The best business ideas can come from anywhere. The market is constantly looking for the next big thing; that next big thing can be an idea you’ve been sitting on for ages. Anything from a DIY craft you’ve been doing for years to a sudden idea for a product you get on your way from work can be turned into a product that customers want to buy.

The first order of business is turning an idea or a concept into a working prototype. Next, you can start producing the finished goods and sell them to customers from around the world through online commerce. If you’re eager to get started, here are the four steps you need to complete in order to turn your idea into a product.

Work on the Idea

Yes, a simple idea is not enough. No matter how good you think the product will be, there are a number of things you need to do before you move forward. Start by figuring out if the product you’re developing fills a particular need that already exists on the market. This is the easiest – and most sure-fire – way of ensuring success, even before you start working on a prototype.

You don’t have to find a huge demand right away. You also want to be very careful about sharing the product idea with other people. That said, it is easy to determine if you can fill a demand with the product. For starters, you can see if the product solves a problem you’re having; you can then check if other people are having the same problem.

Next, work on the idea until it reaches a more mature stage. First drafts are never good enough; as you review and revise the basic idea, you will find ways to improve it. The finished product will be much better than when you just jump on the first idea you come across.

Turn the Idea into a Prototype

Thanks to some of the latest technologies, making a product mock-up or a prototype is very easy to do. If you have the skills, you can actually use 3D modeling software to start working on a model. Alternatively, you can hire a professional 3D artist to help turn your idea and sketches into a 3D model.

3D modeling is the best route to take for two main reasons. First, you will be able to see the actual finished prototype even before production. The 3D, entirely visual approach, is so much better than sketches or drawings because it allows you to interact with the product in the 3D realm. You can also make fine adjustments to get everything right.

The second benefit is rapid prototyping. You can simply take the 3D model and print the prototype in a matter of hours. This is made possible by 3D printers. Some are even so affordable you can pick one up for less than $500. For a high quality finish, however, going to a 3D printing company with better machines will yield better results.

Get Your Documents in Order

After several prototypes and testing sessions, you should have a product that is ready for the market. Some entrepreneurs even get here with their first prototype. Before you start searching for ways to produce the goods, however, you need to protect your investments.

If you haven’t already, now is the best time to make sure your product is copyrighted and patented. The US Patent and Trademark Office will process your patent application in a timely manner. I know how thrilling being at this stage can be – I’ve been there myself. You want to make the jump and get the product made as soon as possible. Getting all of your documents in order, however, is still the best way to go.

Produce and Sell

If you think developing a prototype is exciting, wait until you see the product you’ve designed being made in the thousands. You can develop your own production line or rely on an existing one to get the ball rolling. The former is actually easier than you think, especially now that we have companies such as offering customized solutions.

As you wait for the first batch to come out of the production line, work on your marketing campaign, get the word out and start attracting potential customers. Set up a website and make sure your potential customers can make purchases in no more than two easy steps. Provide an awesome customer experience and get ready to feel the excitement as your product starts selling.