For entrepreneur David Schmidt of LifeWave, it’s common to receive questions about how to take a basic, simple idea and turn it into a product that is released onto the market. The key is that most people in this process will go through numerous steps and challenges.
Yet, for those just starting out – or those in any stage of the process – it helps to have some insight into what other successful professionals have done to move through the process.
Going from an initial idea to a full-fledged product that’s ready for a global marketplace is something he knows well.
He recently shared exactly what his roadmap to success is in this process, too.
The First Step Has to Be a Stress Test
One of the foundations of the success of moving an idea beyond that stage is putting it through several tests. As he states, ideas are easy to come by, and they really are not valuable.
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Many people create ideas for the best new product or business, and some are good, and most are well-intentioned.
Yet, until those ideas are really analyzed to test their resilience, there’s no real way to see what their value may be. To do that, David Schmidt recommends the use of a stress test.
Determine the Problem the Idea Solves
David Schmidt states that the first part of a stress test is to determine what type of problem the product solves. Even if the product is super cool and interesting, if it does not solve a problem for someone, there are fewer chances of anyone purchasing that item from the inventor.
And the whole point of creating the product is to create a business that is successful based on the product’s sales. Solving problems through the market is the whole function of business today.
He says to look at the idea closely to determine if it will, in some way, improve a person’s quality of life. If the inventor cannot find a problem that it solves, it fails the first step of the stress test.
Determine Who the Competition Is
The next part of the process is to find out just how unique the product or idea is. This is important because it’s necessary for the sale of the product later, but it also will save a lot of time and money now if the inventor finds out that there is competition for it rather than later in the development phase.
He states that any idea holder must determine if the idea already exists on the marketplace as it is. Or it is important to consider if the idea is simply a change to an existing product that does not add much value to it.
It’s also important to find out if the product has existed at some point in the past and perhaps was discontinued before, especially because it was not profitable.
Understanding how unique the product really is in the marketplace is an important step to take in the development process. If it is not unique, he says, it is unlikely this entrepreneur will have success where another has failed.
If there are other versions, he states that it’s critical to examine why the world needs another version.
Protecting Intellectual Property
As the CEO and founder of LifeWave, a company founded in 2004 to help people utilize the natural rejuvenating powers of their bodies, David Schmidt has experience in the development of new products.
He states that, if the product passes the stress test, the next step is to ensure there is ample protection for it. Specifically, it is essential to protect intellectual property properly before moving forward.
Speaking of the process of protecting property, he writes, “I’ve written before about my appreciation of the modern intellectual property protection process. It’s one of the ways that innovators can be assured that their hard work will reap benefits if it’s well deserved.
Without such protections, product concepts would be vulnerable to intellectual theft and other forms of fraud that would make it exceedingly difficult for newcomers to bring novel ideas to market.”
For product investors, the most likely process is to complete a patent. It serves as a type of copyright for investors to protect their inventions from another party taking over the rights to them.
The patent applies to many types of products. That may include physical innovations, new systems, processes, and much more.
What is most important about the patent process is that the concept itself is completely original and that the investor can demonstrate that it would and could exist beyond just an idea. In other words, it must be something that can be developed.
Someone might have a potentially big idea that could prove valuable and profitable enough to have a patent created. Before moving to the patent stage, however, investors should have assessed all aspects of the potential for the product before moving on. This is generally done through a market feasibility study.
Once that is complete and the idea meets certain benchmarks, that’s when investors can file for a patent or another type of intellectual property protection.
When creating a new product, securing a patent is a necessary step before moving on to the next process, he says, because it helps to provide some confidence for the inventor. It also helps ensure that the rights of the investor are protected.
Working Through Prototyping
During the stress test and the patent process, many investors have already developed a prototype, often as an early working version of the product. It helps to bring the concept to life and shows what it can do. At this point, it is no longer an idea.
David Schmidt states, “Prototyping was an integral part of my early work with LifeWave, as the process allows you to tweak your design and improve upon it in a number of ways.
The prototyping process may expose flaws in your concept or opportunities to reimagine the whole idea.”
If those concerns arise, prototyping is the right time to make changes to the product. Doing that before mass production can prove critical.
Once a viable prototype is in hand, it is also time to start pitching investors, he says. It is also important to approach other people who can help to bring the idea or concept to the market and support its production.
When those who can give it traction can see what the prototype is, they are more likely to get involved in it.
Being able to tangibly interact with it is a big part of making the decision to invest or support it.
For many investors, this is key as it can limit or open access to the investment capital necessary to move the product into the market. It typically leads to the product launch.
Business Plan Development
Another note he includes in his process is the need to develop a formal business plan. While having a great product is an important part of this process, it is also essential to have a business plan that outlines how it can be developed, supported, and sold. Without a business plan that demonstrates this, it may be difficult to move forward. “
This is the time to focus on your potential market, production process, sales, and any other factor that can contribute to the success of your undertaking,” he says.
The process of moving through a stress test, protecting the product, prototyping it, and then building a business plan to sell it, allows for flaws to be worked out early while opening the potential for a new product or idea to take hold.