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May 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm
We have been getting a lot of interest lately in our Ultimate Guide to Designing, Prototyping and Mass Manufacturing Your Product Idea. So we thought we’d turn the main points into an easy-to-digest infographic for people who weren’t quite ready to read the 10,000+ words of ultimate guide we put together. If that’s you, check out the infographic below. It will give you a good idea of where to start developing your next product idea, and when you need more info, come back to the Ultimate Guide which covers each of the points in more detail!
The points are also below the infographic in text form if you prefer reading.
So you have an idea for a new product. You think it’s awesome. Your mom thinks it’s pretty good too. But how can you be sure it’s going to be successful? And how do you get your idea out of your head and into reality?
Honestly, it’s no way near as complex as it sounds. With some research, solid planning, and the ability to leverage other people’s expertise as part of the process, you’ll be holding your new product in your hands in no time.
To know if your product will be successful you need to know your ideal customer. You need to know their problems, and your product needs to provide a solution. Ignore this and you’ll end up with a warehouse full of goods you can’t sell. Also research your competitors. Do they have similar products? Why will yours be better? Why should people ignore them and buy from you? Don’t rush this process. You’re also laying the groundwork for future marketing efforts, and you’ll find out how to price your product in this stage too.
It’s basically impossible to stop any product being ripped off in China nowadays… But you can make it harder for the dodgy operators. Make sure you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with any company you employ. Look for reputable manufacturers, and get recommendations for companies that won’t rip you off from people who live and breathe the industry. Now’s also the time to consider whether or not you need a patent (and a patent lawyer) to…
The design process is as simple as this. Talk to a professional to make sure your idea is viable (ie: it’s not going to be ridiculously expensive to produce or mechanically impossible). Sketch your idea on paper. This can take as little as five minutes, and you can draw well enough to do it! Get your sketch turned into a 3D rendering, so you can see what the end product will look like (but digitally). Better to hire a company than a freelancer to do this (preferably one that also does 3D printing, prototyping and manufacturing). You’ll just waste time and money trying to do the renderings yourself.
Would you buy a house without a building inspection? Hopefully not! A new product should be the same. A prototype let’s you find and fix any design flaws before you go into mass production. Finding issues at this stage will save you weeks of work, thousands of dollars and will help you avoid lots of headaches. The most time and cost efficient way to prototype is with 3D printing. You’ll be amazed how many materials you can print in.
Finding a manufacturer who’s not going to rip you off can be tricky. Here you should leverage previous relationships with your 3D rendering and prototyping company. They’ll either do the manufacturing for you, or recommend someone they trust. Maybe surprisingly, manufacturing quality in China and the USA is basically the same. Your choice will depend mainly on your reputation (eg. do you want to market yourself as “made in the USA”?), delivery time and cost.
Your product is ready, and now it needs something to be sold in! Make sure your logo and branding are memorable, and the quality of the packaging matches that of the product. Opening your product should be an experience in itself. If you haven’t already, here’s where you should think about marketing too. How will you get your product out there? Cold calling local vendors? Search engine optimization? Pay-per-click advertising? There’s lots of options, so now’s the time to go back to your research to figure out which advertising method will bring the bulk of your ideal customers to you.
Research is important and not to be underestimated. But it’s easy to get caught in analysis paralysis, researching for weeks, months or years without actually achieving anything. If you want your product to materialize you need to take action, not just here, but at every step of the way. Obstacles will come up. It might be hard. You could get scared, confused or overwhelmed. But don’t give up. If you keep trying, pushing through and learning from mistakes you will succeed, and your awesome product idea will become an equally awesome product reality.
We’ve just scratched the surface with the brief stage descriptions above. For a more in-depth explanation of each of these points (including lots of pro tips), check out the The Ultimate Guide to Designing, Prototyping and Mass Manufacturing Your Product Idea.