Idea assessment worksheet

It's not all about how wonderful your new product or service is.

What matters is – will customers buy it?

This worksheet will help you to assess the practicality of turning your idea into a product or service which customers will buy. The questions below cover important topics you should think about. You will not know all the answers now but you should use these questions as a guide. When you have worked through them all, you should have a good understanding of:

  • your market
  • your competitive advantage
  • the laws, regulations and constraints relevant to your product or service
  • your business model
  • an intellectual property protection strategy
  • your marketing strategy
  • the business financial and investment requirements.

Assess your idea by typing your responses into this idea assessment chart.

Your idea and your target market

1. Briefly describe your idea or invention.

2. Can you prove that your idea works? For example, have you built a working prototype?

3. Describe your target market (the sorts of customers who would buy your invention). How would your product or service help them in their daily lives? For example, would it make doing a particular task quicker and easier (like online shopping), or more convenient (like online banking)?

Your competitive advantage

4. What products or services do you think are your key competitors?

5. What is your competitive advantage?

6. What makes your product or service much better value to the customer than what they already use or do?

Laws and regulations and constraints

7. What Australian or international regulations or laws apply to your idea? For example, regulations on product safety or industry standards.

8. What other constraints apply to your idea? For example, regulations size, weight, packaging or power source?

Your business model

9. What is your business model? How will your idea generate revenue?

10. What would the supply chain for this product or service look like? Where would you fit in?

11. Have you developed relationships with the people or companies you need to work with to take your idea to your customers? 

Your intellectual property protection strategy

12. Have you protected your idea by obtaining a trademark, design right, patent, domain name for your website, or other formal process?

13. Have you identified what would stop a competitor from producing something similar to your idea? For example, you may have specialised equipment, a strong brand reputation, or access to particular suppliers.

14. Have you checked that you are not accidentally copying another person’s idea or invention? If their idea is legally protected (e.g. by a patent), you might be at risk of infringing their intellectual property.

Your marketing strategy

15. How are you going to find your customers?

16. How will they find out about your product or service?

17. What are some of the features or benefits of your product or service? How would you describe these to potential customers?

Your business financial and investment requirements

18. How much sales revenue will you need for your idea to be profitable after costs?

19. How much capital do you require from investors and how will you use it?

20. How much return on investment will your investors make? What’s in it for them?

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