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Thought of a new product? Here are the next steps

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There are two types of product ideas, the ones that complement a business, add to current stock and fit nicely into a product line, which is an exciting and straightforward process. Then there are the product ideas that are completely new to the market, and, if you’re lucky, unique in their design.

Many people are able to turn a simple idea into a well-received and popular product, in fact, it happens every day around the world, but it’s not as simple as coming up with an idea and selling it straight away. There is a process to follow and some key points to be aware of before you even start. For a product launch to be successful we can’t skip to the launch date. Luckily there have been many product launches in the past and we can learn from and follow advice on how to succeed in this process. Following these steps from survey distribution to hitting the shelves should make a huge difference to any new product launch.

Research

Coming up with a simple idea that could be well received by your chosen audience is a great start, however, there needs to be a little more thought in this process. Thinking about the practicalities, how effective your product will be, and the possibilities of any slight teething problems may seem stressful at first, but the development stage can really iron out any doubts or potential problems with the product itself before you get too far. This is the stage where everything is written down, researched and developed into a bigger plan. At this stage of the product creation you will find internal and external opinions and ideas useful, so creating a poll for your internal and external colleagues, potential customers, and professionals in the field to help gather as much information as possible can be invaluable. If it’s the first time you have created anything like this then you should find Pollfish’s guide on survey distribution methods very helpful. We’re living in a time where our target audiences are mainly available online, so gathering information in this way is commonplace and expected.

Development/planning

Once your survey distribution has been completed and your results are collated it is time to develop a real plan and work on the finer details. Drawing up the main points of the product, design features that are important and full information about how the product will work is key. These don’t have to be the final plans but are a good place to start. Making sure you have listened to advice, questions and suggestions is important, and once everything is down on ‘paper’ there is much progress to be made from there. It’s surprising what comes up during this phase of the process, we may think we know our idea inside out, but the second that is noted down and the design starts to unfold the potential issues, opportunities and downfalls become apparent. Even though this is an exciting part of the process, it’s important to stay on track and keep realistic expectations.

Prototype

Once you’re sure your product will work, do the job well and become a desirable purchase for others then the next step is to create a prototype, the technology available to us now is mind-blowing, and we can access all types of information and tools to carry out this part of your product creation journey. Not only do we have various materials available but tools such as 3D printers can make creating prototypes quick, easy and very useful. It can be a lower-cost way to get it ‘right’. The first design prototype may not look anything like the final product and that is the point, you get to see it for real and make all the adjustments you need.

Supplies

Once you know what you’re aiming for it’s important to work out what you will need to create the products and cover the demand. There is plenty of research to be done and structured ways of doing this, but remember to keep outgoings low, work out your costs (including labour charges) and ensure that your profit margin is as healthy as possible will mean you should be able to expand the business as soon as you can. Being able to invest in higher quality production and materials over time is a great way to move forward, products are regularly upgraded over time and being able to build on and improve will take your product to the next level. Remembering to keep a close eye on suppliers, the costs and the ability to access supplies is important too. This is why many supplier contracts are put in place from the offset, this avoids any miscommunication, sudden changes and disappointments.

Production

Once you have finished your research, from survey distribution to supply chain, and created your prototype, as well as tested the waters with your potential market, then you can make a start on production, don’t forget to plan for that curveball, have a backup fund for any mishaps and mistakes, and a team of people on board to support the product production. As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, so gathering your plans, putting them into action, and watching the hard work payoff is much more enjoyable when everything has been completed in the right way. When you walk into the production line, whatever scale that is, and see your product being created before your eyes for the very first time, you can feel happy with your efforts and excited for the future.

From research to development, and right through to shipping the very first order, if the correct approach is taken, and the correct amount of planning is done, then many products will find themselves becoming a household name, and that’s exactly what all businesses would like to see happen, sooner rather than later. When you have a great idea then give it the time and care it deserves to succeed in the market place.

About Janine Lucas

janinel@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

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