Warm Regards, Randal
I have been developing products for very competitive consumer markets for nearly 15+ years. I have worked closely with both domestic and overseas vendors and constructed full blown vendor supply chains to effectively execute multi-tiered programs. I have learned a couple of tricks along the way that I would like to share with you. I find that much of the skills sets I learn on one project can directly be transferred to another. That said there is a fair amount (30 to 40%) that once you switch industries, it is important that you surround yourself with individuals who are experienced and trained in the details and particulars. I find being modest and taking a student role tends to pay off and give you the best information to make good precise and accurate decisions on a new project. I find when it comes to product development in no matter what industry you are in it is key to get a handle early on and up front on being organized, with clear goals established (even if they may change), and have a ball park understanding of the development and production cost associated with the product you are preparing to launch. I find even in large corporations the fact that know what it cost to produce a product early on, but they do not know what the market will bear. Good market research up front will allow you to make better decisions up front if the ROI is worth the risk.
I like to use the following go no go questions and procedure when reviewing a client’s product idea:
1) Is there a budget? How far will that budget get them in the product development process? Then communicate to the client how far you can take them.
2) Does the inventor of the product idea have a clear understanding and plan on he or she is going brand this product. Have they gone thru the steps necessary to make sure that this product line is not missing out on any other ROI (return on Investment) opportunities?
3) What is the product line of distribution? Who is going to get this product to the market place? Is the inventor going to distribute it thru direct internet sales, or is the product going to be licensed out? Or do you have a buyer for this product that is willing to commit to orders as soon as they see the working prototype? This entire situation can spark different methods of your product being developed?
4) Is your product patented? Does it really need a patent? Overseas patents are a waste of time UN-less your Nike or Microsoft who has teams of lawyers to fight your fight.
5) Does that client understand that your average product to go to production, marketing and such averages 100K to 300K and up.
6) How is this product going to be marketed and where is it going to sit on the shelf? This will determine your packaging plan early and develop a plan to properly communicate to your new customer base.
7) Are there other products out on the market like yours? I have worked on projects with clients who were convinced that no one had anything like their product idea. This is clients with full patent pending status, just to find out that 4 months into the development cycle that someone was already selling an item identical to theirs. It is good money to have patent lawyers in specific industries research your product idea. Patent lawyers often have specific markets and industries that they work in. For instance some patent lawyers work specifically in medical devices and pharmaceutical. You would not want to have a medical device patent lawyer researching your new cleaning device.
This is just a few questions I ask when sitting down with a prospect client. I think it is good practice to ask these questions, before investing your personal resources as well as others on a product idea.
Learn more about the author, Bob Carrasca.