First, see if what you have in mind would sell if you had it.
Who would you expect to sell to?
(Buyers, wholesalers, retailers, catalogers,
reps, distributors - not family and friends).
Go talk to a few:
"If I had a product that would do such-and-such,
would you be interested?
At what price?"
If it's a middleman you're talking with,
get a feel for the markups (to end-user) involved.
See the articles
Ideas vs. Inventions
Second, get a feel for whether what you have in mind
could be made at a low enough cost to yield a reasonable profit --
as a first pass, figure 1/2 selling price.
If you still want to proceed,
decide which path you wish to pursue -- Licensing or Venturing.
For a low-cost approach to Licensing, see
New Product Licensing
For a low-cost approach to Venturing,
A Low-Cost Approach To Venturing
First question is whether you have a big-league
i.e., the business you have (or have in mind) has a real shot
at growing to a $100 million business in a 5-year period --
and whether you want to play this game,
i.e., your primary motivation is to make a lot
If so, you'll want to find a strong, well-connected Venture Capital
partner that knows
how to play in this league.
Most business service providers can point you to local VC firms,
or you can find a directory of them in the library.
You'll need a good written business plan
that sells them on two points:
1) that the opportunity is real
and 2) that you
can pull it off.
See the article
How To Target and Land Financing
For Your Startup
If this doesn't fit your situation,
then you're stuck looking for private investors, or Angels.
This offers good news and bad news.
The good news is that Angels have a much broader range of motivations
than the VCs.
Although they're interested in making money,
that's not necessarily their sole --
or even their primary -- motivation.
The bad news is that they can be very difficult to locate.
See the article
Midwest Lacks Venture Capital - NOT! .
You'll still need a good written business plan,
but instead of offering fast-growth and a huge-return,
you might offer a good-return
and other "benefits" that might motivate prospective Angels,
e.g., the "glamour" associated with a movie venture.
In either case,
before you go looking for investors,
be sure that's what you really want.
Using other people's money
carries both some moral responsibilities
and some "gun-to-your-head" tensions.
Be certain that you can not only live with that,
but thrive on it.
There are alternatives --
Startup Financing --
Why and How To Avoid the Investment Community .
Business -- all
starts with a customer
not with the "great idea".
The only value of a business idea
is to give you an excuse
to talk with potential customers
to find out what they really
Take your best idea to your intended customers --
"I'm considering offering a product/service
that would do such-and-such at such-and-such a price.
Is this something that would interest you?"
And listen closely for responses like,
"No, but can you...?"
If your idea is wanted -- great --
but it's much more likely you'll find
your successful business in the "No, but"s.
See the article
Finding Entrepreneurial Opportunities