5 Tips For Establishing Your Own Product Line.

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There’s a lot of talk today about how to get a small business off the ground. Within these discussions, however, there’s not quite as much focus on how to establish a product line. Not every business needs to, of course; much of the boom in modern startups appears to be centered online, where content and services often take the place of physical products. For product-oriented businesses though, getting a line off the ground is naturally an essential aspect of getting started. 

To help anyone who might be nearing this stage of the startup process (or even just starting to think about it), we wrote up some tips for establishing a product line. 

1 – Ensure the Idea is Unique

It’s hard to think of a wholly original invention these days. But even something as common as a new shirt can be unique with the right design. In general, ensuring that you’ve come up with something unique is more or less a three-part process. First, identify a gap in the market — whether it’s a tee shirt slogan you’ve never seen or a product that’s never been made before. Next, do your own research to confirm your suspicion that you will indeed be filling a gap. And finally, run it by a sample audience.

Inc. dove into this last point in some detail, suggesting it’s important to “put your audience before yourself” by making sure that others also see the product as something that fulfills a need or provides something new. 

2 – Embrace Tech For Prototypes

In years past, prototyping could be the most difficult aspect of forming a product line. Typically, it calls to mind images of frustrated would-be entrepreneurs creating makeshift products using skills they don’t really have. Now, however, technology provides a lot of simpler means for creating prototypes. Where many products are concerned, this means advanced, agile manufacturing.

Fictiv provides a nice overview of a number of the processes that would fall into this category, including CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, and urethane casting. They’re all different, but they all involve the quick, machine-driven crafting of prototypes based on digital designs. Not <em>all</em> products can be made this way, but for many entrepreneurs, putting together a digital blueprint for a tech-built prototype is more appealing than trying to build said prototype at home.

3 – Innovate While You Produce

If you’re producing your own product line by hand, as many entrepreneurs do early on, this step won’t necessarily be an option. However, if you’re outsourcing production, you can start to devote at least some of your time to come up with what’s next.

In a piece on things to know before launching a product business, Entrepreneur included the tip that you can’t stop at just one product. This is almost universally true, and it means that it’s best to start designing the next product sooner rather than later. You’ll have a lot going on while you produce your first product line, but it would be wise to fit some brainstorming and early design into the mix. 

4 – Figure Out an Interesting Pitch

This may sound like a job for an advertiser, but it actually ties in with our first tip. In making sure that you’re designing something unique, you ought to uncover a way to pitch it — or at least a specific goal for the pitch. You’ll want a quick, concise, and ideally kind of fun (or even a little weird) way to establish that your product is different, and that it fills a need.

In as few words or as little time as possible, you’ll want to make people consider it and make them remember it. Specific tips beyond these idea are difficult to provide without a specific company in mind. But our advice is to saturate yourself in podcast advertisements and social media marketing. These are some of the areas where you’ll find some of the most successful pitches for new, startup product lines these days. 

5 – Start Marketing 

Once you’ve figured out the pitch and production is underway, you’ll need to do the actual marketing. If you’re on a tight budget, this will likely mean updating your website and social platforms to highlight the product, and doing whatever content marketing and social media outreach you’re able to manage. However, in our post ‘5 Things You Should Outsource Today’ we included content marketing on the list.

And it remains true that if you have the budget for it, this will be the time to put some money into having a professional SEO and/or content development team get to work for your product. 

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Like Minds is a global thought leadership platform delivering world class events on business development, knowledge and insight aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage, stimulate and empower them to become global businesses of the future. We also offer a bespoke service for corporate clients and training programmes under the Like Minds U brand. For more information please email bespoke@wearelikeminds.com