You’ve toiled and tinkered with new ideas and are finally putting pen to paper. New product development is an exciting process, but there are several pitfalls new companies can succumb to. Here are a few tips to make the process a little easier on you.
1. Work with a product designer or engineer to identify the product specifications and make technical sheets for the manufacturer. This will speed up your interactions with the manufacturers and allow for a more seamless translation of your vision.
2. Invest in rapid prototyping: Allowing time for a rapid prototype such as an SLA allows you to feel the form and shape of the product you want to produce. They are extremely helpful in achieving the correct shape and ergonomics of your product. Leave adequate time for a few rounds of rapid prototyping, as you are likely to make a few changes along the way.
3. Always, always, always get a production sample to confirm what your end product will look like. Hand made samples can have large variations from what is coming off the production line, so it is important to avoid any and all surprises. (Note: You may still have to go back and forth with the manufacturer a few times to get things perfect)
4. When you receive your samples you should always put them through rigorous testing to make sure they will perform optimally by the time they get to the consumer. If you’re working with a cosmetic or medical formula and a new package design you must also allow time for the product to go on stability. This ensures that your product formulation (if you have one) works with the materials you can encasing it in and the environment it will reside in. Try to simulate the conditions in which your product will be stored and used to make sure it holds up as well as you envisioned.
5. Product development can be very exciting, but be sure your product can be produced and that it is of acceptable quality before sharing it with the media or potential investors. When working with the product designers and your manufacturers, certain goals might be unachievable and your product might change from your initial vision. So keep your product under wraps until you’ve gotten it right. And if you really need to share it, invest in a high quality comp…sometimes you can’t tell the difference.