Thank you, thank you, for all these suggestions. You have no idea how invaluable it is to find relevant advice based on real experience.
There are no products out there that perform the same function as our idea, but some that skim across one small aspect or another. We could definitely do more to examine what these items are made of, although from initial inspection it varies from wood, to plastic, to reinfrorced paper products (an combinations thereof). We had been concentrating on finding out who makes them rather than paying great attention to what they are made of, so we`ll get on that suggestion.
Taking our prototypes to the local college is an interesting idea. I could pitch it to the instructors as a learning experience for students and see if they bite. Our prototypes do indeed look very similar to what we expect the finished product to look like and function as (with slightly different dimensions - the size was dictated by the materials we could find), so it might prove a help to have something as tangible.
Ashton - I would be eager to take you up on your offer of some additional advice. I`ll first take a look at some of the other points you mention to have all my ducks in a row before contacting you.
Thanks again for all the responses, I am looking into every one. Your advice is much appreciated.
I am new to the forum, and can be described in all manner of novice terms...wet behind the ears, greenhorn, beginner, freshman....so I apologise for possibly asking questions that have been asked a million times before!
My friend and I have been conducting home-spun market research, are in the process of having a utility patent prepared, have made our own prototypes, and are now looking at the daunting task of writing `Business Plan Version 1`. It occurred to us however, that we`d really need to find out about manufacturing and cost viability etc before we take this any further.
The problem is, how do we find out what our product could even possibly be made of?! We have been trying to research local plastics manufacturers who might work on a finished product with us and even create a short-run of units we could try to sell on our own, but we are not even sure if it is something that can/should be plastic. How do we find someone to look at our idea and say....`yip, this is definitely a plastics idea, or, nope, other materials might be best`?
With very little cash to work with, there may be some avenues closed to us, so how could we go about this?
Thanks for any responses in advance.