Innovating a product, as well as getting through the entire product design process, are both worthy feats for a small business. But now you’ve got a polished idea and a prototype in hand, what should you do next? There are a lot of different directions you can go in here, but let’s go through the best next steps that’ll take your prototype all the way to the market shelves. From your first thought to the final design, having a prototype in hand is a great place to be in!
Get the paperwork sorted
The first thing to do now is ensure you’ve got the legal red tape out of the way. Namely, have you got a patent for your product yet? And if not, when will the patent for your idea come through, if you’ve already submitted for one?
Because once you’ve got clear and legal exclusive rights to your own product, it’ll be much easier to turn a profit. You certainly won’t get online one day and find someone else has stolen your own IP! Get in touch with a lawyer who can help you here, and make sure no similar patents exist that could hinder your own approach to this process.
Build a supplier relationship
To get your product produced on a mass scale, you’re going to need a reliable vendor on side to provide the materials. But building this kind of relationship with a supplier can be both a lengthy and hard process. You need to pick and choose carefully, and even then your efforts might not pay off.
A good relationship with a supplier means you can secure your supply chain, as well as get a good discount on manufacturing costs. It also ensures the supplier has a long term client, so it guarantees success all round. So whether you need plastic enclosures for your product or you’re keen to pack out the office stationary cupboard, start by finding a vendor that works similarly to you.
To keep this stable relationship going, be sure to always pay on time and submit invoices as soon as possible. Be the first person to make contact when there’s a problem, and be honest and straightforward about your needs. You’ll soon find the vendor is keener to deal with you than anyone else!
Build a stable supply and demand
You need to get your product out there as soon as possible, even if you don’t have a supply chain deal in place. You haven’t communicated with any big retailers yet, and you’re not sure about your chances either, but none of this should hold you back. After all, you can design and use your own selling platform, and you can also log onto the Amazon storefront and go from there.
Indeed, putting your product on Amazon is a great way to get a leg up. Keep selling on your own site, by all means, but use this portal to get the word out and build a good review base. Once you’ve got these things in hand, you can then take your needs to the big retailers we’ve already mentioned and have much more leverage to negotiate with. Clearly people like your product, and there’s a demand for it with your sales numbers – how could they say no?
Understand your delivery needs
Finally, you need to know how you’re going to ship and deliver. And while this stage comes late in the process, you shouldn’t leave it until the very last minute. If you do, not only will you ensure you get a bad shipping deal, but you’ll also let your customers down right out of the gate.
So, whether you’re dealing with your own ready-made courier service and delivering locally, or you’re willing to sign up to logistics chains for a worldwide market, start your research right now.
You need to know what distances you can cover, what the costs will be, how much you can charge the customers for it, and what transportation conditions will keep your goods protected. And don’t forget to make sure you know your route; you want to get to the customer as fast as possible, even if it’s just you on a motorbike!
A product prototype goes a long way. But if you want to bring a fully fleshed out product into the market, you’ll need to know where to go next. Keep tips like those above in mind at a time like this; you’re nearing the finish line now!