Starting a line of products isn’t a business venture that’s reserved only for the rich and famous. Sure, they might have the upper hand when it comes to marketing their products as they can lend their name and personal brand to their products. But you can still find a place in the consumers’ hearts – and wallets – for your very own line of products.
To do that, however, you have to navigate the sometimes frustrating and often uncertain business landscape that might eventually lead you to develop a product people will want to buy. To help you get there, here’s a rough guide of the major activities you must undertake.
Come Up with an Idea
What kind of product do you want to create? Do you have a type in mind? Is it fashion, kitchenware, consumer electronics? Do you have an idea that could solve a common problem and you can package it in a product?
These are only some of the questions you’ll need to find answers to before you start getting into creating the product. Much of the early work happens in your mind and the tools you use to troubleshoot and brainstorm. When you think your idea is solid, you can move on to the next step.
Research the Market
Market research is a serious discipline that’s always best left to the professionals. The downside is, however, that this might cost too much for someone who is self-starting a product line. You’ll either have a lot of faith in the product and be ready to back it up with the money, or you’ll research on your own.
If you choose the latter, you’ll have to figure out who your possible customers might be and whether they’d be willing to pay money for what your product has to offer. Talking with friends and family is the common first step, but you’ll want stranger’s opinions, too, and you’ll have to get them without divulging the nature of your product.
Find the Capital and Develop the Product
You might get by with little to no investment when it comes to market research, but for the product development and eventually manufacturing – you’ll need money. That’s why it’s important to have the funding figured out before you start manufacturing. Maybe even before you develop the prototype.
As far as manufacturing goes, you could rely on domestic facilities or import from china if that makes more sense financially. Things such as logistics, cost of manufacturing, and product distribution all come into play in this phase.
Create Sales Channels
Where will you sell the products? Do you have an idea for an online-only business that sells just your product, or do you want it to be carried by retailers?
There are many decisions to be made here. Remember that your end goal is to have your product appear in front of consumers who will be willing to buy it. That’s the only way you can turn a profit, and that’s your end goal.
Market the Product
You can rely on retailers to sell your product in their stores, but you shouldn’t expect them to handle marketing for you. This is something you’ll probably have to do on your own, and that’s not a bad thing.
You can do a lot just with social networks to market a product. If you have the money for it, a couple of strategic media buys can help generate interest early on. Do whatever you can to get the ball rolling – it will get easier as people start picking up the message and buying your product.