Great ideas can appear in a flash of genius; it’s turning those ideas into a reality that can be challenging. The key to creating a successful first product is strategic planning, built on the foundation of knowledge and research.
By following a carefully constructed, step-by-step approach to creating and then launching your first product, you’ll increase your chances of success. Here are the five essential steps to creating your first product.
Step One: Define Your Product
Before you can move onto creating your product, you must first define it. That means looking beyond your base idea and diving into the details. What purpose does the product serve? What problem does it solve for your customer that will motivate them to purchase it? How does it work?
By taking the time to get to know your product, you’re starting the very important process of turning your idea into a plan. This is the phase during which you’ll create your initial plans, define your target customer demographics, and start to outline the steps from ideation to creation to launch.
Step Two: Research Your Customers
A product has no purpose if there’s no one willing to buy it. Once you’ve identified who your potential customer base will be, you’ll want to find out as much about them as possible. Look at who would potentially purchase your product and what would compel them to do so. What solution to a perceived problem are they currently using that your product would replace? In other words, what competition are you facing?
Researching your potential customers identifies the size of the opportunity. How many people fit the family dynamic, gender, income level, etc. that would be most likely to invest in this product? If your research shows that there are very few people fitting that demographic, it might be time to re-think the product or the market.
Step Three: Prototyping
Prototyping is one of the most important steps in creating a physical product, whether you’re a large-scale manufacturer or an inventor working out of your garage. It’s also more accessible than ever with services by 3Erp. Building a prototype has multiple purposes, including:
- Testing the design with potential customers.
- Testing and assigning costs to the manufacturing process.
- Identifying flaws that should be altered before large-scale production.
- Giving a tangible product to hold during investor meetings.
The prototyping phase is when things start to feel real for most product creators and can be a pivotal moment in the overall product launch process. There may be a few different prototypes that get tested to determine which design will work best overall for the intended purpose.
Step Four: Create a Launch Plan
If all goes well with prototyping, it’s time to plan for the product launch. This means working with manufacturers, retailers, investors, and whoever else may be involved to ensure that when the product goes to market, people are there to buy it.
During this phase, final costs, margins, and pricing may be negotiated and confirmed. A detailed marketing plan should be created to assist with creating brand recognition and hype. As this is your first product, customers won’t have the same level of trust for your brand as they do for competitors who have been around for some time. This can be both a blessing and a curse; you get to start with a clean slate, but you’ll have to work for your piece of the market.
Step Five: Launch, Evaluate, Improve
Once the product is launched, it will feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders– for about five minutes.
The process will vary based on the agreements you have in place and the nature of the product. What remains the same is the need to evaluate and improve. Take note of what went well during the product launch and what needs more work. Additionally, listen to your customers and those in your target demographic who aren’t converting to see what needs to be changed.
Take this time not only as a lesson in what works and doesn’t during the product development and launch phases but also about the product itself. How will version 2.0 be different? How can you improve the value of this product to encourage new and repeat customers?
Rinse and Repeat
It’s important to note that your path from step one to step five may not be linear. You may need to revisit step two and three multiple times before getting to step five, which is fine. The pre-launch steps are designed to ensure that your product is ready for optimal success when you reach step five and show your creation to the world. Use them to your advantage.