Is there a market for your invention?
There is no point in developing the invention unless there is a market for it. Before spending any money on patenting, prototyping or anything else, do some market research.
Identify the persons who might wish to buy or use the product. Find out what they are using now and whether they would be interested in your invention. Profile a typical customer by age, geography and disposable income. Identify the businesses distribute the product and the contact details of potential buyers. Try to work out the size the market if you can. The more thorough your research the more likely you are to find investors.
You can do much of this work yourself. A good public library like the British Library Business and IP Centre in London or the Business and Patents Information Services section of Leeds Central Library are good places to start. Check out Leeds library's market research resources.
If you need further help you may wish to consult a marketing professional such as Gareth Morgan of GAP Management Ltd. His services include
If you need even more specialist services you should consider a specialist market research company such as Inventya Ltd. at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre. Inventiya carries out feasibility studies and market research and devises commercialization strategies.
Should you be likely to disclose details of your invention or other confidential information to a librarian, market researcher or other person you should make sure that he or she will accept that information in confidence. The usual way to do that is to ask him or her to sign a confidentiality agreement. Jane Lambert, an experienced intellectual property lawyer has published a lot of information about confidentiality. She has drafted a confidentiality agreement which you can view and download here.