The Business of Ideas: Final Words

Developing your intellectual property into a viable business opportunity is a complex proposition! In this series of posts, Porticos co-founder and President, Greg Patterson shares his insights on navigating the process. First written ten years ago, these posts revisit (and update) Greg’s original content for a new decade of product development.

Read previous post: Reviewing the Revenue

It seems like a long journey since we started investigating how to make a Business of Ideas. Hopefully, the information presented has been helpful or at the very least made for entertaining reading.

Let’s review the main points that we have discussed:

The Single-Product Myth – One product does not constitute a viable long term business. You need a portfolio to run a business.

Passion – Developing and driving an idea from concept to the market isn’t for the faint of heart. Innovation has to be a passion and the kernel must excite the inventor or it isn’t going to stand the rigors of development.

Six-Month Rule – You cannot pursue ideas in a lackluster way or someone will beat you to market. There are a lot of smart people looking for similar solutions so time is a factor if you want to reap the rewards.

Look Again – Humans have been wandering around Earth a long time now. The chance of you truly being the first and only person to come up with a unique idea is pretty slim. If you want to avoid heartache or worse, waisting money, you need to search exhaustively. And then look again.

Marketing is Key – Understanding the market and marketing of your idea (or product) are critical to getting a return on your investment. Developing a product with no market in mind is akin to finding a solution where there isn’t a problem.

Evolutionary vs. Revolutionary – We discussed the differences between evolutionary and revolutionary ideas. Both are valuable to the process of innovation.

All or Nothing – Taking an idea from concept to reality is a tough assignment. Add to that the time constraints and associated pressures and it is apparent that developing ideas successfully cannot be viewed as a part-time endeavor.

Extraction – If you want your invention to make money, you need to consider how you plan on extracting value. Your extraction plans should and will affect design and marketing plans.

Risk vs. Reward – It’s often said there are no rewards without risk. But what people fail to consider is how much and what kinds of risk they are capable of taking. Consider the time, technology, and liability risks that come with your idea.

Let the Numbers Speak – When it’s all said and done, successful ideas need to be backed up by the numbers. We reviewed the costs involved in bringing an idea to life.

Reviewing the Revenue – Knowing the costs is critical, but the revenue is more fun. Making careful estimates, it’s time to crunch the numbers and determine your expected ROI.

Why Develop a Business of Ideas?

With all of the potential pitfalls, trials, and tribulations associated with inventing and product design, one might be tempted to ask “Why do it at all?” 

First and foremost, speaking for myself, I enjoy coming up with ideas and solutions to problems that no one has solved before. It’s exciting when you get that “Ah-ha!” moment and the idea starts to develop right in front of your eyes. 

For some a major driver is the creative outlet. Everyone has the opportunity to come up with a novel idea. Much the same way an artist can express their creativity on a canvas, the inventor manipulates past ideas, personal knowledge, and life experiences to create a new form of art; one conveyed thru words, formulas and hardware.

Inventors can develop a legacy. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein are long gone but their names live on thru the many inventions that they contributed to society; inventions still relevant today.

Of course there’s the prospect of financial reward. Granted one could argue that the lottery might have better odds but inventing and developing products has less to do with chance and more to do with skill. Royalties and/or the sale of intellectual property (IP) can deliver financial gain beyond an inventor’s available working hours. 

And finally, what else would you be doing with your time? There are only so many hours of TV or rounds of golf that you can stand (or afford). Inventing can be a great escape; a hobby that has potential for financial or personal rewards. It doesn’t suffer from any of the traditional boundaries of age, race or gender. People from all walks of life can develop inventions.

So go forth and invent something new!

– Greg Patterson

XL200P Exploded View

About Porticos


Porticos, Inc. is a Product Engineering and New Product Development firm located in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Established in 2003, Porticos produces innovative and effective solutions for their clients and the markets they serve. Porticos provides broad expertise in development, planning, and production. 

Contact us for more information or support bringing your idea to market.