In this day and age, there’s more scope to change your life overnight than ever before. You could be the next Internet sensation, the chart-topping star, or the owner of the ground-breaking concept all the dragons in the den are fighting over.
If you’re an ideas person, you can go far. But how do you get from the drawing board to the display shelves, and how can you increase your chances of making a new business a success?
Ideas that work
We all come up with a stream of ideas on a daily basis. Our minds are active all the time, and whether we’re trying to or not, we may come up with the next big thing. Of course, not all ideas are viable business concepts, and not all of us devote our time to trying to come up with a new product that blows others out of the water.
Some people, however, are blessed with both creativity and practical skills, and inventing appears to be in their blood. There are others who stumble across solutions to problems they’ve had. You often read about parents who have set out to develop products that will make aspects of raising a child easier, for example.
It’s good to come up with ideas if you’re thinking about starting a new business, or a career in entrepreneurship intrigues and excites you. Your mind is your most important weapon, and the key to developing something that will actually work. In order to succeed, you need to focus on an idea that will make a positive difference to the world in some way.
Are you offering people an easier and more convenient way of doing something? Are you providing a solution to everyday problems? Or are you selling a product that’s fun, and will make life more enjoyable? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you’re off to a good start.
The next step
Sometimes, it’s possible to generate ideas without any knowledge of how the product is actually going to work. In other cases, inventors will know exactly how they’re going to develop prototypes, and then the finished article. If you don’t know your roller ball transfer bearings from your mirror screws or hex bolts, it’s best to work with people or companies that have experience in product development, and can oversee the process of building the item, and turning your plans into a saleable product.
Once you’ve got a prototype, you can gain a much better insight into the manufacturing costs and processes. You’ll also have something that you can show people, rather than trying to create a vision using pieces of paper and verbal descriptions.
Developing the manufacturing process, cutting costs, and working on logistics
To have a successful business, you need to be able to respond to demand, get your products made and delivered, and provide them at a reasonable price. There’s a lot of work to do between developing the prototype and getting a business up and running. If you’re taking charge of manufacturing, you’ll need to negotiate deals with suppliers, work on cutting costs on the production line, and strike up relationships with distributors.
To begin with, it’s normal to have a few hiccups, and as you grow, you should find that any issues or errors are ironed out swiftly. If the product is a success, you should also find that you can reduce production costs, as you’ll be able to buy in higher volumes at lower prices. You may also change the way you distribute your product based on where sales come from. If you’re delving into an international market, for example, you may consider working with distributors overseas.
Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/nsalt/2829985075
Getting the word out there
Ultimately, in business, you need people to buy your product to succeed. You can get all the rave reviews in the world, but if the orders don’t come in, you won’t make any money. Once you’ve got a product you want to promote, start trying to get the word out there. Send out prototypes to bloggers and representatives from magazines and the press. Use social media to encourage people to follow your business, and keep up to date with news and developments.
As you get further down the line, and you’ve got the finished product ready and waiting to go, schedule some meetings with buyers from stores and online retailers that could be interested in what you’re selling. Select the stores carefully. There’s no point in approaching a retailer known for luxury clothing if you’re selling a kitchen gadget.
Many buyers like to shop online nowadays, so try and make this possible as soon as you can. Online shopping is quick and convenient, and you can do it anywhere. Make sure you have an outstanding website. If you’re doing business online, think of your website as the shop window. You want to lure people in, and encourage them to buy your products. Not everyone is au fait with online shopping, so make the process as simple as possible.
Provide information about you and your business, answer questions about the product, and add an interactive feature, so that you can communicate with customers. It’s also essential to ensure that you use the latest security measures to protect sensitive data and that you have the necessary processes in place to handle online orders.
Link your website to your social media pages, and use search engine optimization to push your links up the ranking page. You can do use by including keywords, backlinks and search terms in your online content. If you’re not an SEO pro, don’t worry. This is an area of work you can outsource. It may also be worth considering working with freelancers.
Are you keen to make a splash in the world of business? Do you want to be that person who had an idea that changed their life forever? If so, this guide should come in handy. Work on developing ideas that will make a difference, and think about how you’re going to turn sketches into products on the shelves.