Brainwaves for the bathroom
EA writes: I have two ideas that might revolutionise our bathrooms if I could persuade a manufacturer to take them up. I am reluctant to spell them out because I am afraid that they will be put into practice without me getting any financial benefit. What course of action would you recommend?
The first step is to produce a business plan. This will involve you working out the resources required to develop the ideas into products in order to sell them in the marketplace. It will also concentrate your mind on the risks and rewards involved. If the resources required are greater than you would wish or have available to invest, with or without a financial backer, then you really have no option but to approach a manufacturer. If interested, it will want to study the business plan and may make some further calculations of its own. Prior to disclosing any information to a third party, you should try to get a confidentiality agreement signed to protect your interest. There is a problem here, though: some companies are wary of signing such an agreement because, although the ideas may strike you as being new or unique, it is just possible that someone had thought of them before. Business and Innovation Centres (such as the Lea Valley Bic on 0181-805 8100) can help you through this evaluation process. You could protect your ideas or products by applying for a patent. Contact a firm of patent agents, who will advise you on the practicalities and procedures and the cost.