We know it has been hard, but your journey doesn’t end here. In a way, it is only the beginning and it is normal to feel ecstatic that your product or app launched. You’ve done a great job, but launching is just the beginning. If you launched your product or app and cannot get the question, “Now What?” out of your head. Then you are in the right place. Read on to find out what your next steps are.
One of the first steps after launching is pre-sales. There are two ways you can go with this. Once you have a manufacturer know what your minimum quantity is, then you’re ready to start making sales. You can take a leap of faith, get a loan, or use your inheritance money to start with the initial orders. Another option is that you can go with crowdfunding which means you rely on others to fund you. Harry’s Razors is a great example of crowdfunding because they got around a million email addresses. They used those people who signed up and had an interest in their products to fund them.
“The first thing you need for pre-sales is to have patience as you don’t know how long it’s gonna take.” – Fred Cary
If it takes longer than you expect that means you don’t have the momentum yet. You should think about how to get more people who are interested in what you offer. Patience, consistency, and determination are key in this process.
Getting a licensing deal is a process. The companies that offer you a patent and a licensing deal without you making any effort are most likely promising something that they are not going to deliver. Your patent doesn’t mean anything because you don’t know if it is manufacturable or what would the cost be to create it. It hasn’t been engineered. You don’t even know if there is a market for it.
“If you want to have a licensing deal or a distribution deal, you have to go through all the hard work.” -Fred Cary
Only when you are already doing pre-sales and getting attention, you will go to a larger company and ask them to distribute your product for you or sign a licensing deal. Don’t forget to use an expert for this step because it’s something you can’t do on your own.
If you are a small entrepreneur, it is all about relationships and contacts. Trade shows are a great opportunity to take a limited budget and meet a lot of people that are very instrumental to the sector you want to be in. You are not a big company that is going to knock on Walmart’s door all by yourself. You need connections and people who can help you grow your network. Trade shows are the place to be because there are distributors and wholesalers there that you can present your product to. There is a strategy to trade shows that maximize this effort. You should have a plan on marketing, networking, and how you are going to follow-up with these leads.
Crowdfunding is just a component to get you started. But if you do it without a plan, the money is not a guarantee for the win. Again, it is something you shouldn’t be doing alone. As 70% of all crowdfunding campaigns fail because putting your product online and waiting for the money to come in won’t do the trick. No one will know you are there. It is a very strategic enterprise that follows specific steps to get the results.
Affiliate sales are a great strategy to get your product out there. Using affiliate networks like ShareASale and offering a percentage to the affiliates who sell your product can be very beneficial to your business. As a small entrepreneur, you don’t have a big salesforce but with the right partners, you will have a community doing the work for you. There are people all over the world that make money by selling other people’s stuff. It doesn’t cost much to get started and it is a wonderful resource.
An influencer is in a sense an affiliate, too. They are more indirect influences because they have a following that looks at what they do, say, wear, and eat. Depending on the size of the influencer, the deals vary from a free lunch to $50,000 for one post. You can work with micro-influencers on a limited budget. There are companies that bring all the small influencers together and you can get a lot of them talking about you.
Let’s take someone with 10,000 followers. This person has a loyal base because with smaller numbers you have a stronger relationship with the audience. If every time they post on social media, they get 1,000 likes and 200 comments that could be more than someone with 100,000 followers has. You don’t have to go after the big ones to get results. These things are not mutually exclusive. There’s nothing wrong with doing all of them. Being an entrepreneur there are a lot of paths you can take. The best way to do it is to look at all of them.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
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