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Bringing a new product to market – 4 critical things to consider before you go all in

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by Startacus Admin


Planning to launch a new product? Fiona Bennington from Nuli Design shares insights and advice on what to consider, before you do just that

Launching a beloved and nurtured idea into the world can feel like giving birth, a scary, exciting, emotional rollercoaster. All these boiling feelings tied up in the journey can sometimes result in decisions that are less than ideal, leading to dreaded, doomed projects or flop launches.

photo-1600869009498-8d429f88d4f5.Before you remortgage your house, take out a massive business loan, or invest your pension into your new product, perhaps take a moment to zoom out, take stock and give yourself a stronger shot at success by honestly answering the following questions. Fiona Bennington from Nuli Design offers her advice based on over a decade of design, sourcing and product launch experience.

1. Have you validated your product offering?

Don’t wait until you have a warehouse full of stock to find out if customers will buy your product. You don’t even need to wait until you have invested perhaps thousands in expensive prototypes. Some things to try now, even very early days:

  • Build a landing page for the idea or run social media ads based on a rough concept, do they get clicks? Is the idea ‘selling’ now? This is also a great way to find out if your target market and messaging is right, which can be just as important as your design!

  • Can you make a small, low investment batch or early release basic (low cost to you) product to try test selling?  If you were making jam you would start at your farmer’s market before selling to Tesco, wouldn’t you?

  • Send samples, rendered pictures of the concept or even hand drawings to your prospective customers, ask for their honest feedback, ask them to compare your product directly to the competition, would they fork out the RRP for your product over the alternative? (Avoid asking family and friends!)

  • Research the existing demand, try Google Trends, or Amazon tools like Unicorn smasher that can tell you what is hot and what’s not in your category. Get a feeling for what your competition is selling, and at what price.

2. Understand all the hidden costs

pexels-photo-6801683One classic mistake is not considering the real costs of a product, resulting in low or no margins once you start selling. 

Crack open Excel and enter everything, you can start with rough prices, and tighten them up as you learn more:

  • Cost of materials, labour, packaging (outer and inner)

  • Cost of shipping packaging

  • Cost of shipping, Duties, VAT

  • Fulfillment cost 

  • Website running costs, Paypal fees, Amazon fees

  • Advertising and marketing costs

  • Accountancy fees

  • Storage costs

  • Insurance

  • Testing, QC costs

  • Investment (in tooling, for example)

Once this is all built in, what will you sell for? What profit are you making?

Are you selling directly to a customer or are you planning to find a distributor (they will want their own cut too!). 

3. Know your customer

This sounds obvious but it is a really common oversight. 

Can you clearly describe a single typical customer for your product? 

pexels-photo-4050345.If not it’s time to do some research! Figure out who your customers are and what winds them up, these ‘pain points’ are what you want to solve. 

You can try:

  • Talking to Facebook groups relevant to your market

  • Investigating customers of the competition

  • Looking at who influencers in your market are targeting

  • Set up quick survey monkey questionnaires to answer big unknowns about your customers.

Once you can clearly picture in your mind who it is you are serving, everything else will be much easier, using their language for marketing, getting your price point right, knowing where to invest for advertising; you’ll be able to map this all out much more clearly.

4. Seek help and advice

pexels-photo-3153208.jpegIf all of this sounds impossible, or overwhelming,  find someone who is doing it well or with some experience to sit down and work through everything with you. It’s so critical to make sure you won’t pour your hard-earned money down the drain. 

Many of my quick chats with new startups have resulted in a slight change of direction that has saved them a fortune in up front investment because they weren’t aware it is possible to change the design slightly to make a short production test run, reduce tooling costs from tens of thousands of pounds to a manageable price or because they didn’t know to get an early prototype batch for test sales!

About the author

Fiona Bennington, Founder of Nuli Design has over a decade of experience in design, sourcing and product launch. If you would like a free 30min consultation with Fiona, they are available to book on her website.





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Published on: 15th February 2021

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