Anything you sell or produce for sale is considered a product. But how can you make sure your product is a success?
A starting place. First, start with understanding the realm of possibilities: all successful new products are made better, faster, cheaper, or solve a novel problem. Anything that is produced is a product, and that includes all goods and services, so let’s put aside any semantics here and look at what matters the most. If your product is better than the competition, then you should just need to explain that to your potential customers to make a sale. The same is true if you can deliver the solution faster – such as flying versus driving across the country. And who can argue with a cheaper solution? Lastly, there’s the solution to a novel problem, such as how to stay in better contact with your old school friends and co-workers (i.e. Facebook® and LinkedIn®).
The core of productization. The trick, however, can be in finding a way to turn your idea into a product. Any easy way to approach productization is to look to other products to see how the solution your product provides might be better, faster, or cheaper. For example, with the relatively unstable price of oil lately, it might seem amazing that gasoline-powered cars are still being made. Auto manufacturers find ways to keep reminding the public that 1) gas stations are everywhere, electric charging stations are not, 2) most auto technicians are familiar with combustion engines, and so repairs should be faster, and 3) gasoline-powered cars have been in production for a while, and so they cost less. Better, faster cheaper… and when you add a few new features like Bluetooth® stereo and backup cameras, an old idea can be made new enough to keep selling.
That “new” car might also last longer, be fixed faster, and be more fuel efficient than other gasoline-powered cars, but the important thing is to look at how each of the components that make these features possible are actually sub-products. By focusing on how a small thing can create value by solving a specific problem and capturing that solution, you can turn an idea into a product.
Time for an attorney. Once you think you have a novel product, whether it be a fuel-injection system, a Bluetooth stereo, or something else – it’s time to talk to an attorney! An attorney specializing in intellectual property will be able to advise you on the options that might be available for protecting your invention, which might include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. There are ways to protect your invention without having to hire an attorney to prepare and file any paperwork on your behalf, such as trade secret, which is how the Coca-Cola company protects its namesake recipe – by just not telling anyone!
Creating a competitive advantage. Aside from just pointing out the importance of talking to an attorney about protecting your intellectual property, it’s critical to understand that by being able to make a product that nobody else can make, you’ll have a competitive advantage and more sales. Keep this in mind as you turn your idea into a product: its not just a great idea that generates sales, its a great idea that’s well-commercialized that generates sales. And if your product is too good, then your customers might only buy one time and never return. Protect your intellectual property, but also talk to people to discover how your idea can be made into a product that’s better, faster, cheaper, and solves a novel problem… and keeps people coming back to buy more!