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How to take an idea and turn it into tangible merchandise

How to Take an Idea and Turn it Into Tangible Merchandise

From Product Creation to Selling: How to Take an Idea and Turn It Into Tangible Merchandise

If you take a look at every product you’ve ever used or heard about, you’re actually looking at the manifestation of an idea. Once upon a time, it was an idea that spawned its creation from mobile phones to video games to sneakers, even the food we eat and the movies we watch. Some of the biggest and most respected companies today began their business by creating and then selling an idea that later became a product. That little seed of genius that floats around in your head may just be your ticket to fortune, fame and a dream come true. Here’s how:

Creating the product

There are several ways you can create a product. One is to create it from an original idea, another to rehash an idea that’s already there and modify it and still another is to find the market first and then create an idea that will either meet a need or create one.

Design your product

You could keep your product as an idea in your head but it’s best if you put it down on paper. This will help give you a different perspective on how you want it to be. Ask yourself questions: What will your product be? What will be its purpose or value? What will it look like? Will its design compete with what’s already out on the market or will it affect its marketability?

Don’t underestimate design. According to Apple’s Steve Jobs, it’s so much more than just veneer; it’s actually interior decor. That means it is integral to the identity and function of the product itself. For the latest iMac model, for example, Jobs fought not to have a fan installed on the equipment. This resulted to a more intensive engineering design but a far more superior machine in terms of thermal management.

Research the market

Having a product is one thing while having a market to sell it to is another. Determine who will buy your product. Is there a real market for it out there? Will it sell easily or will it have to rely heavily on a lot of promotions and advertising?

If you don’t have a clear idea what your product will be, it will help if you look at the industry you’re interested in and see if there is a need that you can fill.

Selling the product

The very first thing you should consider when selling your product is strategy. There is so much more to selling a product you have created than just pushing it at someone. Look at your product from all angles and determine how it will compete.

Decide on your product sales route

How and where you will sell your product will affect your pricing and even its production and handling. Will you be selling it exclusively online or offline as well? Will you be using an affiliate program or direct retail? If you use an affiliate program, will your pricing cover for the commissions? If you will be selling in bulk, can you give discounts off the original price? Can the selling method sustain your business and help it grow?

Set your pricing

The next concern you should have when selling your product is pricing. Pricing has been the downfall of many would-be entrepreneurs and even more established ones, so if you’re not careful, it could ruin your chances of success.

Make pricing part of your strategy. Determine the cost of production including overhead expenses and then put a reasonable markup on the product. Pricing should cover everything from the creation of the product to its sales. It should also be priced in a way that makes it attractive and yet promote its value at the same time.

Supply and demand

Another consideration is supply and demand. How long you will be selling your product will depend on how long you can continue producing it. Where will the materials be sourced and are there factors that will affect how the product will be produced in the future? Is there real demand for the product or do you have to create it?

If your product has been created as a result of another product or to accessorize and supplement it, do you foresee any modifications that might adversely affect your product sales? If you sell customized leather casings for iPods, for example, you could face some serious production concerns once it changes its size or design in a major way.

Your competitors

When selling your product, you need to keep your eye on your competitors. What they sell, how they sell it, to whom they sell it and for how much will greatly impact your business.

Promoting your product

Now that you have created your product, it’s time to begin promoting your product in order to sell it. What type of advertising do you need for the product and where will you advertise? Decide whether building a website is enough or if you need to tap other more traditional methods of promotion. You will have to review your advertising efforts from time to time to determine if it benefits your business or takes away from it unnecessarily.

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