Did you know that 99% of patented products never make any money? This is one of the classic pitfalls for inventors: inventing something that there is no market for. To avoid this, its important to do your market research as early as possible on your product development journey.
I recently attended the USA National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. This was as part of my role in Invention Services/Easytool. We were there to meet partners and distributors for our hardware range. At the show, they had an Innovations Room for new products from small companies (main halls were the Black & Decker's etc of the world – big international tools brands). Some of the innovators were chosen to ‘Pitch the Experts’. It was a five person judging panel, mostly from buying groups, distributors or shopping TV channels.
Having an idea for a product is about 1% of the effort required to get it to market. It will typically take 5-7 years to get a product to pay for itself. In that time, you will make no revenue from it. So, think first before leaping in to the patent process - as costs will quickly rack up. There are other ways to protect your idea.