If you’ve ever wanted to launch a product but you’ve stopped yourself because you don’t know how, this is your episode!

This is a how-to episode where Nicole walks you through the steps of product development – from coming up with an idea to launching.

What you’ll learn in this episode:
  • Steps from idea to launch: Ideation, Plan, Develop, Presell, Produce, Launch
  • How to come up with an idea
  • How to know that your idea is worthwhile
Mentioned on the show:

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View the full transcript

[00:00:02] Welcome to episode five of the Productpreneur podcast. Today, we’re going to do something a little bit different. We’re going to talk about the steps to launching your own product. I know there are many of you out there who’ve thought about launching a product, but just haven’t done so because you don’t know how. So this is your episode.

[00:00:20] But first, a listener review. This is from Louise from the Beaches. “Nicole has a very natural style and I enjoy listening to her podcasts immensely, inspiring and informative and something that keeps you thinking. We’ll be listening to more and maybe thinking about how I launch my product idea. Who hasn’t had an idea like that?” Definitely. I love that so many people have thought about ideas and this is the episode for that. So thank you so much to Louise from the Beaches. I’m so grateful for your review! And if you haven’t commented a review, please do so. Leave a review on iTunes or Apple Podcasts or Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts because doing so helps other people find podcasts like this.

[00:01:06] All right. Let’s get into launching your product. So first, I’d like to ask you, have you ever thought about launching a product? And some may say “no, not really” but I know there are lots of people out there who have thought about launching a product. And so the next question is, why haven’t you? Well, the common answers I hear are “I don’t know where to start. I’m just so overwhelmed with all the steps or I don’t know if my idea is good. I don’t know if it’s worth investing in. And last, I don’t even have an idea.” So we are going to address all of these things today. We’re going to discuss why launch a product, how to come up with an idea and KNOW that it’s good, and then the steps to product development and launching.

[00:02:02] So the first is why a product? I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about a product-based business, but I think you should if you haven’t. You can definitely get recurring revenue from a product-based business.

[00:02:15] And that’s one of the key reasons why people choose these businesses. If it’s either a product that people reorder or if it’s a consumable product, these are things that will build recurring revenue or lastly, if it’s a subscription-based product. And when I say product, a product can also be a physical product, but it can also be an E-learning product or a digital product. And certainly, you can develop products that build recurring revenue.

[00:02:45] The second reason why people choose a product is that you’re not trading time for money and you can easily scale it. So when I think about the many service-based businesses that charge an hourly rate or a daily rate, and so they are trading time, their time for money. And when they’re not working, they’re not earning. But with a product-based business, you could have your product out there and people will be ordering without you actually doing any work at that time.

[00:03:15] And then lastly, if you build enough value in your business, you can eventually sell it. You can listen to Episode 3 of this podcast with Jackie Dinsmore and learn more about that.

[00:03:26] Now, the steps to launching a product. I’ve laid out six steps and I’ve labeled them easily so you can come back to this and listen to it. Now, the first is Ideation. Second is Plan. Third is Develop. Four Pre-sell. Five Produce, and six Launch.

[00:03:49] Now, the first one is ideation. This is coming up with an idea and testing it. So a lot of people think, well, how can I come up with an idea? I have no idea what to launch. Well, I’ll give you three tips to coming up with an idea. The first is how do you solve a problem? How does your product or what is a product idea that can solve a problem? And you have problems that you see on an everyday basis, you just don’t even recognize them. So just a very basic problem that I see in my own family is finding matching socks. So it’s just an idea. But think about a problem like finding matching socks. And how would you come up with an idea to solve that problem? Well, could it be that there’s a clip that holds them together? Is there a bag that holds all your socks together? I don’t know. These are just ideas, but there’s gotta be a way to solve problems like that. And so think about these little problems that you see on day to day basis that either you have or maybe your clients and customers have these problems and you want to solve it for them.

[00:04:57] The second is emerging trends. Look at what trends are out there and how can you capitalize on them. So, for example, just a trend that’s out there is the environment and everyone is looking for ways to help with the environment because it’s such an issue. So what are some ideas around that? Or maybe it’s, you know, nutritional trends that are happening like vegan trends or paleo or fasting? Are so many, you know, nutrition trends out there. So how can you develop a product that’s within an emerging trend?

[00:05:33] And third is your passion. You’ve got to find something that you’re passionate about because you’re going to be putting a lot of time into developing and then marketing this. And you’ve got to be passionate about it because there will be problems. There will be challenges. And it’s your job to face those problems and challenges with passion. What is really helpful is if your product can somehow make the world a better place because you’ll find more purpose in what you’re doing. If you feel purpose around what you’re doing, you’re going to be passionate about it. You’re going to be driven no matter what.

[00:06:13] And then how do you decide which ideas are good ones? So I suggest that you come up with a whole bunch of ideas and then you’re going to shortlist, either shortlist with other people and have a little mini focus group or you can shortlist your ideas based on some criteria that you choose, like how big is the market or how much profit is in this product? And what is the cost to develop? And are you passionate? So there’s like a bunch of criteria you can shortlist and then you could rank your ideas and come up with your top few.

[00:06:53] Next, you’re going to get feedback and this is so important. Do not skip this step! You always want to, before you develop anything and before you put a ton of work into anything, you want to get feedback from your target market. Not just from your friends and family, but your target market, the people who are actually going to buy that product. So I suggest doing this step through having a mini focus group or my favourite is a concept test, which is a bit more quantitative.

[00:08:20] So now you’re going to concept test your product and I’m not gonna get into too much detail with this, but basically this is taking your product idea, having a nice description about it; of all the benefits, where they can find it, the pricing, etc. of key visual of it and testing it versus other concepts with key measures like: are people likely to buy it? What is the value for the money? How unique is the idea? And so on. So there’s a bunch of things you can test. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but if you’d like to get more info on this topic, you can go to my free download that I will put in the show notes where I talk all about concept testing and give you an example of that.

[00:09:06] All right. So now you’ve got feedback from your target market and you have chosen the product that you’re going to launch and the next step is to develop a business plan. So this plan is your roadmap. It includes things like logistics, pricing, financial projections, marketing and all the things that are super important to launching and growing your product business. Now, I wouldn’t skip this step, but I wouldn’t get hung up here either. A lot of people get super hung up with the business plan and they get so bogged down that they don’t actually launch their product. So I don’t want you to get stuck here. A good place to start is called the business model canvas. And you can easily do that. I find it by Google searching the Business Model Canvas. There’s tons of information about that. But what I do like about this is that it puts the business model on one page so you can easily create a one-page business plan. You will eventually need to do a longer plan for, you know, investors and banks and if you want to get a loan with financials but this gives you a starting point. It’s not your stopping point. It’s your starting point. And then I definitely recommend coming up with a very simple profit and loss statement which outlines your costs and your prices and your profit and your volume projections. That’s pretty important to knowing is your product can be profitable and is it going to be viable.

[00:10:35] And then think about all the other legal and important things. I’m just going to mention here, I’m not going to go into depth with them, but it’s important to note. So having a business registered is important with the government. You can have an accountant help you with this. Register your website domain. Once you know the brand name that you’d like to go with, I’d highly recommend registering the website. You’d also want to consult with a trademark lawyer about protecting your brand name. You could do a simple trademark search online, looking in your applicable country and doing a trademark search. But that will not give you all of the search listings. So I’d recommend speaking to a lawyer about that and then thinking about whether or not you need a patent or if it’s a very unique product you might want to search that isn’t already a patent out there and that you’d be infringing on it. But also consult with a patent lawyer about protecting your own design and idea and also think about the safety and labeling requirements in your country. There are certain requirements of safety, especially for food, and so you want to make sure that you will be compliant once you manufacturer.

[00:11:55] Okay. That was a lot of information, I know, but those are things I needed to say. All right. So now you’re going to develop your product and you will need to come up with a prototype or a beta version of your product. Now, what’s a prototype? It’s basically a rough draft of your products. It’s a very simplified version. And if you go back to Episode 3, Jackie Dinsmore talked about how she developed her prototype with just cardboard paper at her kitchen table and then brought it to a sewing school and they developed the prototype from there. So really, you don’t have to be a designer to do this. You just have to have your idea, be able to communicate it to a designer who can actually develop the prototype. And then once you have the final working prototype, you can give it to a manufacturer and see if they can produce it. So if similar, if it’s in an e-learning product or a digital product, you’ll want to have a beta version of that product so you can test it out. And then the next step after this is testing and getting feedback on that product because you want to make sure that before you launch it, you’re happy with that prototype and your consumers are happy with the prototype. And then the other things that you need to do at this step are packaging development and developing all your Website and marketing assets before you launch.

[00:13:26] And so the next step is pre-selling. Now, why do we presale and what is that? Well, pre-selling is basically understanding your demand and getting sort of a waitlist or orders before you even manufacture. And why is this important? Well, it’s great because you can, first of all, get demand for your product before your first manufacturing run. And then second, you could also get funding before you actually manufacture. So ways to do this is you could have a waitlist and it’s on the landing page. For example, I’ve seen this many times for digital courses where you put your name down to be on a waitlist. You actually haven’t paid anything, but you’re just on a waitlist for a course. Or you could do this for a product as well. You put your name down. Basically just putting your hand up saying I’d be interested once it is launched. And the second way to do this is actually getting people to commit to buying it. And that could be through a crowdfunding campaign such as Kickstarter where people actually put their money down and they are up to buy it once it is produced.

[00:16:44] And lastly, if you want to sell through retailers, you can secure purchase orders before you produce so you know how much to produce. Securing a purchase order is very important here. Don’t just take their word for it. I’ve seen it happen before where retailers would promise to list the product. And then we had the manufacturer produce thousands and thousands of units, containers full, only to find out that the retailer decided not to list the product and the owner of the product was out thousands of dollars. So I don’t want that to happen to you. And what I always suggest is to start small, start with smaller retailers and then grow from there because your first manufacturing runs are always kind of like your test market. You always want to improve after you have your first run, your first beta product out there. So it’s best to start small and then grow and eventually get into the larger, more national retailers.

[00:17:46] OK, so the last step here is producing and then launching and this is where you’re going to either manufacture your product or if it’s a service offering, you’re going to build your service offering. And so here you want to approve your first production run and you’re going to also run all the safety testing that is required. And then once you launch, you are going to use all means possible to market your products or offers. I’m not going to get into the marketing of your product or service. I think I’ll say that for another podcast because that’s an entire podcast on its own. But at this point, you have gone through the whole product development process of starting with an idea and going all the way to launch.

[00:18:32] Now, I hope this has been very informative for you and even inspiring so that you can finally launch your big idea. So let’s let 2020 be your year and let’s launch your big thing.