You finally did it: You’ve brainstormed and researched and worked yourself silly, and you’ve finally come up with that new, unprecedented idea for a software system or electronic product. And you can’t wait to get started making it a reality. The only question now is where to start. Do you investigate the patent process? Seek out investors? Begin assembling your design and engineering teams?

Well, if you want to keep things as efficient as possible, the first thing you probably need to do is begin your inventor’s notebook. This is the organizer and repository for all of the ideas and plans from your new electronic product or software.

An inventor’s notebook really serves two purposes. It puts all your information in one convenient place, but it also can provide crucial legal documentation if someone challenges your patent or copyright further down the line.

Here are some tips on how to best maintain your inventor’s notebook.

Keep it simple

Just because you’ve come up with a great tech idea doesn’t mean your notebook has to be high tech. All you really need is a good notebook and some writing utensils. Just make sure you’re working with a notebook where the pages aren’t loose-leaf, so you can document your process step-by-step and keep things in order.

A dated, well-organized notebook is essential, and it will need to be with you at all times during this process, so the simpler it is, the better.

Be descriptive

It might be tempting to work in a kind of shorthand when it comes to your notes, simply because you’re so familiar with your idea. But remember, this is a complex software program or electronic device you’ve created, and people working on it in the future are going to need as much detail as possible. Even if it seems tedious, it’s important to fully document and describe every aspect of your invention.

Include conversationsM.strong>

Have you spoken with friends, advisors or investors about your software or electronic product? Have you had any meetings to plan out a design or marketing strategy? If so, make sure a section of your inventor’s notebook is dedicated to recording those conversations and when they occurred.

Remember, this isn’t just about keeping your ideas in one easy-to-access place. An inventor’s notebook is for your protection, as well, and the more you record about who you’ve spoken to and what you spoke to them about, the better. This creates a timeline that could be indispensable if someone challenges the originality of your idea.

Write down marketing ideas

To keep you from getting off track while developing your new tech idea, it might be a good idea to have your target audience written down in your notebook. That way, as you’re refining the idea, you can always go back to that entry and measure the changes you’re making in your product against what the expectations of your audience might be.

It’s always important to keep the market for your product in mind, particularly in the ever-evolving software and electronics fields. The audience is not a target you want your product launch to miss.

Be consistent

Even if your product development is moving along at a good pace and the ideas are still flowing, it’s important to make sure you’re documenting every step of the process in your notebook. Even if it slows down the development of your tech idea, you will need to be able to show each step of the process later on to your engineers and design team.

As the project reaches its end, in a rush of impatience or excitement, it might be tempting to leave the inventor’s notebook behind. This is a mistake that could cost you valuable information (or documentation) later.

Once you’ve finished up that inventor’s notebook and gotten your new electronic product or software design as far as you can on your own, let Pivot International help you take it the rest of the way. Learn about our business development services here.