You’ve decided to enter entrepreneurial waters, but there are so many unanswered questions. Do you feel a bit lost at sea? Luckily, we can help! We asked Fred Cary, CEO of IdeaPros, and the IdeaPros team about everything you need to know to get your product or app to market.
How Long Would it Take to Get an Invention Up and Running?
It depends on the situation, but it could take from 1 to 10 years. If you work hard, it will take you three to five years to get from concept to product or app. At IdeaPros, we usually need around 18 months to get the product or app to market, but there are many nuances to consider before you get to the finish line.
Let’s say you are making sunglasses. You need to know what material you will be using, how many different types of faces there are, who are the other sunglasses companies, and how big the market is. You have to be more than just an inventor because 97% of all the patents in the United States never get made.
“You can’t be just an inventor. You have to be an innovator and an entrepreneur.” – Fred Cary
What are Some of the Challenges and Pitfalls We Need to Avoid When Thinking About International Markets?
Think about the national market first. The United States makes for 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s economy. Once you have a product that penetrates the national market then you can use the capital to bring in experts to help make your brand international.
I Have a Prototype and a Patent, What is the Next Step to Take it to the Market?
First-time entrepreneurs will often rush and get a patent before doing market research and competitive analysis. Without understanding the growth of the market, consumer demand, and your competitors’ 1 and 2-star reviews.
If this is the case, you have patented something you don’t know if people will buy or maybe your idea has the possibility of getting into the market. Check everything before you take another step forward.
In case you are one of those incredible people that have done everything perfectly then you can start dealing with the manufacturers. You need to understand the possibility they have to make your product at a reasonable price with low minimum order quantities. Then figure out your dropshipping and import duties. How will you bring this product into the country? How are you planning to sell it?
“It’s not about having a product, a prototype, or a patent. More importantly, it is about having all the armament that you need around you to create something that your market wants.” – Fred Cary
Should I Manufacture My Product Outside of the U.S.?
Most of the time when it comes to consumer goods, you can’t afford to make it in the U.S. It can be three to four times more expensive than outside the country. Mexico is one option, but it is still not competitive with China or other Asian countries. Maybe if you have food and beauty products or anything with a good margin people would prefer something made in the USA. But, most of the time you will go overseas.
Is There an Opportunity to Cross-Promote with Other IdeaPros Products that are Complementary?
This is a cool thing to do because it lets entrepreneurs with limited budgets bundle their resources and invest more in marketing. Always look at synergistic opportunities to co-brand or to have a strategic relationship with others who are in a similar position as yours. You can also work with influencers who engage with your target audience. Not all of them are super expensive, that is a common misconception.
What are the Processes and Techniques Used for Market Research?
The first thing is to understand there are two main components of marketing: strategic marketing and marketing communications.
Strategic marketing is the dirty part of the work that the consumer doesn’t see where you answer questions like:
- Who are my competitors?
- How big is the marketplace?
- How am I going to penetrate that market?
- How am I better than everybody else?
- How am I going to create an audience that prefers me to the competition and turn them into passionate advocates of my brand?
Marketing communications is the customer-facing part of marketing. Here you take a value and turn it into a perceived value. Apple and Starbucks are good examples of excellent marketing communication. When you buy Apple products and Starbucks Coffee, you are ready to spend more because of the perceived value they created around their products.
“People don’t want just a cup of coffee. They want a place to go.” -Fred Cary
So, the process goes from doing the research, understanding who your audience is, and what they want that the competition doesn’t offer to communicate that value to your buyers in a way that will turn them into loyal customers.
Don’t forget, patience, and resilience make an entrepreneur!
Did we miss a question you had? Submit your question here.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.