How to know if you’re ready to take your product to market
Is your product ready to be taken to market? Is it innovative enough to beat out the other similar products out there? Does it solve an actual problem in the marketplace? Having answers to these questions is essential, but they’re not always easy to get. If you’re getting ready to make the big decision to take your product to market, here are seven critical things you need to ask yourself and your team in order to determine if you’re really ready or not yet.
Underlying business model
It’s critical that you not only understand what makes a business model work but that you have knowledge, expertise, and experience in that area. It’s also important to make sure your partners and team members have those same attributes as well. Do they bring value? Can they help expand and strengthen your network? Those are questions only you can answer, so think long and hard about it before moving forward.
When determining profitability, you should consider not only what it will cost to develop and release your product, but also how much time and resources it will require for day-to-day operations. There is a steep learning curve in all aspects of business. Managing employees, handling customer complaints, and meeting deadlines—these all can take their toll on an entrepreneur’s energy and enthusiasm.
Identify your target audience and define how many people in that group will be impacted by your innovation or serve as potential customers. And keep an eye on competitors—it’s helpful to know who else is trying to develop a similar technology or sell a similar service/product. Also, identify and reach out to potential “connectors” in your industry who can direct you to new contacts and open up new conversations.
Good brand building is synonymous with David verse Goliath. It is only through constantly challenging yourself, setting outrageous goals and not listening to others that you can create a business. A startup company must have an abundance of passion, an optimistic attitude, and willingness to follow their instinct. If you haven’t done all of these things yet, then you are not yet ready for a new venture.
How do you get more customers? Better yet, how do you get loyal customers? The answer is brand. Branding helps establish an identity for a company and increases its visibility in the marketplace. Branding goes beyond logos and company slogans; it is about connecting with clients on an emotional level and making them feel good about doing business with your company.
First, your product needs to be developed. Many products are just an idea, a sketch on a piece of paper, or an element that’s under construction—like a book that isn’t finished yet or web service where only part of it is working. Whether you and your team have developed your product or not, there are several key questions that can help determine whether it’s time to go from prototype to launch: Is my business plan (or script for my app) done?
Marketing distribution channels
There are many ways a new product can be marketed, including online via social media and e-commerce websites; offline by distributing samples of a prototype in retail outlets or getting your product into big box retailers; and word of mouth from trusted sources. A good approach is to focus on just one marketing channel at first. You’ll have better luck with one type of marketing than trying to do several channels at once, which can be hard for startups with limited resources.
Let’s go with the day fellow blacksmith,
Andy Smith, Entrepreneur and Founding CEO at BlackSmith Ventures