No one said bringing a new product to market is easy. In reality, it could be one of the most difficult things you do in life. But with hard work comes reward and it’s worth pushing through the hard days to get your business up and running.
Launching a new product can require a business owner to put their life savings on the line. And with the new product failure rate thought to be as high as 80-90%, the odds aren’t in their favour. To tip the scales of success, you need to do your research, take advice and enlist some help from experts.
#1 Analyse Your Target Audience
The best products don’t succeed if there isn’t a sufficient target audience (or the market doesn’t know of the product’s availability). Be clear about who is a potential buyer and the need or want it fulfils. Think about how you will promote the product to them so you can prepare your market research and find out the information that will be most valuable. Many good products haven’t sold because the business couldn’t tell their potential buyers about the product.
#2 Conduct Market Research
Don’t let your prejudice of your amazing product idea cloud your judgement. What you think of the product doesn’t count (unless you have a need for 10,000 units)! Market research can be expensive to conduct, so think about the information you want to know now and in the future when you want to market the product.
Use the research to better understand your:
What the market is willing to pay
How to reach your target market ie social media, advertising channels
Do your market research carefully, so you can be confident your product will sell before moving on to step three.
#3 Analyse Results & Refine Your Product
Go through the results of the research and make any necessary changes. The research may tell you a feature the buyer must have, or the price you thought they would be willing to pay is higher than the actual. Making changes to your product now can save thousands of dollars in the future. Once moulds are made, sampling completed, packaging designed, any change down the track can be costly.
#4 Create Your Proof-of-Concept Prototype
Now you’re confident you have everything right with the product, it’s time to produce a proof of concept. You might choose a local manufacturer to do this or decide to have it made where you intend to manufacture all of the products.
Wherever you decide to have the prototype made, be patient. It can be a long process to get the product just right. You might be anxious to get to the manufacturing stage, but cutting corners now can be dangerous. Make sure you’re 100% happy that the prototype is perfect. If not, try again.
#5 Protect Your Intellectual Property (IP)
If your product is new or an improvement on a product that’s already available, you may need to take action to protect the intellectual property (IP). It doesn’t matter where you have the prototype made, locally or overseas, if your idea is a good one, it’s at risk of being stolen. If you’re taking your product into China for manufacture, the risks are even greater.
Registering trademarks is expensive, especially if you need protection in multiple countries. But a trademark could save you losing the competitive edge or having your product idea or prototype stolen. Read up about IP protection in China on the IP Australia government website.
Another way of protecting your product is to have any Chinese suppliers sign a contract. But don’t assume you can take an Australia contract and modify it. The Chinese courts will only recognise Chinese contracts; foreign contracts are thrown out.
Remember, there is little the Australian Government can do if your business is involved in a commercial dispute in China so take all possible precautions.
#6 Find a Manufacturer
Another important part of protecting your IP is to find the right overseas manufacturer. If you have a reputable factory handling your order, you can have some peace of mind that they won’t risk the relationship by stealing IP or delivering unsatisfactory quality. If you don’t have a referral to a trusted manufacturer, consider using an agent like Vara Allied. We have spent years building a relationship with a range of Chinese manufacturers and fabricators that can be trusted to deliver a quality product on time.
#7 Sample & Sample Again
Once the factory is chosen it’s time to replicate the prototype with samples. Again this isn’t a process that can be rushed. The right sample can be the difference between a successful product and a dud one. Only agree to start manufacturing when you have received samples that are perfect and have been thoroughly tested.
#8 Delivery of Your Product
If your product is being manufactured in China and needs to be sent to Australia, you’ll need to arrange shipping. An agent like Vara Allied not only looks after the manufacturing, but also takes on the role of ensuring shipping and customs are handled correctly. There are big variations in freight cost and mistakes made by novice business owners can be expensive in terms of fees and time delays. Take a look at our article on the hidden costs of Cost Insurance Freight (CIF), it might seem like it's saving you time and money, but the hidden costs can be astronomical!
#9 Product Launch
You only get one opportunity to launch your product. Put together a marketing plan and make sure you cover as many channels as possible. Build hype well before the event so you can make a splash on launch day. There are plenty of options available including:
Writing articles for your website’s blog and promote them
Write guest posts for other websites or industry publications
Offer exclusive previews to influencers and experts that can tell your target audience
Send email updates to subscribers and run promos to increase the size of your list
Coincide your launch with a trade show or event
Find an angle for public relations
Traditional and online advertising mediums
Post regularly on your social media channels before and after launch
With the right preparation and hard work, you can take your seed of an idea and grow it into an incredibly successful business story. Finding the right suppliers is part of the success story of many businesses. For more information about how Vara Allied can help, contact us.