Invent with Tom: How to Turn your Brilliant Idea into a Commercial Business

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invent-with-tom-bannerIt’s so easy to have a good idea – thousands of us have them every day. It’s not so easy to turn it into a viable business which might one day mean you can give up the day job, work around your kids, even support your family and pay for school fees.

But it can be done. JoJo started off as a way to pay the rent and of course now it does a lot more – providing a way to earn a living for our 700 strong team here in the UK and creating great jobs for thousands more across the world in our factories.

And it all started with an idea.

If you have been thinking about starting your own business and think you have come up with a gap in the market then our checklist may be of help. We are happy to consider your child friendly products – all you need to is tick off the list below then take a look at our Invent with Tom page on the JoJo Community.

1) Thoroughly check the internet to ensure your product is not already out there. Someoen else might have already had the idea and could sue you for ‘passing off’ even if you have never heard of them.

2) The name of your product is key to ensure people can easily find it – so call it something easy to remember but which describes what it does.

3) Have you protected your Intellectual Property rights? Take a look at the Patent Office website, where you will find plenty of advice on what to do next. I made a little film for them recently – click here to watch it.

4) Do you have good packaging that is suitable for retailers? If we can’t display it, then nobody will buy it. Make sure you check out how things are displayed in store – the packaging can cost more than the item.

5) Have you put the item through safety testing? There are complicated rules they vary for almost every country in the world; they are expensive and can mean your idea is not financially viable. Do your research first.

6) Do you have a bar code? You will need to make sure your product has an EAN.

7) What age range is your product suitable for? Baby? Toddler? School? Make sure your idea has a clearly defined market and will be suitable for a reasonable time span.

8) Have you costed out the sampling, tooling, production? Your cost price should be commercially viable and allow a reasonable mark up for the retailer. The recommended retail price needs to be in line with competition.

9) Have you got a sample? How long will it take you to get one made?

10) Have you done a focus group to see if there is a real need for your product? Don’t just ask your mum or family, you need to get proper research done asking impartial strangers who will give you an honest opinion.

11) Do you understand manufacturing, and your route to market – if not you should get to stage 3, then hunt around for a suitable distributor who may be able to work with you to bring the product to market.

It’s a long haul and will require a great deal of time, perseverance and investment. Some new products take years to bring to market, but everyone has to start somewhere, just as we did.

Good luck!
X Laura

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