Creating a great product gives you an opportunity to break out of the rat race, work for yourself and enjoy the benefits of greater financial stability. Having a good idea, though, is only the first step. Before you can start selling your product, you’ll need to go through a series of steps to refine it and get ready for production. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to go from idea to reality with your new product.
The first step you’ll need to take is to sit down and properly design your product. Perhaps you already have a basic idea of what your product will look like and how it will function. A formal design, though, will help you refine the idea, find potential flaws in your original concept, and add or remove features to optimize the final design. Don’t be afraid to explore multiple possible designs at this stage.
Once you have your idea formalized as a design, you can begin prototyping it. The method of prototyping you use will depend on the materials you need and your budget. Precision mechanical parts will likely need to be outsourced to a machine shop. If your parts are made of plastic, you can create a digital design and have them 3D printed for a fairly low cost. For parts cast from resin or polyurethane, find a good polyurethane casting material supplier and cast the initial drafts of the parts yourself. Once you have the prototypes, test them out in real-world use to see how well your product works. At this stage, you should also try to have prototypes made from multiple materials to see which one works best for your product.
In most cases, testing your early prototypes, and doing UX research, will reveal some flaws in your initial design. With these insights, you can redesign the product, create new prototypes and gradually refine it. It’s not uncommon for a design to go through several iterations before it’s fully ready to be sold to the public. With each small tweak, you can create a better product that your customers will enjoy even more.
When all of the kinks are worked out, you’ll be left with a final design that’s ready to be manufactured. At this point, it’s time to figure out how you’ll manufacture the product. If the product is relatively simple, you might decide to invest in some basic manufacturing equipment and make it in your home at first. For more complex products, it’s better to outsource to a major manufacturer. If you choose to outsource, be sure to get samples from the factory before putting your product into full production.
Once you’ve designed, refined, and lined up manufacturing for your product, you can begin selling it to the public. From here, you’ll need to deal with marketing and product support. Having a great product, though, is the foundation for a successful business. By following these steps, you can ensure that your product is as good as possible when it’s released to the public.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.