Whether you have toiled on an idea for your years, or you suddenly sprung up in the middle of the night and shouted "Eureka!" the notion of invention and innovation is what makes the world economy go around. However, once you have that stroke of genius, the hardest part is getting your product or idea to the marketplace. With a strategic game plan in play, you can penetrate the marketplace by selling your idea directly to the company who will manufacture it and get it on the shelves.
Patent your invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Before you can sell an idea to a company, you have to make sure that it is indeed yours to sell. Apply for a patent through the patent office. The patent office will perform extensive research to make sure that you own the idea. Once granted, the patent will protect you as the sole owner of the product or idea giving you license to sell it to a company.
Create a prototype of the product or explain the idea in detail. You want to give the company a physical representation of what they are buying. In the case of an object, pay to have a prototype made. If the idea is an improvement or theoretical notion, document what your idea is and how it would be integrated to the best of your ability.
Write up a business plan for your idea. The business plan should include things such as material and labor costs, packaging costs, and potential profit. This will allow the company to clearly see the upside potential to your idea.
Locate the industry leaders in the same sector where your product fits. You want to find companies that are already manufacturing like products or dealing with similar ideas. Search both private and public corporations.
Contact the research and development department of those companies and schedule a meeting. Be persistent, without being rude, as you need to get your foot in the door in order to demonstrate your product or idea.
Demonstrate your product or idea in the meeting. Give a clear, concise presentation that illuminates your idea in a way that the company "must be" part of your invention.
Negotiate with the company. Once the company wants the product it is time to negotiate your fee. You will have to decide if you want to give over all rights in perpetuity, or continue to receive a royalty payment based on sales. These factors are all part of the negotiation process. It may be wise to hire council at this point to deal with the other companies business affairs office.