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Posted: 2005-01-14 / Author: Matthew Yubas

The Steps From Product Idea To Product Success

Michelangelo once said that his statue of David was embedded in the block of marble and he merely chipped away the edges to reveal it. Is your product idea inside your mind just waiting to come alive? Or, is your product already formed and you need only to smooth out the edges?

Using my Market-Step process your idea will come to life as we progress in the following steps from idea to launch:
1. Self-Evaluation
2. Concept Evaluation
3. Prototype Evaluation
4. Product and Market Planning
5. Product Development and Marketing Tactics
6. Product Launch, Marketing and Selling

Please use this roadmap as a navigational tool to guide and monitor your progress. (See www.Product-Coach.com > Articles for a graphical flowchart.) Getting Started
* Protect Your Idea
When you have an idea, you need to protect it. The first line of defense is to set the date of conception. Start by documenting your idea in an inventor's notebook, but don't file a patent until you evaluate its marketability.

Market Research and Evaluation
* Self-Evaluation
Start the Market-Step process by evaluating your product idea's marketability. Your product idea is marketable if and when it solves a problem, meets a need or want, overcomes competition, and generates a profit.

* Concept Evaluation
The second step of the Market-Step process is to determine if people like the concept of your product idea. To test your invention, you'll need to uncover which people or companies are your future customers. After identifying potential customers, ask them to evaluate how well your product idea solves a problem, or meets a need or want.

* Prototype Evaluation
The third is detailed evaluation by giving people a prototype to examine. A prototype is a working model that looks, feels, and functions similarly to the finished product. I'll lead you through the process of creating a prototype that resembles what your customer wants. Then, I'll show you how to get detailed feedback by interviewing potential customers.

* Funding Your Idea
Do you need to raise money to develop and market your product? Initially, you'll need money for expenses such as market research, equipment, and prototype development. Raising money is a normal part of doing business when you start, grow, and expand.

* Patent Review
You performed a preliminary patent search earlier. Now it's worth your time and money to perform a detailed patent search and possibly file for a patent.
* Self-Market or License
What do you do with your new product? Your choices are to either self-market or license it. In some cases you can do both or sell the rights. Self-marketing means turning your idea into a marketable product that you intend to sell directly to an end-user, and/or through a distributor or retailer. Under a licensing agreement, a business will produce and sell your product in exchange for royalties.

Path A: Self-Market Development
If you've decided to self-market, follow the remaining steps on Path A. If you've decided to license your idea, see the next section for Path B.
* Product and Market Plan
Plan your work and then work your plan. The fourth step of the Market-Step process involves planning product design and marketing programs. Product design results from combining your innovation with needs and wants you've discovered through research. Market planning involves positioning, pricing, and communications.

* Product and Market Development
In the fifth step you'll develop your product in stages (i.e., alpha, beta, commercial release). You'll use the beta product to obtain feedback to confirm functionality and eliminate bugs before final production.

* Product Launch, Market and Sell
In the sixth step you're ready to move into production and launch your product. This is the most exciting part of your project. You've given birth to your idea and are bringing it out into the world. And as you would with a child, you'll need to nurture and grow your product, with marketing and sales strategies and tactics.

Path B: Licensing
You've determined that licensing is for you. Follow the steps in Path B to license your product idea.

* Licensing Proposal
Before approaching a company or product agent, organize your marketing research into a proposal. Some companies have their own forms to fill out; others ask to submit in your own format.
If you feel comfortable presenting and negotiating, seek companies on your own to license your product. Otherwise, find product agents who will seek companies and negotiate on your behalf.

If the company likes what you have, you'll then negotiate a licensing agreement, then carry out the obligations, and collect royalties.

Going Forward
Now that you have an overview of the steps, my book Product Idea to Product Success, takes you through the details of the Market-Step process, one step at a time.



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