There was a great article in last month’s Wired Magazine. It celebrates the power that the individual inventor has in today’s world to develop and sell his or her invention independent of a large corporation. One might think that this would threaten a firm like Bayard Design.
On the contrary these same forces ultimately lower development costs for us and our customers thereby increasing our potential customer base due to lower start up costs. I would suggest that Bayard Design would have a role to play in the process as a trusted adviser whether it be an engineered solution to a problem or a go-between to find a reliable supplier in China. I would further suggest a slightly difference development path than shown in Wired:
1. INVENT – The inventor comes up with their cutting edge idea.
2. DESIGN – Bayard Design designs and engineers your product with your input and knowledge.
3. PROTOTYPE – Costs to prototype parts have gone down substantially in the last 10 years making lots of 1 to 10 parts well within the reach of the individual inventor. Bayard Design has a database of vendors who use various processes to produce professional level prototypes.
4. MANUFACTURE – Costs to tool and produce parts in China have drastically reduced the start up costs for a typical consumer product. Bayard Design also has a number of Chinese vendors that we have worked with previously to successfully make and assemble products at extremely low cost. We also have a database of US suppliers that can make and assemble products that may not have the volumes to justify a move to China.
5. SELL – Market the product yourself or market it through an established on-line distributor or through a box store. Although box stores have been decried as destroying small businesses if you get into one it guarantees moderate sales volumes just to stock all their shelves. Selling on Amazon or Sparkfun or another established website can also supply a good amount of traffic to guarantee a minimal amount of sales