Learn how to make your product a success with tips from product design experts.
Many of us have had grand ideas to change the world, or maybe just our lives. But it is often difficult to bring these ideas to life. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to improve your chances and get your idea of the ground.
In this post we are going to outline 7 simple steps to bring your idea or product to life. We will also talk about how to avoid some common mistakes. Keep reading to find out more about market research, validating your idea, coming up with a plan, prioritizing work/life balance, and more.
As always, if you need a little extra help, feel free to send us an email and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your idea with you - no matter what stage of the process you’re in!
Step 1: Come up with your idea and understand the market
It makes sense that the first step to bring your product to life is to actually think of it. If you need help to think of ideas, read our brainstorming blog, then come back to this one.
Many people reading this blog already have an awesome idea. The next step for you is to write it down.
Keep your idea simple, the more clear you can be, the better. Using simple words will help others understand what makes your idea special.
As you write your idea down, think about the purpose of your product. Include how it will benefit your customers and what value it brings to their lives. The easiest way to do this is to use a simple bullet point list. To give you an idea, write down the endings to these statements:
My product is called…
My product helps people by…
My customers will be excited about my product because…
I can imagine my customers using my product when…
Once you have your idea, the most important step is to make sure you do market research. Most people forget about this step and focus on the idea without thinking about how it will be useful for their customers. This is normal, but successful inventors know that the most fruitful products serve a need in the market. As our market research article goes into more detail, we’ll keep this simple. Here is a basic market research strategy:
Understand your potential customers, clients, or users so you can make the best product for them.
Use qualitative research to understand the inner workings of your customers, including their fears and desires.
Use quantitative research to capture insights based on the facts and figures surrounding your market.
Use all the research you have done to create a persona (or ideal customer).
Find out what's already been done. Look for inspiration using websites dedicated to sharing ideas, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Step 2: Think of your goals and develop a business plan
Once you have your idea written down and an understanding of the market, the next step is to plan your goals. It is important to decide whether you are trying to help people, make money, or both.
If you’re trying to make money, then you’ll need to think about how much people are willing to pay for your product, and how many people might buy it.
Assuming you want a profitable business, you should also think about the costs involved in running a company and manufacturing a product. We don’t mean to scare you off, and you don’t need to have figures set in stone, but it is a good idea to have an understanding of these factors before you take on any debt or make big commitments.
We suggest doing some online research and writing down your best guesses to the following factors:
Production costs and factors
Your desired product development and production timeline
Where and how you will distribute the product (i.e brick and mortar stores or online)
The price your target customers might be willing to pay
Any other costs you are aware of (i.e shipping)
Like always, if you’re not sure about the details, Idea to Life is here to help. If you’re ready to get started, contact us today.
Step 3: Validate your idea using people you know
After you’ve come up with an idea and have done some research, it’s time to let other people know about it. No, I’m not talking about marketing or promotion. I’m talking about showing it to your friends and family to ask what they think about your idea.
Even though validating your idea with loved ones can be a great starting point, sometimes inventors need to be careful. Friends and family mean well but can often lead you down the wrong track by either not being critical enough, or by not knowing about your industry. Still seek feedback from others, but don’t rely too heavily on your loved ones' opinions.
It is also a great idea to get advice from other entrepreneurs, and even your potential customers. Plenty of successful business people have their own podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs that you can learn a lot from.
Even if your idea is just for yourself, it’s still a good idea to get some advice or a second opinion. No matter whether this is your first time creating a product or your tenth, a fresh pair of eyes can often notice something you don’t.
Step 4: Develop you idea into a prototype
There’s a lot that goes into creating a product including market research, design, prototyping, and manufacturing. But now that you have a strong idea and business plan, you’ve managed to get pretty far into the development process. The next thing you need is a prototype.
There are many ways you can go about getting your first prototype made. You can even make one yourself! A common technique is to use home-bought materials and make a rough prototype yourself. This can be a great way to get your idea into the real world and understand any pitfalls that the project may run into.
Once you are with your idea and initial prototype, you can start looking for ways to take your product to the next level.
Professional prototypes can be made using Computer-Aided-Design, 3D printing, fabrication, sheet metal, or fiberglass. After the first working prototype is made, it is best to reflect on the idea and continually make it better.
Don’t be scared to start with a rough prototype and continually improve from there. It’s best to get started rather than overthink things and regret never “getting around to it.”
To get your prototype up and running you can rely on companies such as Idea to Life. Our helpful team will walk you through all the steps and make sure things go as smoothly as possible. You can get in touch and our friendly staff will discuss your idea and how best to get your product made.
Step 5: Don’t forget to prioritize your work/life balance
Once you get started on a project, it can be hard to stop. Many of us have had experiences where we just can’t stop thinking about how to improve our ideas. However, it is super important that we do take some time just for us to relax, rest, and recuperate.
The best tip we can give is to block out specific times during the week just for relaxing and doing something you enjoy. As important as your idea or product is, you are just as important.
If you’re feeling guilty about taking time to yourself, you shouldn’t. Even if you’re someone that wants to be the most productive person in the world, you still need to take breaks. It’s important, and will make you more productive in the long run.
Step 6: Improve and optimize
Once you have a prototype and are feeling good, the next step is to improve and optimize your idea to make it the best it can be. This can take some reflection and discussion with your manufacturer. It is common that some improvements are needed to create the perfect product.
Like anything in life, it’s ok for the product not to be perfect in the very beginning. The next step is to speak to your manufacturer and they will collaborate with you to make the best possible product.
If you like the idea of a collaborative and friendly design/manufacturing partner, please feel free to get in touch via our contact form.
Step 7. Get your idea in front of the right people
Once you have a product that you are happy with, then you need to put it out into the world.
7.1. Build a website for your product
If you are thinking about getting your idea off the ground, you should look into building a website. Your website is your product’s store-front and the first place that potential customers will see your idea.
It is best to create a website that is functional and well designed. This means that your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and looks good.
For some, building a website sounds difficult. However, there are platforms that make it easier:
WordPress - the most effective tool for advanced builders
Squarespace - one of the easiest tools
Wix - another easy and intuitive tool
Blogger - used for creating blogs, not the best for product showcases
Shopify - the easiest platform for selling products
It may be a good idea to think about building a website before you start mass production for your product. This will allow you to have it ready for when you need it.
You can also create a landing page on your website that promotes your product. Think about what would make your target audience get excited and buy your product. Next, use social media to promote the page and your product.
5.2. Create a social media presence
Social media is a great way to spread your message and build a following. Similar to your website, once you know you are going ahead with your project, get started with your social media presence as soon as possible.
If you have a small budget, you can use your personality to get people excited about your project. Humans love to learn about other humans so be afraid to talk about your journey and values.
Another important factor to building a social media presence is encouraging community around your product. Just like you need people to buy your product, you need people to share their experiences with your product.
5.3. Consider a Kickstarter for your product
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where you can show-off your product and get funding from the public.
If you want to make a product on your own or with a small team, Kickstarter is a good way to get the funds you need. Of course, it is important to consider a Kickstarter campaign as a way to get your product to the market and not just a way to make money.
Define your goal.
What do you want to achieve with your project? Do you want to raise awareness? Create a product? Or maybe you just want to learn more about something. Whatever your goal is, think about how you will measure success.
Find a mentor.
A mentor is someone who has been through the process before and can help guide you along the way. They might even offer advice on how to improve your project.
Once you're ready to launch, ask people to give you honest feedback on your work. This helps you identify areas that need improvement and gives you ideas for new features.
Build a prototype.
If you're not familiar with prototyping, it's a method of building a model of your product or service using paper, cardboard, plastic, wood, or other materials. Prototypes allow you to test out different designs and see how users interact with your product.
Create a marketing persona based on your target audience.
Once you do some brainstorming and market research, it’s time to create one (or more) marketing personas. As described above, a marketing persona is a representation or profile of a fictional group of people.
For example, a marketing persona for a lollipop company would be children under a certain age who need a sugar hit to keep them going during the day. A marketing persona for coffee would be much the same, only older.