Are you a product designer, inventor, and/or entrepreneur excited to bring an idea to life, yet regularly discouraged by stumbling blocks along the way? It’s not so easy to manufacture a product and bring it to market, is it?

Welcome to Part 1 of Make Your Million-Dollar Idea. The infographic series was born while walking down Embarcadero Street in San Francisco, just past Autodesk and Instructables’ über-inspiring, 27,000-square-foot maker workshop at Pier 9 (which, by the way, features eight 3D printers, five laser cutters, four CNC machines, and much more).

The sea air might have fueled some oxygen into our idea, but credit is mainly due to the bright mind and amazing experiences of product-design entrepreneur Cindy Glass. In every stage of building her business—from scribbles on napkins to unwelcome surprises with vendors in China—Glass has seen it all.

There are many potential landmines for small-business product designers trying to take their ideas from conception to market. Glass and so many others like her have struggled through that journey.

So to demystify the process for anyone at the beginning, middle, or even end of the experience, check out our step-by-step guide, Make Your Million-Dollar Idea, Part 1. It features advice on testing your idea, analyzing the competition, determining your value proposition, checking market opportunity, setting margins, creating prototypes, and weighing new-shoring versus off-shoring manufacturing options.

And yeah, that’s just Part 1 below. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of the manufacturing process, including tips on choosing vendors and materials, quality control, packaging, and more. And then it’s on to Part 3: distribution and sales. Strap on your seatbelts: It’s going to be a bumpy (yet informative) ride.

While you wait for the next installment, learn more about taking an idea from prototype to production, read some confessions of a product designer, and pick up crowdfunding tips to launch your product.


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