Almost all of us have at one time or another had an idea that we have wondered about turning into an actual product. Whilst some of us pursue our ideas, even when they aren’t perhaps the most commercial of ideas (to put it politely) a far greater number of us simply put our idea(s) on the backburner, or shrug them off entirely.
What is worse, far too often many of us do this for no other reason than we have no idea what to do next or where to turn. For that reason, we tell ourselves that we’ll work that out ‘someday’ and of course ‘someday’ never arrives in most cases.
Then, here is a quick guide on getting your product to market which aims to inspire all those out there with a great idea to pursue it. After all, the best products benefit a gret many people, if not millions. Hence, it is in everybody’s interest to try and lend a hand however and whenever possible to help get those products to market.
Whilst it will prove impossible to budget accurately without understanding the different and numerous stages and so costs involved in designing, realising and getting a product to market, budget is worth discussing first for two major reasons:
Firstly, the cost of turning an idea into a product is one of the driving and also major determining factors in whether a product ever gets to market, when in an ideal world the only determining factor would of course be a result of assessing the merit and marketability of an idea, never mind a product.
Secondly, ‘how much will it cost me to develop this idea or get this product to market?’ is often one of the first if not the first question a person asks. Hence, it is worth addressing the issue head on and making it clear: there is no finite number or price to turn an idea into a product and unleashing it on the market. Rather, the cost of achieving this will be determined by several factors, including how the project is marketed, the nature of and potential seen in the product or idea and whether you turn to the experts to help you along the way.
By experts we are first and foremost referring to product design experts such as those at Cambridge Design technology, who also run their own article series walking anyone interested through the otherwise seemingly labyrinthine world of product engineering which are an invaluable and entirely free resource. To make the most of these articles, head over to the Cambridge Design Technology website.
The Stages of Product Design
The otherwise black hole that resides between an idea and getting to market is filled by stepping stones of sorts. These are referred to and known as the stages of product design and form the absolute basics of how to turn an idea into a product. Further, miss out any one of these steps and whilst your product might none the less still take form, it will have already failed to reach its full potential, which in turn will damage your chances of getting it to market. Hence, it is imperative to begin by familiarising yourself with these seven product design stages, which you can do by giving the Marketing 91 article: New Product Development a read through.
Suffice to say the most central three areas you will need to invest the most amount of time and as well money into in order to get to market are:
Market Research – before going one step further, it is absolutely necessary (to avoid losing a lot of time, effort and potentially your sanity) to do your market research. At the heart of it you need to be able to intelligently, accurately and confidently be able to answer the question: is there a real demand for my idea / product? The answer will decide the future of the entire project, after all.
A Patent – Ahead of hurrying to protect your idea from being stolen or being beaten to market by anyone else with the same or a similar ideas (the more marketable an idea or product is the more likely it is this might happen), you will need to check with the United States Trademark Office whether your idea or any similar ones have already been patented. Again, the result of this research is likely to begin or end your project. And it is better it ends now than a few grand or year of more of toil down the line.
Creating a Prototype – thirdly, and provided you have hop scotched all the proverbial stepping stones along the yellow brick road of product design, you are as such going to require a prototype to show to prospective investors in most cases. Launching and marketing a product without investor backing is not only costly, but can easily and quickly bankrupt the average non-millionaire.
More Information and Advice
If all this sounds daunting, it should; turning an idea into an income is no small feat. That said, neither should the magnitude of the project put you of. Rather, an idea that withstands the rigors of this process is likely to be one for which there is real demand. Hence, it matters to enter the process with confidence.
To do so and further arm yourself and so move that bit closer to getting to market, rather than end your research here, continue it via the Entrepreneur website guide: Get Your Product to Market in Six Steps. Just remember: these six steps are in addition to taking the seven discussed above; they are by no means offered as a short cut.