10 Steps to Launching your Own Product
Have you ever thought about launching your own product? A product in any industry, whether nutrition, apparel, beauty, printable, or otherwise, gives you the ability to create something physical for others to use and allows you to have a bigger impact. If you have an existing business, a product launch can expand your range, give you residual income and help your customers even further.
Like many mompreneurs, you might be second-guessing yourself because you may fear your idea isn’t good enough or has been done before. Or maybe you believe that you lack the management and marketing skills needed to be an entrepreneur and don’t have the time to learn them considering your full plate as a mom. It’s time to stop second-guessing and procrastinating because I’m giving you a comprehensive guide to start your own product business and be your own boss in 10 simple steps:
Do your Research and Brainstorm New Product ideas
Where do you come up with a product idea? Ideas are all around you disguised as pain points or unmet needs. In the beginning, your job is to brainstorm a list of product ideas that solve these unmet needs. Do some market research with your target market and discover their pain points. What product solution would make this person’s life easier? Which market trends or changing consumer behaviours are about to become mainstream? Ideate around themes like this to come up with at least 30 ideas.
Shortlist Your Ideas
Now that you have a list of ideas, you must next shortlist all your ideas to the top 5 to 10. It’s important to not just do this on your own but to also add a few people, preferably from your target market, who might have an opinion. You’ll get a sense of what rises to the top, and it might surprise you; often what we think our target market wants is not what we think.
Concept Test Ideas
At this point, you want to take the top ideas and test them with your target consumer to see if your consumer understands, wants or needs your product. You want to show them a strong visual of the product (e.g. a drawing, mock-up, or picture) and a description so that they can visualize it for themselves. Create a ‘concept’ for 5-10 of your ideas and test them with your target audience, testing for things like purchase interest and uniqueness. For a detailed deep dive into steps 1 to 3, including how to create clear concepts, download my free resource “How to Come up with a Winning Product idea that Sells”.
Your Unique Brand Positioning
Based on the winning concept, you want to define your brand positioning and strategy. This will be the basis of your marketing efforts. Here is a simple guideline to start:
- Decide on your brand name and ensure that it is available for use by doing a trademark search
- Define your positioning: XYZ product helps (insert target) do (insert benefit) so they can (insert action) because (reason to believe)
- Define your unique selling proposition: how is your product unique vs. your competition?
- Who is your ideal target market and how does your product fulfill their needs? Write about your customer avatar as if they are a real person, and get into detail about who they are, their habits, what their challenges are, etc.
Come Up with a Business Plan
You need a clear and comprehensive business plan to make your business idea a reality. Yes, I know what you’re thinking when I say “business plan” but you don’t have to be a business expert to develop your own business plan. You just need to be clear on the roadmap of how you’re going to launch your product and achieve your goals. A simple framework is the Business Model Canvas. I won’t get into the details here, but here are a few key things to think about:
- Logistics: How will you get your product distributed? Who will produce it?
- Pricing: How will you price your product relative to your competitors and to the costs that go into making the product (cost of goods sold)?
- Finance: What do your financial projections look like? Remember not to be overly optimistic with demand forecasts! How will you get the necessary funding? For extra help here, check out my blog post “10 Sources of Funding For Your New Product Business“
- Legal/Technical: Are there any approvals required?
- Marketing Mix: How will you achieve trial and awareness with your target market?
At this stage, it’s important to minimize your risks and test out a live version of your product. You will develop a prototype or limited production model. You also want to have the packaging design and branding complete so that your customers and end-users are looking at a complete package.
Test Market Your Product
Now that you have a prototype, you can test with a small sample group. Speak to small focus groups of your target market, to get feedback on the product and the design. Then you can tweak your prototype based on the feedback you receive before launching your final product.
Present to Customers
If you’re planning on launching into retail or selling to distributors, then you will need to present your final product to potential customers. You’ll want to present insights about your product; for example, what is your unique selling proposition, how does your product fulfill an unmet need in the market, what are the consumer trends that support it, what claims or testing do you have to support it? Also, think about THEIR needs – why it is going to grow their business, how will you promote the product to help their sales, their numbers – margin, selling price, etc.? Be sure to share your story and credibility, your track record with this business and other businesses, and testimonials that you’ve received. This is a really important step as you only get one chance to present. If you’d like help in this area, click here to book a discovery call with me and I’ll be happy to assist!
Note: There is a difference between customers and consumers. A customer sells to the end-user, while the consumer is the end-user. For example, you may be selling to retailers (customers) who will then sell to the end users (consumers).
Prepare for Launch
Now is the moment of truth. You’re happy with the final prototype and you have a plan of action. If selling to retail stores, you will want to secure Purchase Orders so that you can plan for the initial production. Based on your forecasted sales, you will need to forecast an initial production run, as well as ongoing production. Website presence is also a must. Start developing your marketing materials, for example email, social media, in-store, trial, collateral, and displays. Additionally, you might want to get pre-orders from your end-users (Kickstarter campaigns are a great example of this).
Now it’s time to launch! Before producing, you’ll want to approve the first production run. Also, monitor your supply and demand carefully, track your listings and weekly sales versus targets. Ensure that your marketing efforts are working for you by tracking performance, such as engagement and conversion rates. Marketing is not a perfect science and you might need to test out different methods to see what’s working.
Nicole de Larzac is a product development and marketing coach who helps women create products that sell, so they can live a life of freedom (and success!) beyond the 9 to 5. She does this primarily through a comprehensive program called the Product Launch Lab, which provides full support and done-for-you services from idea generation all the way to launch. She also helps women who want to scale their product business through coaching and marketing services.
Nicole has over 20 years of marketing and consulting experience, building new products and brands such as Sprite, Nestea, Delissio Pizza and Weight Watchers. She was responsible for everything from innovation to advertising for these brands. After her first baby was born, she decided that she wanted to start a business to give her the time and flexibility to be with her baby. She started a product business in Australia (where she lived at the time) and grew it to over $2 million in sales. She is passionate about helping other moms like her succeed in business so that they too can live a life of freedom and flexibility. Whether your product is in nutrition, beauty, apparel or other, Nicole will help you get the fundamentals in place to start and scale your product business.
A version of this article previously published at nicoledelarzac.com