This is a tough question to answer because you don't know what you need to know and yet you are ruling out paying for advise. I think the better question is what is the best way to determine how to achieve a competitive advantage in the market? This may involve business, marketing, financial, and legal advice, but is more likely what you are looking for. If you wanted patents, you would know that they are around 10K a pop just to get an application filed and that would already be in your budget.
If you came to me with your above question, I probably would think that success does not lie ahead. It would prevent me from investing or from buying into your product, offering, or vision.
Always search for and be willing to pay for what you ultimately want/need. In my opinion, this is the key to getting what you need to grow and scale. This is also key to planning your strategy moving forward.