You have a great idea for a new product that you are sure everyone will love. You’ve done your research and know this product doesn’t exist, or at least not the way you imagine it. This can be a very exciting time! However, there is a reason that most ideas don’t make it to the shelves of a store. There is a lot of time and energy that goes into getting a new product made. Here are just a few of the steps necessary when looking to produce an item for sale.
First, start with low-fidelity sketches and designs. Fail fast and often in the beginning. Try out different models in different contexts. Think about package concepts and materials. Ask friends and family for their honest assessment. They will be more likely to give you constructive feedback in the earlier stages than when you are further into the process. If there are any issues with your design, now is the least costly time to find them.
Once you have a design you are happy with, then produce a high-quality model. This will likely cost you some money so don’t rush into this step too early. Show the model to a research group and record their interactions. Ask questions about what they like and dislike and if they have any suggestions. This is an invaluable step. You never know where a great adaptation will come from. After any last-minute changes, you can begin the patenting process.
Before you go and speak to a manufacturer, you need to have some of the logistics worked out. Will you license another business to secure materials and produce your product, or will you form your own business to do so? Decide if you want manufacturing to take place internationally or in your own country.
Dissect your design down to the smallest detail to estimate the cost. Some designs may require the manufacturer to retool and there is a cost associated with that. There are different shipping costs and taxes depending on where manufacturing and distribution take place. Be sure to do your research and find a manufacturer that fits your expectations.
Once the design is set and you’ve located some reputable manufacturers, it’s time to reach out to them for quotes. However, there are other important factors to consider besides the cost to make your product. Many manufacturers have a minimum order quantity or MOQ. This is especially relevant if you don’t have a lot of experience, or extra capital. Also, ask about exclusivity. You don’t want another business using the tools you supplied to manufacture your product. Finally, have a clear plan for defects and returns.