|On one hand you know more about this product than you may think you know; but being so "close" to it as its creator, this plan should help you bring it out in the open. On the other hand, being so close can result in the rare form of myopia called "clueless."
This process may even improve the product, might change it, could uncover other applications for it. Also be prepared for the possibility and sobering realization that this process may expose shortcomings -- perhaps suggesting that your valuable time, energy and money best be spent elsewhere. Abandonment is not failure... it is a normal part of the process and usually just good, sound business judgment.
In any case, be very proud of what you've accomplished. It's a LOT more than most people do with an idea. We commend you and urge you to continue. If we had to use one word to describe successful product developers, it would be 'persistent.' Abort? No... redirect your energies, alter course, get a second opinion... and keep moving forward.
Why are we putting you through all this? Simple, we want you to succeed. We want to give you a fighting chance and the ammunition to win. Having a good product certainly helps, but tenacity and know-how are paramount. You supply the former, and we'll work on the latter.
In this "industry" of new product development, it is generally accepted that only 2 percent of all attempts are ultimately big successes. An additional small percentage create positive cash flow or a "good living." That's the down side. In your favor is a resource like this -- helping all involved gain a better understanding of your idea. You will know where you stand and have a good idea of some steps to take.
So, let's get started:
To be [an entrepreneur]... or not to be... that is your first decision. What is an entrepreneur? We define it simply as one who Does It All. IMPORTANT NOTE: this does NOT mean you have to do it all alone. As an entrepreneur you have the responsibility of finding the funding, materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, sales and marketing for your product and organizing all these elements together as a "business." You risk more... you also gain more from a successful venture.
The first question follows, and there is no "right" answer; however, you may want to go through this whole plan before you answer it!
- I want to be an "entrepreneur."
- I want somebody ELSE to do it, and...
- I'd like to be involved a bit because of...
- I want to license it and go on to another project.
- I want an active marketing company to take this on for me.
Building Your Business - Phase One
If you said "I want to be an entrepreneur," start thinking Right Now about treating this as your new company, not just as a The Product. Why? Thinking about this process as building a business will make your product a better Product.
And you will be light years ahead in getting capitalized and actually bringing it to market if you focus on your product development within the framework of a business... yours or the business partner who helps you to success.
- I want to build my own Small Business around this product.
- I want to build my own HUGE BUSINESS starting with this product.
- I'll manage the business by myself.
- I have applicable management experience.
- I'll learn.
- I need HELP!
- I need the following team members:
- I need the Best Help I can get to Build My Business.
- The business will be located in:
- I'll market only this product.
- I have follow-on products that I will be developing.
- I have a whole line of products!
- I'm looking for additional products that will complement my line.
In PREP part three we'll continue this discussion of business building, and you will have a better idea of exactly what you're doing with this Thing when you get there. So, focus...
- I call this product:
- Ack! I don't know WHAT to call it!
- I need a professional namer.
- It's Product Classification is:
- Describe its use:
- It's a totally new concept!
- Improvement on an existing product.
- It's MY invention.
- The original inventor is/was:
- I'm not the inventor, but have written, exclusive rights concerning the marketing and/or sale of this product.
- The following restrictions apply:
- This product has been previously marketed (note details concerning who, where marketed, how, and results of previous efforts.
- Year-round product.
- Seasonal (specify months):
- There is a current need for this product (tell why):
- It has MASS appeal!
- Its limited market is:
- All ages.
- Age 2-5.
- Age 6-12.
- Age 13-18 or high school.
- Age 19-26 or college.
- Age 27-35.
- Age 36-45.
- Age 46-55.
- Age 56-65.
- Age 66 or older.
- Either sex / "unisex"
- Women only.
- Predominantly women.
- Predominantly men.
- Men only.
- This is intended as a gift item.
- This is intended as a premium item or imprinted advertising novelty.
- This is intended as an educational item.
- It's a luxury item (high unit price or rare materials).
- It's for discount stores.
- Occasional use.
- Moderate use.
- Frequent use.
- In constant use.
- I did market research to determine the selling price.
- Price not important.
- The distributor price should be (per unit and per 10/100/1000/etc.):
- The wholesale price should be (per unit and per 10/100/1000/etc.):
- The retail price should be (per unit and per 10/100/1000/etc.):
- I can offer retailers and distributors credit terms of: COD only / 30 days / 60 days / 90 days / other, specified as follows:
- Terms don't apply.
- Product liability insurance is needed in the amount of:
- The insurance premium will be:
- PL insurance has already been purchased.
- I'm reasonably sure there are no competitive products on the market because:
- I've seen or heard about similar products already on the market. Mine's better! because:
- I will (or want to) do the marketing of this product myself.
- I need help in the area of:
- At least ten (10) people (preferrably strangers (but not too strange)) have tried/seen this product.
- They knew exactly what it was (and how it worked!).
- They were crazy about it... LOVED it! (Make sure you precisely record their comments for testimonials on your product).
- They needed an explanation... then they loved it!
- They were generally positive.
- There were a few negative responses (be specific):
- I was able to overcome them at the time.
- I am making changes/adjustments because of this research.
- I would like to find/use an independent testing laboratory.
- It saves time!
- It reduces costs!
- It's convenient!
- It's SO easy to use!
- It's complicated, but I have great instructions that make it seem easy.
- I can guarantee the product for (days? months? years?):
- It's better than the competitive products because:
Protection / Intellectual Property
- I've kept up the entries in my Inventor's Journal.
- Not patentable because (tell why):
- Patent desired, but no way I can afford it.
- Patent search done by:
- Patent applied for through (patent agent / patent attorney / my own diligent efforts):
- Patent Pending (date and file number):
- Patent issued! (date and Patent number):
- Utility Patent.
- Design Patent.
- Process Patent.
- Trademark/servicemark done by:
- Federal trademark applied for ():
- Federal trademark received (®) and dated:
- State trademark applied for ():
- State trademark received (®) and dated:
- © Copyright on product and/or related literature (when established):
- © Copyright registered with the Library of Congress for my (product/packaging/other) and date:
- Maintained as a TRADE SECRET (shhhh...).
"My" Opinion vs. Market Test
- Consumers would be/were attracted to it because:
- Consumers would/do use it because:
- Consumers would/do reorder it because:
- Consumers would/do use it often/repeatedly because:
- I think it will get word-of-mouth referrals
- I think it will prompt valuable testimonials/endorsements.
- I have great testimonials!
This is the end of part one. If you think we've missed something, let us know with "PREP part one" in the subject line; thanks.
You've decided that it's worth doing and you want to go forward with it.
Proceed to Getting Serious.
. . .
PREP 3.0 will be an open-source interactive software product. We welcome any software geniuses to participate in this project. Compensation will come from future sales.