The road from an idea to an actual product or app is a long and bumpy one. We talked to Ira Hayes, VP at IdeaPros, about the innovation cycle and the steps you need to take to make this process less chaotic and get from founder to CEO more easily.
1. Invent Something New & Exciting
“The world needs more people solving problems.” – Ira Hayes
If you often think about how you can improve your or someone else’s quality of life, the chances are you are an inventor! Creating something new and bringing it to the world is a fun and creative process that has brought good to the world. Your idea doesn’t have to be gigantic. Simple things can also make a dent in the world. Inventing new ways to make something more efficient or solve a problem. Breaking the status quo is the first step in the innovation cycle. Usually, people come up with inventions because they want to solve their problems. The next step is finding out if you are the only one who needs that solution.
2. Do Your Research
“Keep your target audience in mind.” – Tessa Ashford
To get from founder to CEO and monetize your idea, you have to apply research methodology. If you are solving a problem only for yourself, it means there is no need for your solution. When there is no need then there is no market either. You can start with a simple Google search and see what people are searching for and see what comes up first, etc. Keywords Everywhere is a tool that helps you go into more detail and see the trends: how many people are looking for the keyword, how much are they paying for a similar product, etc.
Look at the macro environment to see the trends in the industry, the year-over-year growth, who are the big players, who you should align yourself with. Macro research helps you build the foundation, and with micro, you build a house on top of it. Tools like Gardner or IBISWorld can help you in your research. Some systems employ people whose sole profession is to generate statistically valid reports. A tool like Jungle Scout can help you see the trends on Amazon, the sales, and the amounts of money people pay for your competitors’ products. On Google, you can look at patents, and uspta.gov lets you check naming and trademarks for free.
“When you are trying to turn your invention into a business, it is important to understand what other businesses did to become successful.” – Ira Hayes
3. Create Multiple Plans to Help You Succeed
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” -Ira Hayes
Have a plan A, B, and C in place. Always be ready to pivot. Planning is the evergreen part of the process. Have a plan that is not only in your head. Get others to understand your vision and join you in making it work. Ask yourself how do you start a project, how do you close it, and always be ready to communicate your plan.
A company called Live Plan can help you create a good business plan. You can work on small amounts of information any time you want. It asks questions and gives suggestions making writing a business plan a pleasure. With Live Plan, you get a one-page version and a pitch deck, which is what the banks want to see. No one wants to see the 50-page business plan anymore, except maybe when you ask for an SBA loan.
4. Product Development is a Journey
Development is fun but long. Sometimes it can become the valley of death, too. Developing things always take more time than expected. The iron triangle of project management consists of time, quality, and money.
“If you want high quality, you only have a certain amount of money and it takes more time.” – Ira Hayes
In this phase, you focus on the logistics, shipping, manufacturing, and how to make your product or app the best you can.
5. Launch Your Product or App
There is a lot of work in physically having your product or app ready for people to consume. The marketing is crucial, and it starts much earlier than the launch. You want your target audience to talk about your product or app before you launch. Work on communicating your message and your brand to your audience and enjoy throwing those launch parties.
Invent. Research. Plan. Develop. Launch. Repeat.
And don’t forget to have fun.
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.