How to Go From Idea to Solid Product With Very Little Work
The idea of creating a physical product is something that many people will find instantly daunting. Their presumption is that you need to be a big company with a large budget, warehouse, and manufacturing plant in order to create anything that has ‘parts’ or that can be sold in stores.
But in reality? The web has come along and made a massive difference to the way we approach product design and creation. If all you have is an idea… well, then you’re good to go! And you won’t even have to lift a finger.
First, you need to turn your idea into a design. This is an important part of your process. It’s going to impact on the cost of your product, its durability and more.
To create a design, you need a CAD file. Luckily, there are websites where people will bid to make these for you – for as little as $7. Just head over to a site like CAD Crowd or CrowdSpring and you’ll be able to find people willing to turn your idea into the necessary files. And they’ll even give you the BOM (Bill of Materials) and other documentation that you’ll need later.
While we’re trying to get this done as quickly and as cheaply as possible, it is important that you prototype your product. This will allow you to identify any flaws early on and to show your design to people who maybe want to work with you.
To do this, all you need to do is to take your CAD file and send it to a 3D printer – such as Shapeways.
Once you’ve received your prototype and you’re happy with the way it works, you can then go about actually trying to get it mass produced. That means you need to find a factory/manufacturer. To work with them, you just need to send out proposals which will include all the documentation that you got from the design stage. It including things like your BOM and technical files. You also need to make sure that you include a rough order estimate. You can ask for another free prototype at this point.
Unfortunately, you now need to pay a fair amount of money to get lots of items printed off. Fortunately, the web has once again stepped in to save the day thanks to ‘Crowdfunding’. Sites like Kickstarter will allow you to generate funding without giving away any of your business or taking out loans.
If that falls through, loans are still an option but are careful. A good option is to get a loan through PayPal.
Find a Sales Representative
Now you just need to sell your products! One way to do this is to simply find a sales representative, who is someone that will promote your products on your behalf to Big Box stores and the like. Another option is to build an e-commerce store right on your own website. Though depending on the number of orders you expect to receive, you may want to work with a fulfillment company for this part.