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You have an idea for a product: Now what?

by multimill
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So, you want to invent a new product?

Okay, so does everyone.

Oh, you actually have an idea? One that’s feasible? 

In that case, let’s talk about the steps that must be taken when inventing said new product!

You’ve already pushed through a barrier most don’t make it through, and that’s coming up with something that is (theoretically) fresh, needed, and possible to make. 

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Now, you’re at the point where you may be asking: “What’s next?” 

The first thing you need to do is know the product like the back of your hand. Being able to answer the following questions is crucial: What is the product’s most fundamental use? Who needs this? What problem, specifically, does it solve? How does the product work? How do you describe it to others?

Imagine you’re talking to someone completely outside of your industry. How would you make them understand it? 

Master that and you’re on your way to the next step.

After developing — and developing a full understanding — the idea, you have to take it to the streets. Well, not literally, but having a person-on-the-street understanding of who needs the product is key. In other words, determine your target market.

Alas, it’s time for more questions

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Who are your target customers? What generation are they part of that might determine their other buying trends? What do they do for work? Why should they purchase such a product? Furthermore, why should they use it? Are there competing products available? How are those creators appealing to the target market? 

The next step makes the product more real: you must create a model. Digital sketches and wireframes are a good place to start. 

Figure out the design and dimensions, and any other information needed to create a prototype (which can be done after creating a model). 

Have a detailed model that will lend itself to a prototype.

Once you have a prototype, you can move onto the next step: testing. Give it a try yourself, have trusted friends and colleagues give the product a whirl and then ask them for honest feedback. Note-taking will be key in this stage. 

Once you have a prototype that works the way you want it, the hard part sets in: gaining the funds

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This can be done in a variety of ways, such as applying for a business/invention loan, going through crowdfunding, securing a venture capitalist, or finding a company that finances investors. 

Once you hit your financial goal, you can then hire a manufacturer for mass production. This will require extensive research, and it’s helpful to determine: expenses (ask for a full breakdown), quality (not only quality of their other products but also any quality assurance they offer), and location of the facility (domestic versus international will make the difference for not only financial reasons, but possible legal reasons as well).

The most important step throughout the process is perseverance (and patience). Imagining the finish line (and your future bank account) can help maintain a positive attitude throughout a stressful ordeal.

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