Another question to ask yourself is who will produce this idea. Who will take your idea and turn it into a tangible product. If it’s a one off product, like a work of art, or something that can be delivered digitally, you can most likely find a way to do it yourself. This book is an example, early in the writing process, my idea is to to self publish it and I have found the company online that can produce it and put it on the website of the largest retailer in the world. I plan to market it through my speaking engagements and online. Now I could also work with a regular publisher (and I still may make that decision). If I were to go that route, my first step would not necessarily be to write the whole book, but rather to create a book proposal and put that out to publishers who may be interested in this type of book. If I go that route, I have a better chance getting to a wider audience and into more major retailers. The downside is it will take close to a year to bring it out the public.
For most retail products, the way to go is to work with a manufacturer. If you go this route, the first step is to look for companies already manufacturing things in your space and then finding out how to submit ideas to them. Be warned, some will not accept outside submissions. Search out the ones that do. In some cases, it may be wise to have a patent in place, but be warned this can be costly. There are also some crowd sourced companies out there like quirky.com that manufacture ideas and give you a percentage if you ca get enough online likes to get you into their consideration process. Threadless.com has a similar process in the world of design.
Speaking of design, In cases of design, like t-shirts and other products that we enhance with our art, words, etc. again there are a multitude of online companies that will produce your products for you in exchange for a percentage of the sale price. If you choose to submit your designs to companies and want to protect them, copyright is the usual vehicle, but be warned. You own the copyright to your design the second you create it (this also applies to written words, etc). The problem is copyright does not protect the idea, just your rendering of the design. I found this most distressing in the early days of my career, but have since come to realize that it is better (to my mind) to put my work out there and risk someone unethically taking the idea, than to keep it locked up here at home and never sharing it with the world. How you handle your ideas is up to you which brings us back to the point of this chapter.
The bottom line in all of this is you do have ideas, they are all around you, you just need to find them or create them and then find the way to move forward to the ultimate goal which is share it with the world.