“Bringing Your Idea To Life With A Visualisation Or Prototype is VITAL - and can be done cheaply too...”
I get asked a lot: "Shed, I have an idea for a product - how do I get it to market..." and "Shed, do you ever take ideas from other people?".
On rare occasions I have indeed taken an idea from outside and in those cases, I pay a percentage (that's agreed beforehand) of any income that the item generates.
Alternatively, you could launch your idea yourself... We all have ideas for new products and these days, it's easier than ever to bring them to life.
If you want to bring your idea to life...then I would recommend these options going forward:
ADVICE ON HOW TO LAUNCH A PRODUCT IDEA - FROM SHED
THESE ARE OPTIONS AND NOT IN ANY PARTICULAR ORDER:
1) PARTNER WITH A COMPANY IN THE SECTOR YOUR IDEA FITS INTO
Team up with an established (and hopefully forward thinking) company (often an existing wholesaler) in the sector your idea occupies. Go to a Trade Fair so you can seek out an expert company making something similar to your idea - and to find a partner company who you like and trust. After the fair, at least ten days later, when they’re not so busy, call them up - and ask them if they ever license ideas from outside sources like you. If so, arrange a meeting. Take them some designs on paper designed by at least one product designer or graphic designer (perhaps find them at a University near you - or even on amazing sites where you can find people who will do things for a minuscule budget - like https://www.fiverr.com/ - or the ones below) and then show your creations in a professional manner. Even better if you can take a prototype…(see below)…
These places all have tons of designers raring to go, for most budgets: www.peopleperhour.com, www.Gumtree.com, www.Crowdspring.com or www.elance.com
Then, after you show your designs, if any of the companies bite, you can then agree a license deal with them for five percent (upwards) of the wholesale price. That way, the marketing and distribution is down to them - and they already have that set up, which means there’s a good chance you’ll shift a lot of your product, but on the minus side, the royalty is not as much as you’d get as if you made and distributed your idea yourself (but again, this is harder to do of course). If you’re going go the Partner route, I would actually recommend taking at least three different ideas to show any potential partner - the more the better, as you need to increase your chance of the person liking one of your concepts whilst you have them there, and they might already be working on your first idea, not like it for whatever reason, or have rejected it in the past…
Here are some links to some of the main gift Trade Shows…see which of these have the most promising leads for companies that might partner with you - or which ones are closest to you to visit! Then sign up to visit them…
If your idea is another arena other than the gift industry, then a simple search on the net will uncover Trade Fairs in that arena.
2) MAKE THE PRODUCT WITH AN INTERMEDIARY THEN FIND A RETAILER TO STOCK IT
Sourcing companies will find a manufacturer for you. They add a mark-up onto the finished item, which makes it harder for you to get a profit, but it's still often possible and they take a LOT of the headache out of getting something manufactured and shipped over.
These are ones I've dealt with, think are really good, but not ordered though yet:
You can always Google 'sourcing companies' for more…
It's likely they'll ask for quite a bit of cash up front, and it'd help if you had a working model before you approached them because that will massively cut down on development costs.
3) MAKE THE PRODUCT YOURSELF AND FIND A RETAILER TO STOCK IT
Use a site like Alibaba - http://uk.alibaba.com/ to find a company in China and make your idea yourself. Some factories will do small 'first runs’ To avoid any scam companies, stick with the ‘Gold Sellers’ if you can, and always check out a company online when you meet them - check they have a website and also that all the phone numbers work and such. Then you should be fine. After that, you simply need to find a good shipping company on the net, with a competitive price, so you can get the items over to you. Be sure to ask the Shipping Company to give you a complete quote including all hidden and extra fees like customs charges…
Without being too mercenary (!), I think that reading my books IDEAS MAN or SUCCESS OR YOUR MONEY BACK might help too as they contain loads and loads of practical tips about how to bring your ideas to life and if you get them from Amazon, that allows you to write a review too - which is hugely powerful and appreciated.
My latest one is here: http://bit.ly/successshed
My first book IDEAS MAN is here: http://amzn.to/hmiLwv
4) GET A PROTOTYPE MADE FIRST
Option 1: Find a student who studies product design…
If you can find a Product Design student at a Uni to help you bring something to life, then that's a great and cost effective way to do it. You can either pay them or cut them in on future revenue. I worked with a student at Nottingham Uni and he was brilliant.
Option 2: Work with an established prototype company… (If you contact any, please let them know I recommended them)
I've worked with these guys and they're very talented:
http://www.productsprout.com/ - lovely and talented guys - and they do a split of the cost of development so they're an interesting option if you don't have a massive budget
I've also discovered these people, but have not worked with them…
http://www.bangcreations.co.uk/ - great company…I like them a lot…but not yet worked with them, even though I want to…
John Ewans | Managing Director of John Ewans Design - tel. 01494 473441 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.john-ewans-design.co.uk
email@example.com - www.Passion8.co.uk
5) OTHER ROUTES TO MARKET
Also check out:
www.Kickstarter.com - great for launching without a distribution network
www.Zazzle.com - amazing if you simply need to brand something.
I wish you every success in the world and please share this article if you found it useful...
Please add me on LinkedIn, Twitter and / or Facebook…
I'm thrilled to be named as one of Britain’s Top Entrepreneurs. See below and here:
Elmwood Elliot Wilson, MD, Elmwood
"Shed. I’ve never met a character like him. He pitched up in a shiny satin suit and made us squirm, blush and whaddyaknow, think! His can-do attitude and tenacity is an example to us all, even if our own work is quite far removed from Designer Beavers and Pubix Cubes. He’s also incredibly enthusiastic, getting involved with every stage of the event from planning it to judging the competition. We weren’t quite sure what our clients would make of it all but they were thoroughly entertained and, like Shed’s products, the evening has certainly proved to be a talking point."