Creating your first product is a lengthy process. You need to not only come up with an idea that people want to buy, but you need to find a way to produce the product and get it to your customers.
If this is your first time selling a physical product for your business, you may be unsure of where to start. Below is the process every new business owner follows to get their first product on market.
Generate an Idea
The first important thing you need to do is to come up with an idea. To do this, you should start by looking at the products that already exist within your intended niche. As you’re exploring the existing products, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I combine two products into one?
- How can I modify the design to make it better?
- What additional features can I add?
- What are the current products on the market missing?
Spend some time brainstorming ideas. At this stage you aren’t necessarily worrying about the viability of each product, you simply want to generate ideas. Bring some other people into the process and ask for their feedback and ideas. They may think of something that hadn’t occurred to you.
Research Your Audience
Once you have some ideas for products in mind, the next step is to start exploring which of them your audience might like. This requires that you conduct some research into your audience. There are a number of ways you can do this. Some options include:
- Online surveys
- Analyzing social media trends
- Conducting focus groups
- Reading message boards
If you’re unsure of where to start, try creating a buyer persona. A buyer persona is essentially a fictional representation of your ideal customer. A simple buyer persona may encompass women between the ages of 30 and 60, who are married with children. This can help you narrow down where to start searching for your audience online. You could then use social media tools to find accounts that fit that description, then target those users with your survey link.
As you gain more insight into your audience, you can refine your buyer persona and ultimately decide which of your product ideas are best. You’ll learn what type of products your audience is looking for, what issues they have with the current marketplace of products, and how much they are willing to spend on this type of product. From there you can pick which product you want to build first.
Design a Prototype
After you settle on which product you want to build, the next step is to construct a prototype. A prototype allows you to test out the physical product before it goes on sale, where you can see what works and what needs improvement. You’ll likely have to go through several iterations of your prototype before you end up with one that you love.
To design a prototype, you have two major options. The first is to construct the prototype yourself. This will largely depend on what you want to build and your own technical skills. If you have a background in engineering, for example, you may be able to build your product on your own, provided you have access to the materials and equipment you need.
The other option is to hire someone to produce a prototype for you. There are manufacturers out there who can work closely with you to produce a prototype that is exactly to your specifications. But before you hire someone else to build one, you should investigate all your options.
You’ll want to know things like how much the company charges to produce a prototype, whether they can produce the type of product you want to create, how long it will take them to make your prototype, and what their process is for making future changes to the prototype.
For example, some prototype manufacturers may specialize in producing electronic equipment, while others will have the CNC milling machines necessary to create the outer shell of your product. The best thing you can do is talk with multiple prototype manufacturers, explain what it is you are looking for, then choose the one that best suits your needs.
Find a Production Source
By this stage, you should have a working prototype for your product, along with an audience to sell it to. The next thing you need to do is produce enough of your product to meet demand. In some cases, the company that produced the prototype for you can also manufacturer it en masse. But often, you’ll have to find another company to mass-produce your prototype.
In the beginning, you may not know how much of your product to create. If you can, you should gauge interest in your product before it goes on sale. For example, you can open up your product to pre-sales and start the marketing campaign early. If you’re unable to do this, it’s likely better to start your order small, so that you don’t create more products than you can sell.
Finding a good production source is similar to the one you used for finding a prototype manufacturer. You need to consider the costs, the tools they have available, the time it takes to produce, shipping costs and more. To learn more about finding the best manufacturer for your product, you can check out this guide.
Sell and Distribute
The last step is to sell and distribute your first product. You’ll need to develop a marketing strategy based on the research you did into your audience earlier. You also need to develop a strategy for delivering your product to your customers in a timely manner.
If all goes well, your customer growth will steadily increase and before long you’ll start to develop your second product. You can then use what you learned during this first process to make improvements and increase efficiency.
Starting Your Business Off Right
Your first product sets a precedent for your business. How you handle your first product creation will have a direct impact on your business going forward – that’s why it’s so important that you do it right. Hopefully, this guide was able to provide you with some guidance on how to best produce your first product.
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