So how do you go about getting your design into the market place?
Every single product you see in the marketplace today and every product that is no longer out there anymore started as a thought in someone’s mind and through determination and what I can only imagine is rhino-thick skin their idea succeeded. They made millions, retired to a mansion by the sea where they hold huge family parties for their extended family and friends on a monthly basis and have a dog called Hugo.
So, how do you go about getting your bubbling idea of innovation designed, made into a prototype, certified to meet the myriad of standards you have to comply too, marketed and sold by the bucket load to hoards of eager shoppers? To be honest, I haven’t a clue really, well perhaps the fundamentals, but combining them all seems to me to be a skill that only applies to a certain breed of person.
I had a peek into the murky world of apparent greatness that I dressed the entrepreneurs in to see if I could distinguish what indeed the recipe for design success was, or at least ‘what the dickens do you do?’ Well, in the most basic sense of the words I guess…
Market research seems to be a key component…will anyone want to buy your product? What’s out there and what does the competition look like, are there similar products to yours, who buys them, where are the sold? If you can find out all you can about that little lot, you might be able to make your product just that little bit different, perhaps give you an edge in the market.
Should you patent your idea? This seems to be a stumbling block with many inventors, Trevor Bayliss springs to mind here, who did fall foul of not protecting some aspects of his clockwork radio design correctly and lost a heap of money in the process. What about if your idea has already been thought of and is patented? Bad luck there I think. There may be some methods of quickly ‘patenting’ ideas such as sending a copy of your design through the post to yourself, leaving the envelope or parcel sealed, but I think someone must have read that in a copy of ‘Look-in’ because it won’t work really I think.
So you have done your homework, you have found a marketplace and a slant that will give your product the edge, no one else has thought of it or prototyped it so it’s time to get cracking, build a prototype. Can you build the prototype yourself? Will 3D printing work or will you need the skills of an engineering specialist, these are things you will, of course, have to consider, along with the costs that may occur. Brain starts to melt…
Test it and then test it some more, break it, snap it, get some real people on board to run your design through the mill, if they find issues, back to the drawing board I guess and tweak those problems away. There is only so much you can do here before you spend a lifetime running back and forth I guess, get a decent prototype and get ready to show it off a bit, unless you are marketing yourself?
Pitch it up
Once you are satisfied that your product is as a good at it’s going to get from a prototype perspective it may be time to work on your elevator pitch (I really hate that term…). You have to be able to sell this thing to the people who have the power to make or break its success in the marketplace, fluff that up with inconsistencies and you may as well not bother, but I guess sometimes the product might sell itself.
Now that the ‘Dragons’ have seen you and your product, they’ve seen all your homework about complying with the relevant safety standards so it can actually be sold, return on investment, product development plans and so on, the rest is up to them, unless of course you skipped past the corporate melee and decided to launch the product yourself? That’s another option, of course, perhaps you have the contacts and skills to launch and market your great idea on your lonesome if you have then well done…I for one will still be wondering how on earth you go about getting one of my ideas for sale in the marketplace, time to scratch my head again I think.