When you are a business owner it's exciting when you come up with a product that people will like and that will create value in the marketplace as well as a little coin for your pocket also. Sometimes we get so excited that we forget to ask the customer what they want. In other cases, entrepreneurs are ready to launch but they just don't know what the process is.
A great example of the excitement an entrepreneur gets when we think we have a product/service that people want to buy was recently posted on Entrepreneur.com. The advice in the article is a great first step to a product launch. It talks about identifying your customer and gathering data through various forms of surveys.
For me, I like to take it a step further a really find out what a customer would really do. There are 2 ways that you do this.
The first is for people who have a product that they need to manufacture. In this case it's a good idea to have a prototype made of the product so that you can show it around. Make sure you protect your IP during this process. Once you have gathered information through surveys with some success, the next thing to do from there is to presell the item. People saying they would buy your product and actually buying are two different things. Your idea may be good but is it good enough for me to part with hard earned cash is the real question. For preselling, figure out how long it will take to have the product made and shipped and then let your customers know that the product will be delivered at such and such time in the future.
In the end if the reponse is poor you can decide not to launch the product and refund your customer's money. This set up is OK provided that you don't spend the money! Make sure that you save all proceeds until you know that you will move forward with the product. I will talk about the second way to go out and really test your product in the market in my next post. Until then, do you have a story to share about launching a product? How were you successful? How was it tough?