Most entrepreneurs are innovators – innovation is just part of their DNA.
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But too many great ideas never translate into bottom line profitability simply because entrepreneurs lack the ability or information necessary to take their product to market.
In fairness, the process for moving a product from the idea phase to store shelves is intimidating and complex, especially if your product concept is highly technical or positioned in an extremely competitive industry. But if your idea is as good as you think it is, it's only a matter of time before someone else introduces it to the marketplace. To succeed in business, you need to become adept at taking product to market – and our step-by-step approach will help you get started.
- Perform market research. Effective product launches begin with market research. A successful market research process reveals how much demand there really is for your product and who is most likely to buy it when it reaches store shelves. More importantly, it will tell you if someone else is already marketing a similar or identical product.
- Begin the patent or trademark process. If market research indicates that your product is truly unique and there is adequate demand for it in the marketplace, the next step is to begin the trademark or patent process. You can do this on your own, but a better approach is to consult a patent attorney.
- Create a functional prototype. If it's possible to produce a functional prototype of the product, do it. If it's not practical, invest in professional-grade drawings or schematics that make it easy for internal and external stakeholders to envision the final product.
- Develop production & marketing plans. One of the biggest setbacks in bringing a product to market is the creation of actionable production and marketing plans. If you plan to manufacture the product in-house, you'll need to adjust your business model or production process. If you're planning to outsource production, now is the time to finalize a production agreement and create a marketing plan to pave the way for a product rollout.
- Establish a launch date. Production and marketing planning should lead to a realistic launch date for the product. The trick is to coordinate production, marketing, sales, patents and many other issues to coincide with a single, non-negotiable product launch date.
- Stay busy. The process to take product to market is long and arduous. Don't be discouraged! Instead, commit to advancing the process every single day, even if the step seems small or inconsequential.