The process of transforming a raw idea into a finished product comprises of strong strategies and a number of follow up steps. In order to launch a whole new product into the market, you need to be very cautious and make the right decisions. The whole process is very delicate so you can’t afford to make any mistakes along the way. Therefore, the best course of action to launch your product the right way is to hire the services of a reputable product development firm to facilitate you through out the whole journey to launching your new product into the market. This article includes thorough discussions on all the steps involved in the process of transforming your idea into an actual product.
Step 1: Research: Competition Products, Pricing, special features competitors have, Manufacturers, patents, patent search
If you have managed to come up with a new product development idea and you are interested in pursuing it to an end product, the first and foremost thing you need to do is to carry out a comprehensive research on the prospects of your product in the existing market. In other words, transforming an idea into an actual product takes a lot more than just handing a proposed design over to some product manufacturer and start looking forward to making massive profits. So before you start off, first of all you need to do some research on the current market trends, competition products, proposed pricing, special features offered by competing products, manufacturers, patents, etc. A few useful details in this regard are provided below.
First of all, you need to carry out an analysis on the competition products available in the market. You need to carefully analyze all your competitors and their clientele to figure out if your proposed product carries the potential to grab the attentions of the consumer market or not. It is strongly recommended only to pursue your idea if you truly believe that it can put a dent in the currently on going market trends.
When you have analyzed the competition products available in the market, it is time to figure out the right price for your product. You may come up with the optimum price by considering the price of the products already available in the market along with the features offered by those products. Then you might be able to think about the right asking price for your new launch while keeping all the relevant information under consideration.
Special features offered by competitors:
Before you go public with your own product, it comes in very handy too find out about the value that is offered by your competitors to their consumer market. Every product offers a number of special features that aren’t offered by anyone else in the market. So after identifying your primary competitors, you need to figure out the special features they have been offering to their consumers. This is important as you want to launch a product that is capable of delivering more value than your competitors could ever possibly deliver.
After carrying out a deep and thorough analysis of the competitive products available in the market, it is time for you to find yourself a good manufacturer who may turn your idea into an actual product. It is recommended not to rush into anything and take your time to consider all your options thoroughly. After considering all the available options, you may go with the one that appears to be the best among the others.
Conducting a patent research is critically important for the success of your new product. You need to be absolutely sure about the fact that it isn’t infringing upon some other party’s intellectual property or copyrights. In order to make sure of that you may visit the official website of US Patent and Trademark Office. Go public only when you are absolutely sure that your new product isn’t infringing upon anyone else’s brain child.
Step 2: Quick Concept Capturing: writing down features you want to include, technical specifications, product sketching, concept sketching
The second step involved in the process of launching a whole new product into the market involves concept capturing. You need to figure out the features that you are willing to include in your product and think about its potential technical specifications. Once you are sure about those things, you may start off with product and concept sketching to visualize the feasibility of your ideas. Go through the details provided below to know more.
Potential features of your product
First of all you need to make a list of the features that you are willing to include in your new product. It is important for you to be realistic here as you do not want to go with features that are practically impossible or too hard to actually incorporate into your product.
After listing down the potential features you want to include in your product, you need to come up with the technical specifications for the product. Again, you need to have a realistic approach here. Don’t fantasize anything but make sure that your product offers specifications that are better than those offered by your competitors.
Product sketching and concept sketching:
Concept sketching enables you to get a visual on the actual product before you practically get it manufactured through a product development company. It is a visual sketch that incorporates a design of your choice along with all the technical specifications and features that you want to incorporate in your new product. If you are unable to take care of it on your own, it is recommended to hire the services of an industrial design sketcher so that your concept may be transformed into a visual sketch.
Step 3: advanced engineering: 3D CAD Models, 3d Modeling, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Schematics, Bill of Materials
The third step involved in the process of launching a new product into the market incorporates advanced level engineering. The advanced engineering comprises of 3D modeling and cad models, mechanical and electrical engineering and other schematics that might be deployed into the actual product.
We live in a technologically evolved age so it is always nice to let computers do whatever they can to transform our concepts into virtual models with all the potential traits as well as features. 3d modeling aids us in developing a better understanding of the nature of space or the object that we are working on. So after having developed a 2d concept sketch, it is time to take your visualizations to the next level using 3d modeling. It not only enables you to check out the design and various features of your new product but also allows you to make any changes at the run time in order to get a better, evolved product.
3D CAD models
The 3D CAD models are pretty similar to the results obtained after 3d modeling. Computer Aided Design software applications have been available in the market for a long time now. The modern CAD applications allow you to rotate objects in multiple dimensions so that you might be able to view your new product from every possible angle in order to refine its design and make it even better.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
After visualizing your new product through 3D modeling, it is time to view it from the perspective of mechanical and electrical engineering. The best course of action in this regard is to consult reputable mechanical and electrical engineers to take a look at the mechanical and electrical aspects of the product respectively. Getting such a consultation comes in very handy as these engineers possess the knowledge and experience of minutely looking at things that are hard to spot for ordinary people.
Schematics and bills of materials
After getting all the action from the modeling and engineering sections, it is time to work on the schematics as well as the bills of materials. You may use the services of professionals to get the best possible results in this regard.
Step 4: Prototyping, 3D Printing, Product Prototype, CNC Machines, Printed Circuit Boards, Arduino, Raspberry Pie
The fourth step involved in the process of transforming an idea into an actual product is called prototyping. Prototyping is something that involves lots and lots of learning about new stuff about your product. Every new prototype presents you with an opportunity to learn some new stuff about your product. In this phase, it is strongly recommended not to rely upon a single prototype. You need to develop several prototypes serving different goals of their own. For instance, you may develop a few prototypes with minute changes in the design while some of those may differ from the others on account of functionalities. Other details about prototyping are given below.
Product prototypes and 3D printing:
When it comes to prototypes, it is strongly advisable to make use of the latest technological infrastructures to transform an idea into reality. Paid prototyping or 3d printing is a strong tool in this regard. It is a new technology that makes use of 3 dimensional computer aided designs and transforms them into actual 3d objects. 3d printing is basically an additive process that adds up material to help you get a better understanding on all the potential designs that might be opted for the end product. This way you get to have a much better idea about how the actual product is going to look like after it has been finalized.
Unlike 3D printing, the CNC machines make use of a subtractive process that removes the excessive material in order to come up with any required shape. When developing products using CNC machines, a solid plastic or metal block is used by the machines to carve away a sculpted prototype. CNC machining is a better approach in comparison to 3d printing as it provides you with lots of flexibility regarding the type of material used in the process, thus allowing you to use the material that you are going to use for the production of the actual product.
Printed Circuit Boards
Creating a prototype of your product using printed circuit boards basically comprises of two different steps. These include production of the PCB and then soldering all the required components on to the board. There are different techniques that help you produce PCBs of your own but the choices are very limited. Therefore, the right course of action is to outsource the production of the PCB prototype to a reputable third party.
Development Kit Prototypes: Raspberry Pi, Arduino
Majority of the electronic products out there normally require either a microprocessor or a microcontroller to function properly. So making use of arduino or raspberry pi development kits is a smart choice as they are based upon microcontrollers and microprocessors respectively. Both of these microchips are basically computer based chips that are designed to run different programs. Microcontrollers are low end and cheap while microprocessors provide high end functionalities and are comparatively more expensive. If you are planning on developing a prototype for your end product, it is strongly recommended to make one using raspberry pi or arduino to get an idea about the electronic capabilities of your end product.
Step 5: Patenting, Provisional application, Patent Drawings, Utility Patent, Design Patent, PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty)
The fifth step involved in the process of launching a new product into the market comprises of patenting your idea. Protection your intellectual property before you go public with it is strongly recommended so that no one may be able to plagiarize your idea and sell it as their own. In order to file for a patent, you would require hiring the services of a certified patent attorney or agent to take care of all your patent submissions. Other details regarding the process of patenting are discussed below.
Provisional patent application is an application that states the exact date of presentation of a new invention in search of a patent. It provides you with a 12 month status that says: Patent Pending and you might be able to use this time to file for your utility patent. In the mean while, you may launch your product to the market while paying a fraction of the amount that you were supposed to pay for a full utility patent and without worrying about counterfeit. In addition to this, you get to have an idea about the interest of the potential consumer market, manufacturers and the investors in your product. In other words, a provisional patent application protects your intellectual property while allowing you to hit the market with your product without having a full utility patent in hand.
Patent drawings may be referred to as the drawings that illustrate your invention on paper. These drawings are supposed to include every single aspect of your invention’s construction or creation. Patent drawings are attached with the patent application when you are applying for one. It is strongly advisable to be very careful while working on these drawings. You need to include every little detail and you have to do it just right. Therefore, the best way to have your patent drawings done is to hire the services of a professional company that facilitates its clients with patent drawings.
After filing for a provisional patent application, you are eventually going to get a utility patent for your product. In order to apply for one, you need to hire the services of patent attorneys and patent agents that possess the right kind of qualifications and experience to do the right job. If you are launching your product through a product development company, there is a good chance that filing for a utility patent might already be a part of your deal.
In addition to utility patent, it is also advisable to get a design patent for your product in order to keep others from stealing your designs. Just like a utility patent, you need to have qualified and experienced patent agents and attorneys by your side to file for such a patent.
Patent Corporation Treaty
The patent Cooperation Treaty PCT may be referred to as an international treaty regarding patent law. It came into being in 1970 and has been protecting the intellectual properties and inventions of the filers in all of its contracting countries ever since. If you are planning on going global with your product, it is strongly recommended to protect it through this treaty.
Step 6: Testing / Focus Groups
When you are developing a whole new service or a product, it is hard to figure out if the end users are going to like it or not. You do not get an idea about whether it is going to sell or not. Therefore, the best choice in this regard is to test your product using focus groups to get an idea on how the general public sees it.
All the high end corporations in the world normally hire different research firms for testing their products before hitting the market. These tests are conducted using focus groups that comprise of people from different walks of life. The focus groups test the products and provide honest feedbacks regarding their likes as well as their dislikes about the product. Keeping that feedback under consideration, the corporations then work on making the required changes in the design or the actual implementation of the product. The process of testing a product or a service can be pretty expensive but if you think about it, it helps the developer save big money in the long run. Not only that but it allows them to maximize their profits by focusing upon the features that are liked by majority of the participants.
If you are a first timer at developing and launching your own product, you might not have the resources and funding to hire focus groups on your own. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to hire a product development company to take care of the entire process of your product launch. These companies are so resourceful that they literally transform your idea into an actual product and float it into the market after taking care of every single step involved in the process.
If you decide not to benefit from such an opportunity and would like to be on your own with your product launch, you may carry out a little research of your own as well. In order to do so, you may develop a focus group by following the SOPs defined below.
Choose a participants group:
The first step is to choose a number of participants to make your own focus group. You need to consider the nature of the product that you are working on and then look for people who may be categorized as potential customers for your product. Care should be taken that the participants may not be overly familiar with the product as you are looking to get feedback from the actual consumer market.
Appoint a moderator:
After choosing a focus group, you need to stay away from its process of gathering the required information. Appoint a moderator to take your place and introduce your product to the focus group. He may also be responsible for asking different types of questions and collecting all the data.
When it comes to data collection, the first thing you need to do is to figure out what you actually want to know about your product. Decide if you want to know about the functionality of your product, its price, design or all of these things. Keeping that in view, you need to develop a questionnaire that may be handed out to all the participants. You may also video record all the group sessions to extract useful information later.
Incorporate the obtained feedback
After collecting all the data from the focus group, it is now time to implement it into making your product better. You need to extract the results from the obtained data, discover the patterns and implement the required changes in your product to make it refined and more desirable for the potential market.
Step 7: Manufacturing, NDA, Injection Molding, Quotes, Minimum Order Quantity, and Manufacturing Pricing
After carrying out the testing of the product, it is time to start worrying about the manufacturing process. Of course you need to find a manufacturer but it is more complicated than it looks like. You need to take a number of things under consideration in order to find the right manufacturer. A few details that might come in very handy in this regard are discussed below for your convenience.
After you have managed to finalize everything about your product and it is all set to be manufactured, it is about time you choose a manufacturer to transform your dream into reality. When you are looking for a manufacturer, there are numerous things that you need to keep under consideration. First of all, you need to prefer a manufacturer having prior experience with developing products similar to yours. It is recommended to consider more than one manufacturer and weigh their pros and cons till you find the best option among the others. In addition to this, when you have considered hiring a certain manufacturer, it is strongly advisable to ask some of their previous clients about reviews. You may prepare a questionnaire comprising of things you want to find out about the manufacturers and then pass it along to the previous clients in order to be sure of the fact that the manufacturer is trust worthy.
When you have finalized a manufacturer to have your product developed, it is critically important that you get them to sign a non disclosure agreement so that all your intellectual property might remain safe and sound. NDAs are simple agreements that bind the signing party not to disclose any information regarding something both intentionally or unintentionally.
When it comes to the process of manufacturing, different manufacturers make use of different techniques to manufacture different types of products. Injection molding is known to be one of the most common techniques in this regard. It makes use of pre casted molds in which the molten material is poured and the product casing is produced resultantly.
After you have received the signed NDAs and the references from the manufacturer, it is now time to ship your product samples off to the manufacturer in order for them to come up with a quote for you. There is a good chance that you might be getting quotes from more than one manufacturer in order to make a comparison between their offered prices and services. When it comes to that, you need to be absolutely sure of the fact that you are making comparisons on the right parameters. You do not want to look at the offered price only. Make a comparison between the materials suggested by the manufacturers, their craftsmanship, delivery time, fabric quality, etc. Don’t forget to check if the quotes include secondary charges such as custom fees, duties, shipping, etc. or not. Considering all these things, you need to make an analysis on which quote offers the best value for money and then stick with it.
Minimum order quantity
After finalizing your choice for a manufacturer it is time for you to produce a purchase order and send it to the manufacturing factory. A purchase order may be referred to as a legal document that contains comprehensive information on the type of purchase you want to make from the company. Being detailed and specific is very important. When it comes to minimum order quantity, different factories have different preferences. It is important that you clear things out with your manufacturer before hand in order to avoid any inconveniences later.
Finally, it is time to pay your manufacturer off so that they might get started with the manufacturing process. Different manufacturers have different policies when it comes to getting paid. Normally they ask for a percentage of the total upfront in order to take care of the expenses while the rest of the money is paid after the delivery of the end products. It is strongly recommended to be absolutely sure about the manufacturing pricing details in order to avoid any unexpected surprises later.
Step 8: Business Plan, Financial Plan (Manufacturing Price/ Wholesale / Retail Price)
The second last step involved in the process of launching your product into the market requires you to create comprehensive business and financial plans to execute your whole venture properly. It is critically important to make the right plans in this regard. If you fail in launching your product into the market the optimum way, all your hard work would be next to wasted. So it is strongly recommended to play it smart and do whatever it takes to devise the best strategies at this phase. A few details to help you out in this regard are given below.
In order to successfully launch a product into the market, devising a strong business plan holds critical importance. Therefore you can’t afford to leave any loose ends here. A few tips that might come in handy for creating a strong business plan are listed below for your convenience:
- Develop a business strategy while keeping the consumer market’s perspective under consideration
- Carry out a thorough analysis of the consumer market to identify the points that might be used to your advantage
- Develop a complete understanding of your competition: Identify the weak spots of your competitors to attract the potential buyers
- Attention to detail is very important. Never leave a page unturned
- Focus upon the opportunity at hand
- Make sure to cover all the key areas
- Do the math
- Prepare a strong executive summary
After devising a strong business plan, you need to come up with the right financial plan so that your product may be launched at the right prices. In order to do so, first of all you need to analyze the amount of money you spent in the development of the product. Using that data, you may calculate the per piece price after putting in all the expenses. After you have got the numbers in front of you, check out the market for similar products along with their asking prices. Now categorize your buyers into two major entities: Whole sellers and E-commerce websites and start working on financial plans for both the entities.
Whole sale buyers:
In order to compute the optimum asking price for whole sale buyers, you need to consider the factors discussed below.
Since you are entering a market that is full of competitors selling similar types of products, you need to be careful about the price you offer to the whole sellers. Try developing an understanding of prices offered by your competitors in order to find out how low you may have to go in order to attract the buyers. Keeping all these factors under consideration, you may come up with a price that is just right for your product to hit the whole sale market.
Try to get a hold of the manufacturing costs of your competitors. The whole process might be a bit frustrating but in the end, its all worth it.
Take a look at the overall standing of your brand in order to compute your perceived value. This way, you may be able to figure out if your proposed price is right or not.
Last but not the least, you also need to compute your labor expenses as you are going to be paying them for a long time even after the completion of the manufacturing process.
E commerce websites:
When you are carrying out an analysis on setting up the price for e commerce websites, you need to consider the following factors:
- Mark down and POS
- Free shipping
- Packaging costs
- Loss leaders
Step 9: Marketing Plan: crowdfunding – Kickstarter (limited products, may cancel a campaign at any point, Indiegogo (Open to most products, won’t cancel most campaigns), Angle investors, Online Marketplaces.
A marketing plan may be referred to as a strategy that takes care of all the marketing objectives marked by a company. Marketing plans are normally used for the promotion of entire brand names as well as some specific line of services or products. When you are launching your newly developed product into the market, it is very important for you to devise the right marketing plan so that your product might be able to grab the attentions of the highest possible number of audience. A few details that you might find useful in this regard are provided below.
Crowd funding may be referred to as the process of using small capital amounts from a large number of individuals for financing a whole new business idea. It provides you with easy access to a massive number of individuals by making use of various crowd funding websites as well as the social media platforms. Crowd funding may turn out to be a very useful tool for marketing a newly launched product into the market. As a matter of fact, crowd funding has the potential to be more effective in comparison to any other marketing tool you may use ever.
Crowd funding has been creating different types of opportunities for different types of entrepreneurs for raising millions of dollars from individuals who are interested in investing their money. There are numerous crowd funding websites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. They attract the attentions of hundreds of thousands of people who are interested in chipping their money in for the upcoming big things.
Crowd funding is an open forum that provides the general public with the opportunity to present their ideas and get funding from investors. Over the past few years, several ideas have managed to grasp the attentions of many investors and now they are running their own businesses. A few details on two of the most popular crowd funding websites are given below.
Kickstarter is a crowd funding website that serves creative projects with an opportunity to find investors. Regardless of the type of business you are willing to pursue, kickstarter is going to accept your proposal and put it in front of the investors who may turn your lives around for ever. So if you are looking for a good crowd funding platform to market your product, kickstarter might be a good way to go.
Indiegogo is yet another crowd funding website that might be used for marketing your product. By allowing you to make use of crowd funding campaigns, indiegogo presents you with the opportunity of raising initial funds, extending your reach and then eventually developing your own business.
In addition to crowd funding websites, you may also turn to angel investors when you are looking to market your newly launched product. Angel investors basically invest their capital in entrepreneurs and small startups. So if you are having any troubles with marketing your product, turning to angel investors might be a good choice since they may support your product while carrying your brand into safety.
Online market places
With the evolution of internet and technology, people are now more comfortable with shopping online rather than practically going out to buy stuff. That’s the reason why the online business industry is booming and its sales are through the roof. If you are looking for a good platform to sell your newly launched product, marketing and selling it using online market places must be an essential part of your marketing plan.