Did you ever come up with a great product idea only to instantly give up because you don’t have a factory to produce it? This is the main reason many give up before they even begin. Some lack the initiative to take their idea from a concept to a functional, quality product. Others may have the drive to begin the production cycle for a product, but they lack knowledge of the process.
Today, it’s easier than ever to develop a completely new product, even if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur. An excellent product is not reserved for big players anymore, and you can easily develop your own brand that can compete with the biggest enterprises. There are a few required steps that must be taken in order to successfully get your conceptualized product to market.
Prototype Development and Production is easier than ever
Each design and production process can be divided into four distinct steps. While these steps were not feasible to anyone outside of manufacturing only a few years ago, today, the playfield is much more level.
Step One: Design a Prototype - Innovations in design software have made this process faster, easier and more accessible.
Step Two: Create a Prototype - Thanks to 3D printing technology, many freelances and entrepreneurs can create a working prototype at home.
Step Three: Funding - To pay for the various stages of the design, development and production processes, you will need money. Crowdfunding is a novel and innovative option to get enough funds, and this option has made it easier for everyone to get money.
Step Four: Manufacturing – the final step is to find a manufacturer for your product and start production.
Prototyping is an essential step: Do not skip it
Some might feel as though the prototyping stage of the process just slows them down and wastes valuable resources that could have gone directly towards manufacturing. They may be inclined to skip right from the design to production phase, but this would be a grave error.
Consider that product developers will go through numerous prototype iterations before they are satisfied with their product. The prototypes make it possible to thoroughly review and test the product. Any necessary improvements can be made on the fly to ensure that the finished product is working as intended.
More than that, when you have a functional prototype in hand, you can secure a patent to protect the rights to your idea. You can use the prototype to refine the projected production process, to budget appropriately and test it early, find investors and potential buyers.
A prototype may initially be created using dedicated software programs, but a proper prototype of your product will be the one that you can hold in your hands and test yourself. 3D printing is an efficient method for entrepreneurs to bring their creations into the real world. It enables them to have a functioning prototype without spending a fortune on it.
When is the time to take your Prototype to production?
When you cannot find any additional ways to improve your prototype and when product tests, such as through focus groups, have produced positive feedback and resonate well with your targeted audience, you are ready to begin the production stage.
Financing your Product
Once you are ready for production, you have to ensure you have enough funds for it. Crowdfunding is a common method to get funds, but it might not be the right choice for all situations. Many product developers are willing to wait for enough investors to contribute the required amount of funds, and they may find that this is preferred over taking on a single large investor. However, other product developments prefer or need to get their product to market as soon as possible. In this case, crowdfunding is not usually advantageous as it might take a while to get the money. On the other hand, you might also have some many potential buyers backing you up that you overshoot your target goal tenfold, like what Exploding Kittens did on Kickstarter.
The Production Phase
Once you have funding in place, you are ready to walk through the production and manufacturing process. The process may include these steps:
Exploring Manufacturing Costs: After you locate a manufacturing partner to assist you, you can finalize your production cost estimate. This includes a bill of materials, an understanding of what the manufacturer’s minimum order quantity is, the preparation of a purchase order and the cost of tooling.
Inspecting Production Samples: The manufacturer will first produce several production samples for you to inspect and approve. This ensures that the quality lives up to your expectations.
Choosing Storage Options: Most products are not produced on-demand. Instead, they are mass produced, and they are stored in a secure location until they are sold. Your manufacturer may offer storage solutions, or you may need to locate these solutions on your own.
Packaging and Shipping: Before products can be shipped to consumers, they must be packaged in protective containers, preferably with your brand on it. You also need to plan for logistics so that you can determine the costs of shipping.
Exploring Additional Costs: After you have examined these steps, you should revisit your production budget. Many product developers find that their initial cost estimates are off after they walk through these steps.
Each of these steps serves as an essential purpose and should not be overlooked or rushed through, as you might end up with product failure instead of success. Making a new product from an idea is daunting, but extremely rewarding as well. If you have an idea that you wish to make reality, now is the best time to do it.