There are people who invent as a fun hobby, and then there are people who pour their whole lives, selves, and ambition into shepherding a product from concept to reality.
Whichever type you may fall into, when it comes to getting your product into the market, you’ve got two choices: license your product to another company, or start your own company to manufacture, market, and distribute your product to the masses.
There are pros and cons to both approaches, of course, but for those who really want to pursue their product’s success full-time, starting a company is often an attractive approach. But how do you start the process? Here’s a list of steps to get you started.
- Realistically evaluate your commitment to your product. If your product is successful, starting a company can offer you the biggest potential for profit. It’s also, of course, a major commitment, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- Spend some time searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to find patents for products that are similar to yours. Depending on whether or not you want to file for a patent immediately, you might consider hiring a patent professional to do your search for you. If you want to do the search yourself, devote some time to learning how best to use the system.
- Conduct your market research. You probably already did some of this as you were developing your product – surveying what other similar products to yours already exist, how much they cost, how successful they are, etc. Now that you’re ready to launch your business, however, you want to dig deeper.
- Draft a business plan. Even if you’ve never considered what goes into a business plan, you don’t need to worry – there’s a wealth of resources, from books to online articles to small business support organizations that can help you get started. Briefly, your plan should include the following:
- An Executive Summary. A quick overview of your company and the product(s) it’s selling. If you’re presenting this plan to potential investors, this should state clearly and concisely what you’re asking them for.
- A Business Description. This will tell your readers a bit about the industry you’re entering as well as markets within the industry. You should also include information about any developments within the industry that might affect your product or business success.
- Market Strategies. This section will detail the findings of your market research.
- Organization and Management. Describe your business’s structure.
- Product Line. Here, you’ll want to describe in detail the product or products that you’re developing and selling.
- Marketing and Sales plan. Give your readers a clear view of how you plan to market and sell your product.
Before you decide to jump in with both feet, think hard about whether you’re ready to commit the time, money, and mental energy to making your business work. If you’re not, maybe you should consider licensing your product. And if you are, then get going on step two!
There are several ways you can start. One of the simplest is by simply interviewing potential customers, which can be as easy as asking a few work colleagues or friends of friends to take five minutes to answer some questions about your product.
You could also set up a focus group, which will give you more in-depth information about how people feel about your product. You’ll want to keep the group fairly small – about 10 people at most. Keep your questions short and simple and consider hiring a professional moderator to keep the discussion moving in a productive direction.
For more specific, detailed market research, you may want to consider reaching out to professionals. Pivot offers market research as part of its business development services, and we can help you get the data you need to help ensure your success.
Depending on who you’re presenting your plan to – a potential partner, individual investors, investment companies – there may be additional sections you want to include as well.
After you’ve got your business plan, you’ll be ready to move on to securing funding, if you need it, perfecting your product design, and finding a manufacturer. We’re ready to help you get your product off the ground however we can – contact us to set up a free consultation!