We often have young entrepreneurs and startups approach us asking for advice on how to go about launching their products. There’s a lot to think about when you’re launching a product, and a lot of challenges to overcome, so it’s important to focus on the essentials.
The Challenges of Developing and Launching a Physical Product as a Startup
There are a few key challenges that you’ll face when developing and launching your product as a startup, such as:
- Funding– It can be difficult to secure the necessary funding to develop and launch your product. This is especially true if you don’t have a lot of track record or proof of concept.
- Coming up with a good product idea: This is one of the most important steps in launching a product, and it can be difficult to come up with something that’s both innovative and practical. You’ll need to do a lot of research to make sure that your idea is feasible and has the potential for success.
- Developing a prototype: Once you have a product idea, you’ll need to develop a prototype to test out your concept and make sure that it’s feasible. This can be expensive and time-consuming, but it’s important to get it right before you start mass-producing your product.
- Manufacturing – Manufacturing a physical product can be expensive and difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. You’ll need to find a manufacturer that can produce
- Finding distributors and retailers: Once your product is developed, you’ll need to find retailers and distributors who are willing to sell your product. This can be difficult, especially if your product is unique or doesn’t have a lot of competition.
- Creating a marketing strategy: You’ll also need to create a marketing strategy to promote your product. This can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing.
There are a few other challenges that you may face when launching your product, such as shipping and logistics, customer service, and returns.
Despite the challenges, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of success.
How to Launch Your Physical Product as a Startup
Set the right expectations
The development time for a new product will obviously vary depending on the technology involved and the size and scope of your project, but a good rule of thumb is to expect the journey to take at least twice as long as you originally think and to cost at least three times more! This may seem like a daunting prospect, but it is important to set your expectations early on so that you can manage them throughout the project. Trying to cut corners or push ahead too quickly will only lead to problems further down the line.
It is also worth bearing in mind that a successful product launch is not just about having a great product. It is also vitally important to have a clear understanding of your target market, what makes your product unique and how you can reach these potential customers.
Understand the competitive landscape and clearly define your USP
It is also important to have a realistic understanding of the competitive landscape in which your product will be launched. This means having a good understanding of who your competitors are, what they offer and how you can differentiate your product from theirs. This is known as developing a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and it is essential if you want your product to succeed in the market.
There are a number of ways to identify your USP, but it is often helpful to start by looking at your target market and understanding what needs they have that are not being met by your competitors. Once you have identified these unmet needs, you can start to develop a product that meets them. It is also important to be clear about the benefits that your product offers over those of your competitors.
Understand your user and keep them central to your design
It is also essential to keep the needs of your users at the heart of your design process. This means understanding who they are, what their needs are and how you can best meet them. This can be a challenging process, but it is important to remember that your product will only be successful if it solves a real problem for your users.
There are a number of ways to collect user feedback and it is important to use as many of them as possible in order to get the most accurate picture. This may include focus groups, surveys, interviews and user testing.
Once you have a clear understanding of your users, you should keep them central to your design process by involving them in every stage of the development process. This will help to ensure that your product meets their needs and is designed in a way that is easy for them to use.
Challenge assumptions and continuously test!
It is also important to constantly question your assumptions and test your ideas against reality. This means being prepared to change course if you find that your original plans are not working and being willing to experiment with new ideas. This can be a challenging process, but it is essential if you want to create a successful product.
One way of doing this is to set up a development process that allows for regular testing and prototyping. This can help you to quickly identify any problems with your design and make the necessary changes.
Look for funding through established sources
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, it is important to start looking for funding through established sources. This may include venture capitalists, angel investors or government grants. It is also worth bearing in mind that it can take time to secure funding, so it is important to start the process as early as possible.
Don’t be afraid to get professional help!
It is also important to remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself. There are a number of professional service providers who can help you with all aspects of product development, from design and prototyping to manufacturing and marketing.
Innovolo is one such provider and we offer a range of services to help start-ups with their product development. We have a team of experienced engineers and designers who can help you to create a successful product.
Contact us today for more information.