Steps On How To Bring A New Idea To Market
Having a great idea is not enough to for anyone to think they can just bring it to market. The process from idea to product is very time demanding, requiring consistency and perseverance. If you think you have these qualities, and or are curious what it takes, keep on reading to find out.
Step 1: The Idea
An idea can just pop up in your head out of the blue from an experience or a problem that’s needing a solution. In other cases, these new ideas have been studied, processed and thought out thoroughly after brainstorming and some design thinking. Whichever way this new idea came about, some of the ones who come up with ideas think it’s a million dollar idea and proceed to develop it without looking to see if the idea already exists or if there is anything similar on the market already. This brings us to the next step.
Step 2: Research
Research is imperative! One would think this is common sense, but no, some inventors approach us with a new idea and after a quick search we find that their product idea is not as unique as they made it out to be. Research everywhere, google keywords with same or similar functions and descriptions of the idea. If you find something similar don’t panic, there might just be a way to work around that and make slight changes or even improve the idea.
Step 3: Target Market
A professional company can help a lot in leading your idea toward the right customers. If your target market isn’t defined yet then it must be defined before completing concept sketches. If you decide to work on this without help then try making a list of the people that would buy your idea, an age group, where they work, if they work, what they do, what they like, the percentage of male/female. This information is vital in helping you define things like the colors, fonts, branding and overall look of the idea.
Step 4: Professional Guidance/ Initial concepts
Here is where finding a professional product design development firm to help can be crucial. Product designers start with the basics of helping you move toward defining the look and feel of your idea. This is a process completed by a defined target market, demographics and expectations, then, experimenting with that information to define the form. Proposals and concepts can be delivered via sketches, doodles, renderings, all by hand or via computer software.
Step 5: CAD/Mechanical Engineering
Once the shape is defined it’s time to input this idea into CAD. Mechanical engineers or industrial designers will 3D model the idea and from there they can generate rendering for color exercises and texture options. Having the idea in a 3D software will allow the creation of technical drawings which can be used to communicate with suppliers about manufacturing.
Step 6: Prototype
This step is one of the most important steps of the product design process. During this step you get to validate the idea and prove that it works. The prototype doesn’t have to be made of the final material yet as this is the phase of proving out function and ergonomics more so than material finishes. Depending on your product shape and mechanics the prototype can be made of materials as simple as cardboard or out of 3D printed polymers.
Step 7: Patent
Not all ideas get patented. It is not mandatory for you to patent your idea in order for it to be successful. But if your plan is to sell or licence your idea to a company, they will be more easily enticed if you have a patent protecting your idea. It is extremely important to do a proper patent search to ensure there is nothing out there that you may be infringing on. Even if you pay for a patent search a patent agent may find something one of your claims is infringing. This is where the patent lawyers play an important role in your success in attaining an issued patent. In order to patent you will need patent drawings, an abstract, a description and the claims. There are many types of patents, the two most common in product design are utility and design patent. If you want to save some money you should file for a provisional patent. Filing for a provisional patent is a faster and more economical way to file your application and get your invention protected because it allows you some time to finalise the design before pulling the trigger on a full patent. Once you have filed you can still call your invention “patent pending”. After filed you have a full year to complete the drawings and perfect the details of your invention.
Step 8: Manufacturing
Defining your supply chain is a complex task. You may be inclined to manufacture abroad or you may want to have the “Locally manufactured” tag. Whichever this may be and how this may benefit your brand will come down to establishing solid relationships with the people that will produce your product. These can range from packaging and label suppliers to plastic molding or aluminum extrusion companies. You have to request quotes, visit them if possible, get to know them, compare their prices and services to others and finally decide. Once you have sourced your supply chain and you are ready to order your parts.
Step 9: Marketing
Assuming you have been successful and managed to build your way up to the marketing of your new idea, this is where thing can get even more complicated. The marketing strategy of your idea can, in some cases, define the success of your idea in the marketplace. There are no cutting corners during this step. The cost to produce your idea and price must be well-defined so that sales channels will be clear and established. Advertisements should be executed based on your target market. If you are selling online, you have an online store/website and approach 3rd party sellers. If you will only sell in stores/retail you will need to find a store willing to carry your product. If you only want to license or sell your idea then you must prepare a complete marketing package, similar to the other approaches in order to showcase your idea to investors. This step maybe the one of the longest steps that you will continue to do for potentially years to come and a step that will evolve with society’s needs and changes.
If you want to increase your chances of bringing a new idea successfully to market make sure you focus on these 9 steps. If there are any of these steps that you cannot handle with experience and competence its imperative you seek professional help. If you are looking for help on any of these steps we can help! We offer free consultations.