If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur with a new product idea first let me congratulate you.
If you have determined to build a business around your idea, you are a proud member of the ‘new economy’ consisting of millions of people who realize that they want more freedom in their lives and who are opting to start their own businesses, bringing their great ideas to the world and play a part in positively impacting our everyday lives.
If you have envisioned something new that you believe will help society, boost productivity, bravo! Even if your product is simply a better mousetrap
However, now comes the tough part; getting your new product developed, manufactured, and successfully bringing it to market. The path will be a challenging one indeed
The new product development process can be long and arduous. There are all kinds of hoops that you have to jump through in the process but if you are truly passionate about your idea there will be no obstacles that you cannot overcome. There are also several steps that you will want to take to make sure that you do not waste time or money on the duds, and conserve your resources for the winning ideas.
First thing to do is to prove your concept. Ask yourself questions like “How big is my potential market?”, “Is there a real need for my new product idea?”. Several ways that you can test whether your idea will work would be to get some virtual images made of your product idea (which typically costs a couple hundred bucks), throw up a simple website with a ‘buy now’ button and spend a few hundred dollars on Google AdWords to drive traffic to your site.
So let us say your product idea is for a line of women’s bathing suits that offer 100% UV protection and also has slimming functions.
1. First you would do a little research on your market. Is anyone else doing the same thing? Are there many brands offering UV protective swim wear (indicating demand) with an opportunity to grab some of their market share by adding the slimming feature?
2. Next you would have some virtual ‘photos’ made of your designs or you could even use existing photos of swim wear that you think would be similar in design to what you have in mind
3. After that, you could put up a simple e-commerce site listing your range of products. This can be done very cheaply by purchasing a ready-made template from marketplaces like themeforest.com. Another way to do it would be to setup a simple online store with a service like Shopify.com. Of course you do not yet have any product made so the ‘Buy Now’ button would open a page letting customers know that you are currently out of stock but will get back to them as soon as goods become available again. Be sure to use your best sales writing for the site.
4. Lastly, you will need to drive traffic to your site. The fastest way to do this is to spend a few hundred dollars on Google Adwords. In the hypothetical business above you would want to target your ads at buyers searching for terms like ‘slimming swim wear’ ‘UV protection swim wear’ and the variables that exist
5. Lastly, you want to give it a month or two and then review the demand you received (the number of times your client’s opted to ‘buy now’).
Following these 5 simple steps will allow you to ‘launch’ your product idea quickly and for under a thousand bucks.
Worst case scenario, your idea is a dud and nobody is interested (wouldn’t you want to know that BEFORE spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on developing and manufacturing your idea??).
Best case scenario, buyers are knocking down your doors to buy what you are offering and you’ve come away with a long list of pre-orders and/or pre-qualified leads (perhaps enough to make it possible for you to easily fund the development), some great quality images of your product which can be used in your marketing materials, and a simple website that you can now build on as you move toward your official launch date.