You have an idea for a new product that you're extremely excited about! Now you want to bring it to market, which you know won't be easy, especially given your limited budget and experience.

Before you start spending your time and money trying to commercialize your idea, there are questions you need to ask yourself. The best way of answering these questions is by doing your homework! The internet is obviously an amazing tool for research, but don't discount the value of visiting brick and mortar retailers in person and befriending store managers. Trade shows are second to none for doing market research and relationship-building.

Does your idea have what it takes to compete? Answering these questions will help you make a sound determination and refine your initial idea.

Market size. How large is the potential market for your new idea? Meaning, how many consumers may be interested? It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to bring a new idea to market. Make sure that investment is warranted before you get underway.

Competition. How saturated is the market for similar products? Are consumers already flush with many different choices? Too much competition can make it extremely difficult to succeed, which is one reason I prefer to identify "sleeping dinosaurs" to apply my creativity to. Sleeping dinosaurs are products that have been selling for a long time without any innovation or improvement. 

Value proposition. Does your new idea offer a benefit that consumers will want to pay for? Reading Amazon reviews is a great way of identifying benefits that consumers are actively looking for. 

Manufacturing. Can your new idea be manufactured using existing machinery? Building new machinery is very expensive. Building just one new machine to produce Fishbone, a new sustainable packaging innovation that eliminates plastic rings, cost half a million dollars.

YouTube is an excellent resource for researching manufacturing methods. Companies that are proud to be innovative like to brag.

Cost. Will the retail price of your new idea be low enough to stand up to the competition? Costing more than the competition makes selling a new idea hard. This is a main reason why new product ideas fail to be commercialized.

Protection. How will you protect your ownership of your idea with intellectual property? Patenting an invention easily costs upwards of $10,000. Can you afford to protect your new idea? Please, take the time to familiarize yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of each form of intellectual property.

Education. When you explain your concept to others, do people get it right away? Or do they need to be informed about how it works? Educating the consumer is time-consuming and expensive. 

Line extensions. One new idea doesn't make a business. So, can your idea be expanded into an entire line of products? Try brainstorming how.

Profit margin. After all the expense required to bring your product to market, will there be enough money left over for you to live on? (Put another way: Is this idea really the best use of your time?)

Experience. Do you have the necessary skills to launch a new idea onto the market? More importantly, are you able to build a team to help you? Every successful entrepreneur has a team.

Money. After writing a business plan, do you have enough funds to start and run the company? Make sure you are prepared financially.

There are also questions you need to ask of yourself, because entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Are you ready to become an entrepreneur? Sometimes, we're so excited about our new idea that we overlook this question. Be honest. Are you on solid financial footing? Do you have enough time and experience to bring a new product to market?

If you're not sure, here are some ways of mitigating risk.

Crowdfunding to raise money. Test your idea while raising the funds you need to get started. Avoid attracting the attention of copycats by setting a modest goal.

Joining a startup. Working with others who have skills that you don't can be enlightening. You're getting paid to learn! 

Focus on licensing your idea instead of venturing. Licensing is akin to renting. Instead of doing all the work yourself, your licensee -- a company already in business -- takes on the responsibility of manufacturing, marketing, and fulfillment. Ideally, this company has great distribution. They're your perfect partner, in other words.