There aren’t many things in life more exciting than coming up with that “one in a million idea.” You know you have something big on your hands, but you’re unsure of how to take action.

Taking your product from your mind to prototype to patent to market is easier said than done. However, if you have the right process in place, you’re in better position to seamlessly move through every step.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Start with the design: Before you do anything, personally work on the design of the product to better understand how you want it to turn out. Yes, this is likely to change as your idea evolves, but that’s okay. Right now, you’re simply trying to better understand the basics of your product.
  • Get a patent: If you share your idea with the wrong people, such as a manufacturer, there’s always a chance they could rip you off and attempt to produce the product on their own. And that’s where a patent can protect you. With this, you have legal right to the idea, which makes it much more difficult for someone to copy it.
  • Design a prototype: Maybe you can do this yourself, but it’s likely that you’ll have to hire a group of professionals to take the lead. Your prototype should provide a clear idea of what the product will look like and how it will function. Again, your first prototype may not be what goes to market, but you’re getting closer.
  • Take it to market: Once you settle on a final design, you can ramp up production with the idea of taking your product to market as quickly as possible. As you prepare to do so, create a business, sales and marketing plan to guide you.

Taking your product from idea to market is easier said than done, but it’s not out of the question. Millions of people have been successful doing so in the past, so there’s no reason for you to shy away.

As long as you have an idea of what’s to come and how to legally protect yourself, you can plan for everything the future will bring.