For entrepreneurs, inventors and Kickstarter creators
10 things you should know
about product development.
Many people entering the "innovation business" focus more on the innovation, less on the people for which it's intended. Many also find it more difficult than expected to bring a product into production - creating a prototype is quite different from gearing up for manufacturing. They received financial backing, but now what?
So now that you have a big idea, here are some things to consider:
1. Consider the entire problem you are trying to solve.
What is the process and user experience for this product from start to finish? Your solution may change slightly if you think about it holistically.
2. Ask yourself some questions about the competition and the market.
Scan the market and assess your competitors. How do you measure up? How are you differentiated? Do retailers have room for your product in their assortments? If you are selling onlin, how will you attract consumers to your site? What is your launch and marketing plan?
3. In the process of developing your product, make mock ups along the way.
From “Frankensteins” to 3D printed models, prototypes are a valuable way to learn more about how to improve your product. Test and re-test with users to see that your solution works well for people. What can you improve?
Make refinements to get everything resolved for user functionality and manufacturing.
4. Check costs and quotes with a few different manufacturers.
Be sure to include all costs in the price of the product such as packaging, freight, distribution, etc.
5. During your engineering development, make sure that the design can be manufactured according to the required processes for your chosen material.
Check with your supplier on processes and materials and with your engineering resources to avoid any costly mistakes. Have your supplier make a final prototype. Refine the design and engineering if necessary.
6. If you think the product can be patented with a design or utility patent, check patent opportunities in advance of disclosing your invention to the public.
If needed, consult a patent attorney for advice and filing assistance.
7. Have you considered sales and marketing tools for your product? Packaging is very important to communicate your brand and product attributes at a glance if your product will be sold on a store shelf.
Packaging is also a vehicle to communicate your brand once in the hands of consumers.
In addition, online sales will require a strong features and benefits page with several supporting visuals.
8. Assess overall costs and feasibility.
Include all costs needed to get the product from the manufacturer to the customer – freight, warehousing, out bound shipping, sales commissions, etc. – it all adds up.
9. A quality plan will help set standards and criteria for the factory in making your product correctly.
A quality plan is important to screen for any defective product during and after production.
10. Perform a pilot run.
When the manufacturer is ready to produce your product, first perform a small production run, called a “pilot run," to make sure your product requirements are being consistently met.
Now you are ready. Good luck!
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10 things you should know about product development