Initially you’ll have only two things to guide you regarding the viability of your invention: Your knowledge of the specific market and your awareness of how much the concept would interest you (and people like you.) Is it something that you or your target user would want very much (almost as a necessity?) Or would it simply be a more attractive choice than something that is already available? This could be your first indication of how good your idea might be. The stronger the idea, the easier it should be to create a market for it or license it.
Marketing can make or break a good product: Even a great product can fail without good marketing. This is a time consuming and potentially expensive process. Without it your target audience will never know that your product exists. Future customers must be educated about the concept and convinced that they need it. And that task will fall to you or the people who license the idea from you.
It’s easier to sell a line of products than a single item : This is a cliché, but largely true and worth keeping in mind. This is because most vendors now have quite complex administration procedures for new items. They don’t want to go through the effort of setting up a new manufacturer and then cutting a purchase order and processing payment for one item. So they are reluctant to take on a single product, especially one that has no track record. To be successful the product has to be able to “sell itself” both to the end user and also to the dealers and distributors who will carry it. So it’s vital that your invention has sufficient appeal and backing to accomplish this.
Manufacture or License? That’s one of the main benefits of licensing an idea rather than trying to make and market it yourself. In this case, the licensor is likely to be an existing manufacturer or distributor that already has a series of products with a built-in customer base. They also will be set up with a multitude of vendors who can distribute and sell the product. Once they take the invention as their own, they can add it as another SKU (stock keeping unit) to their product list. All the purchasing, payment and sales processes will already be in place. Plus, they will likely have existing relationships with buyers at various large retail and distribution companies. So there is much less resistance for them to get the product to market.