Coming up with a product idea can be tricky. Even trickier is knowing if your idea will be successful. When you think of the fact that approximately 80% of new products fail, you want to make sure that your product is one of the 20%! It’s important to do your homework before launching a new product to ensure that you’ll have a profitable venture.
But don’t fret because we’ve got your back! Here are 10 tips to nailing your product idea:
Does it solve a problem?
This is the most important aspect of a new product idea. Does it solve a problem that your target market is facing in their everyday life? Is it solving a pain point that causes them frustration, costing them negative emotion, time or money? If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track!
Does it fulfill an unmet need?
Does the product fulfill an unmet need in the market, otherwise known as a ‘whitespace’? In other words, is there no other product like it that already exists? Does it have a unique selling proposition that differentiates it from other products of its kind?
For example, Sarah Blakely created Spanx because she couldn’t find women’s underwear that didn’t leave undesirable lines. There was no other product out there that could meet this need so she created one herself out of pantyhose... and went on to become a self-made billionaire.
Does it have longevity?
Look for trends to understand if your product is on or off-trend. For example, if you were to come up with an idea for a new camera while camera purchases are on the decline, you might want to question the longevity of your idea. However, if you came up with a new plastic-free product that helps the environment, coinciding with long-term trends of increasing consumer concerns about plastic, then you’d be on the right track. Be careful though. Some trends are actually fads that come and go.
Is it ownable?
Is the product idea easily copied? When creating a product, it’s ideal to own the formula or design. If you’re a small business, you’ll most likely hire a co-manufacturer to produce the product for you. In any case, try to ensure that you own the formula or design and that you are protected by a patent (if applicable). If the manufacturer owns the formula or design, then you risk not being able to change manufacturers, or you risk the manufacturer using the design for other customers.
Is it feasible to develop and produce?
Ideas are fun but costs do play a role! At the end of the day, you need to be profitable. Consider the costs of developing the formulas or designs as well as the costs of the physical product to produce per item. Then consider what the end-user is willing to pay for the product and make sure that there is potential for a healthy margin. Production costs will go down as you grow your business but you still want to see profits on a per unit basis early on.
How scalable is it?
Can you visualize your idea scaling to something even bigger? Is there potential for line extensions or adjacent products? Could you see it being scaled to other markets or customers? Is there an opportunity for repeat purchases, for example, with consumable products? It might be a one-hit-wonder or a really scalable opportunity. If you want to seek investors, they’ll want to see growth potential to ensure that their investment will pay off.
How large is the market?
You might have the best idea in the world but if the market size is tiny, then you’re not going to scale easily. Consider the global market potential for the product. They say that the ‘riches are in the niches’, but you still need enough demand.
Have you tested it with your target market?
Do you have any consumer feedback indicating that consumers need or want the product and are willing to pay for it? If not, don’t skip this step! Try to avoid asking friends and family, and rather ask your true target market. Consumer testing is very important at the idea and concept stage of your product development. You’ll want to look for measures like uniqueness, willing to purchase, and whether they would promote it. If you already have a business, are your existing customers asking for the product? That’s a true sign that you already have a market for it!
Do you have unique skills or expertise?
This one is a bonus but not a requirement. Do you have unique expertise that allows you to create or market this product better than others? For example, there are several members in Mamas & Co. who’ve created products that complement their current service businesses. They know what their customers are asking for and are best suited to offer a product to meet the needs of their customers.
Are you passionate about the idea?
Finally, you must be passionate about your idea. It’s going to take hard work, perseverance and resourcefulness to succeed. If you’re motivated just by profits alone, you won’t get through the tough times. If your business is built on a passion, or better yet, a bigger mission larger than yourself, you’ll be even more committed to your product idea.
Now that you’ve got these 10 tips to nailing your product idea, be sure to check your ideas against them and see how well they perform! Happy ideating!
Nicole de Larzac is a business coach for ‘Productpreneurs’ who helps women create products that sell so they can live a life of freedom (and success!) beyond the 9 to 5.
She does this primarily through a comprehensive program called The Product Launch Lab that provides full support and done-for-you services from idea generation all the way to launch. She also helps women scale their product businesses through her coaching and marketing services.
Nicole has over 20 years of marketing and consulting experience, building new products and brands such as Sprite, Nestea, Delissio Pizza and Weight Watchers. She was responsible for everything from innovation to advertising for these brands.
After her first baby was born, she decided that she wanted to start her own business to give her the time and flexibiNAILINGlity to be with her baby. She started a product business in Australia (where she lived at the time) and grew it to over $2 million in revenue.
She is passionate about helping other moms like her succeed in business so that they too can live a life of freedom and flexibility.
Whether your product is in nutrition, beauty, apparel or other categories, Nicole will help you get the fundamentals in place to start and scale your product business.