer that will save you production time, costs, and labor.”

Visit the Inventors Insider next week for more information on how to be successful at creating and monetizing your ideas.

For more information visit:

The American Society of Inventors

The National Society of Inventors

United Inventors Association


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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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