So you have a product idea? Maybe even inspired by our last episode!

Sometimes you can get excited and just plough ahead with it. I kind of did that, back in he day, albeit with the limited time I had available.

Before you spend any time or money, here are a few things I suggest doing.

You can read the entire blog post here.

1. Know who your customer is – and find them!

Take 5-10 minutes to really think about the person your product is aimed at and this will really pay off a bit later.

Perhaps you have someone in mind here, perhaps you’re just guessing. Either way, it’s well worth doing.

Remember, your customer is the person buying your product – not necessarily the person who’ll be using it.  

Maybe you know some potential customers personally, or perhaps you can find them in Facebook groups, or other online (or offline) groups.

Now you know who you’re looking for, finding them should be a little easier. Whether you’re looking for cat lovers, or people who regularly meditate, there are bound to be plenty of groups and forums with your ideal customers already there.

2.Ask some questions

A great question to try is:

“If you were buying an X, what would it need to do / be to exceed your expectations?”

Take notes of everything you find out here (whether you agree or not!) It’s really important to create a product that your customers actually want, rather than the product you think they want!

3. Research similar products & figure out what makes your product different

It’s good to know if there’s anything similar on the market right now.

If so, do people buy it, how much for and what do they think about it?  

You can find out all of this by doing a bit of online research.

Next, give these questions some thought:

  • How can I improve on the products already on the market?
  • How can my product meet my customer’s needs?

The aim is to figure out how your product is going to add value.

4. Validate your idea

I always recommend doing as much validation as you can, before you spend any time and money.

THE NEXT EPISODE will go into validating your product ideas in more detail. In the mean time, take a look at some of the resources below, to get you started.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Product creation worksheet for kids

Episode 3 – 5 simple ways to come up with product ideas

Blog post – questions to ask potential customers

7 free ways to validate your product idea

LET’S CONNECT

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Work with me

Transcript

Want to create a product? 4 things to do first

(:

Welcome to the, bring your product ideas to life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here is your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki (:

So before we started this episode, I just wanted to tell you about a brand new resource that myself and my seven year old son had put together. It is a Product creation worksheet for kids. So just some really fun, the questions and exercises for them to do, which hopefully they will enjoy it. And will also give you a, a, an activity for them, if you're or anything like that has to be right in the middle of homeschooling now I'm and all sorts of ideas or things to do with the Welcome. So if you would like to get hold of that, you can get it via the link that I'll put into the show notes. And now I'm in the show. Welcome to episode five of Bring Your Product Ideas to Life. I am really excited today because I'm actually recording this in what I consider to be the place where all podcast episodes will be recorded, which is my new office used to be a spare room.

Vicki (:

So for the past couple of years, I've been working from my kitchen table, or like from an arm chair or anywhere where they're at. So I'm so excited to have somewhere with the door and I'm called in this, in the semi darkness. Cause I've got the curtains closed because I think that might be better for our acoustics, as she can tell I'm a podcast beginner, but you know, let's see, how do we get on? So what I'd like to talk about today is what to do now that you have an idea for a product. So it may be, you have something that you are thinking of creating, perhaps you were even inspired by our last episode. If you don't actually have a product idea, that's a great one for you to go back and listen to. So that's episode three, which is ways to come up with a product ideas.

Vicki (:

So as you can see, I'm pitching this, you know, some people who were just about starting out. And so we're starting out at the beginning here, which is our hope is helpful. And in fact, we're going to be even a bit before the beginning 'cause before we even start thinking about creating your ideas, because I know that when you have a new idea, I mean, I suppose I can only speak to myself here, but when I get really excited about something, all I want to do is just plow ahead and just put all my energy into it and I get super excited and I'm all in. And I just want to know Research things and take action and just, yeah, just throw myself in, in a deep way. And really, and I did do that with my first product because I did it albeit with the limited time I had available then.

Vicki (:

But I do think that had, I had the opportunity to do things again. And certainly as I've launched other products, I've learned these, I have done things a bit differently, have taken a bit of a pause before jumping in and, and that's what I'm suggesting today that you do to, before you spend any time, any money or get too far down the road, there are a few things I suggest doing before you spend your time and energy, creating your product, sourcing your product, because I really want to help you set yourself up for success. And so

this episode is not about putting new enthusiasm at all is about a few things to do to help you get started. And if you like, you can think about these rather than thinking of these are the things to do before you create your product.

Vicki (:

You can actually consider these as the first steps to creating your product. If that mindset shift helps you at all. So the first thing I suggest you do right at the beginning is get really clear on who your customer is. So we assuming that we know what your product is, and now we're going to think about who it's for. So knowing who your product is aimed at can really help you to enjoy you, create the product that they want and that they need. So is there an action here for you, which is to take a few minutes, you might wanna pause this podcast so that you might need to come back to this later, but take a few minutes to jot down as much detail as you can about the person buying your product.

Vicki (:

And it doesn't matter at all if you're getting a bit here. So I don't mean just defining your customer at a high level for example, and a new mom or the keen Gardner, I would spend about five to 10 minutes. Now, more than that, what do you think about that? More of, a bit more about the person your product is aimed at. So the kind of things you might think about is what kind of age are they are? What stage of life are they at? For example, are they new parents or are they recent graduates or are they people who might have a recently retired? What kind of, what kind of things do they read? What social media channels they are and where do they shop? So are you targeting people who, who will perhaps shop on the high street or are you looking at people who might show up on nine?

Vicki (:

And if they do shop online, where did they go to they show up on Etsy or are they big Amazon shoppers or do they prefer to, do they like to shop from independent businesses or, or do they like the big brands? So these are just some of the things to think about when you're working out who your customer is. Perhaps you even have someone in mind who you can use as a muse or an avatar. It may be that person is actually yourself. Or if not, just take your best guess I wouldn't do it on this too much because there's no right or wrong hair. I just want you to get an idea of who the person is. That's going to be buying your products because that will really help you when you're designing it when you're developing it. And then even further down the road, when you actually start marketing your product, it really helps if you know who you're speaking to.

Vicki (:

So I'm going to give you an example from my own products. And my customers are mainly mums, mostly new mums, and they either have an interest in sustainability or are they just want to buy a product that lasts and they don't mind paying a little bit extra for that. And my products are slightly higher price because they are really high quality. They are really big. They made from bamboo and they are designed to last. But I do

know that not everyone is going to care about some of those things. And they are going to look at the price and say, well, actually that was really expensive. And I could get a similar product for cheaper. And these people, aren't the people that I'm targeting in my marketing, or when I'm thinking about signing products or to think about designing them.

Vicki (:

I'm thinking about the people who wants to buy something really good quality that is going to last few years and that they are going to be able to use from Perhaps any subsequent children. And I'm also thinking about the people who might buy for them. So parents, friends, grandparents, who wants to buy a really nice quality gift for a new parents. And I guess they're my secondary customer. So something for you to remember when you were going through this exercise, and I think is probably worth mentioning now is that your customer is the person buying your product and not necessarily the person who would be using it. So in my example, I'm obviously selling babies products, but the baby isn't my customer because the baby won't be actually be buying the thing themselves.

Vicki (:

And so if you're selling toy's, for example, the child, isn't actually a customer, obviously your product, you have to appeal to the child, but it would also have to appeal to the person who is actually going to be paying the money for it. So that's a distinction worth making. And of course you do needs to be thinking about the person who would actually be using the products. So you need to make sure that it's suitable for them, but the person who is actually going to be spending the money as the one that you were going to be thinking about now, because babies, aren't going to be making decisions about which towel is the best for them, for example. So it, in that example is the parent that you need to be thinking about. And when you are doing this exercise or something else I think is worth mentioning in is you don't need to listen to everyone.

Vicki (:

Cause a little bit later, we're going to talk about what you are actually going to do is do you know, you know who your customer is, we're going to Now next. We're going to talk about finding them and about actually talking to them and getting to hear what they think and the real good key reason have working out who your customer is before you do. This is so you don't listen to everyone. So really an extreme example here is if your product is based at new moms, you might not want to listen to what your granddad has to say. Not to say that what anyone has to say, isn't valid, but I don't want you to take everyone's feedback on board because not everyone, you know, will be your target market. So your husband, your family, your friends, they might not all be people that you're aiming your products at.

Vicki (:

So if they think something isn't a great idea, or perhaps they have, you know, some advice for you, obviously you don't listen to what they have to say, but you don't need to take everyone's feedback on board. And I think if you know who your product's for, it's much easier to say, you know, not be heard or that somebody

doesn't like your idea, because you can just tell yourself, or do you know what? They're not my ideal customers. So while I respect for what they think, ultimately the product I'm creating isn't for them. So I don't need to be, you know, take that feedback personally. So you know, now who your customer is, hopefully once you've, you know, finish this episode or, or pause this episode is going away and giving it a bit of a foot. So the next thing that we need to think about is finding them say, Perhaps, you know, some potential customer's personally, or perhaps you can, or if not, you can definitely find them.

Vicki (:

I was going to say, perhaps you can find a bit, do you know what? In the world we live in it, you can definitely find them. So you have a sense of who they are, which makes finding them a bit easier. So you might be looking for cat lovers. You might be looking for people who meditate. You might be looking for runners. And there were bound to be plenty of places, whether that's online or offline, where you already know where your potential customers are already. So once you've worked at where your potential customers are I know I've skimmed over this piece, but I do think that nowadays there are lots of places to find them. So, as I say, you might know people personally, you might know of clubs or groups in your local area. And if not, there's always things like Facebook groups and online forums for people, with all kinds of interests, where you're bound to find some of the people that you are looking for.

Vicki (:

So now that you know who your ideal customer is and you know, where to find them, the third step is to ask some questions. Now, the first thing I am going to say here, is I know that this can absolutely be scary because it's coming out and saying, I'm going to create a product. And what do you think is scary? You're really putting yourself out there. And I know another fear that I hear a lot, which I will address right now is, well, what if I tell people I want to do it? And they go in and steal my idea. Say the first thing I would say here is that most people won't. And I'm not saying that flippantly, but I do. You mean it? I mean, the reason you'll listen to this podcast, so is shame is that you are looking to start selling a product and you wants a bit of help and you probably know, right?

Vicki (:

No, we were ready or, or perhaps it should be. And you know, you're starting to realize that it's not actually an easy thing to do. I mean, it is, and it's not, if you know the steps to follow and I'm, you know, and there was a process, you can follow it along. You, you definitely can do this yourself. It, so it is definitely doable. I've done

it. So many people have done it and I can, you know, I really want you to help you do it, but it's not going to be for everyone. Not everyone's going to be interested in selling products, not everyone's going to be interested in your particular idea and not everyone is going to have the time and the energy and the commitment to see it through, particularly if it wasn't their idea in the first place.

Vicki (:

And also, you know, if your pit talking to people, you know, talking to your friends, I mean, if they did steal

your idea, that would be really low. But anyway, I, I really don't think that you should let that stop. You Now, if you are genuinely are worried about that still when I haven't persuaded you otherwise, or even if you just don't want to get yourself out there too much yet you don't actually need to say I'm going to create this product. What do you think? And actually in some that might not be okay anyway, I don't know if you're going into a, a, a great way. You don't know anybody, whether that's a, you know, an actual group of gathering of people as well for that in an online group, you know, that might not be the best way of approaching it, but you can ask a few more on nine questions.

Vicki (:

So for example, in an online group, you could paste Hi has anyone here ever brought and X, you know, whatever your product is, what, what, what would you recommend? What did you think about them? And then you can follow up and what they say to learn a bit more, you could also ask questions, like, you know, if you have bought a or whatever, what did you like about it? How do you feel that it could be improved? M did you think it was worth the price? You know, the kind of thing just to get, these are just examples. So what are you trying to get? The sense of hair is if people have bought products similar to yours, Before what they thought about them. 'cause this gives you a really valuable insight when your thinking about creating your way in, and if they haven't bought them, why not say, for example, if everyone says, Oh, I've always wanted to buy one of these, but I never have, because it's too expensive.

Vicki (:

Or I think I had only use it once, or I don't see the point of it. This is a really good information for you to have. So other questions you could ask and I think would apply if people hadn't Perhaps bought the product you are looking to create is if you were buying, you know, this kind of product, what features would you be looking for? What is the most important thing to you? So hopefully you'll get the idea. Another great question is if you were buying whatever, what would it need to do to exceed your expectations? I've actually got a full Blog post on this, and I we'll link to it in the show notes because it's, it goes through how to get some really relevant answers from your ideal customers.

Vicki (:

So if you need a bit more help with this blog post to be linked in the show notes, and that's a really good one for you to look at it. So I would definitely make sure you take notes of everything you find out here, wherever you agree with people who are not, that this is really hard. If you're creating a product and your target customer, it is people like yourself. I've definitely been through this where I've had what I thought it was really good at. I did. And you know, the product, I don't know, do you know my Perhaps my product idea. I would really like, and I thought it was great. But when I started talking to other people in, who were also at my target customers, so I've a new moms. Cause when I started my business, I was a new mom and I was talking to them and I was actually finding out that actually not everyone agreed with me if that makes people, did it on some things.

Vicki (:

And then what I thought was important was what I thought it was important, but ultimately I can not create a product just for myself because I want people to by it. And so I have to make sure that it was going to appeal to more people than just me. It's really important to create a product that your customers actually want rather than the product do you think they want? So if you're going to take the time to go through these steps, you're going find people to talk to. And you're going to sit down and talk to them. Please make sure you listen and take what they say on board. Okay. So the fourth thing I think it's worth doing before you start creating your product is to look at similar products on the market.

Vicki (:

So it was really good to know if there's anything similar on the market right now. So that's one thing is good to know. Is there anything out there like the product do you want to create? And if so, why do people buy it? How much they pay for it and what they think about it. So some of this information you may have just by going out and asking people, but this is really good to do a bit more online research. It, it, it will take a bit of time, but it is a relatively simple. So I like to use Amazon for this. I know other people would have that same methods, but I think that's a good place to start as there's lots of products and most of them will have reviews that you can take a look at. And if the product, if you're interested in and have no reviews, think about what this tells you. In some cases, it might be that Amazon isn't the right marketplace to be looking on.

Vicki (:

And in fact, you might already know. So what I might have just said, look at Amazon and you might think, well actually, would people buy my products on Amazon? If they will go to the sites where people would buy them. So if you are looking at products a bit more unique or how to make up my own, look on Etsy. For example, you might also want to look at some independent sides. I'm just suggesting Amazon is kind of a catchall for lots of mainstream product. It can be a good place simply because there is so much data on there. So I have a look for products like the product you're looking to sell if such a thing exists and just see what you can find out. So I always like to keep a spreadsheet here because I'm very organized like that.

Vicki (:

Where do I note down on the products that I Find, what particular features they have, how much they are selling for, and importantly, what the reviews say about them. And what I like to keep track of is positive reviews. It is what are the positive things people are saying about these products and what are the negative things people are saying, because that really gives you lots of information when you're coming to design your own products. So real example here, which I'm sure that I've shared before. I'm and apologies. So if I have, is that when I was looking at creating my towels, I was reading a lot of reviews from people saying that the towels on the market at the time, it didn't last very long because they were really small.

Vicki (:

So I made mine really big. And that was honestly just from reading all of these reviews and seeing what

people were saying about what was out there. Obviously I had them ideas of what I wanted to do anyway. So I wanted to create that really helped. Validate my idea, the validation is something we would actually talk about a lot more in a future episode as well. So now you have so much knowledge. Okay? So once you have carried down all of these steps, you have so much knowledge you would have, so you would have done so much research and you've got a lot of information and the best thing is, okay, it might've taken me a bit of time, maybe a couple of hours, but you haven't spent any money at all.

Vicki (:

And you're actually a lot further ahead, the way you were before you started taking these steps. And the final thing I suggest you do now is to just reflect on everything you've learned and figure out how your product is going to be different, how is going to add value? So thinking, so there are two questions I'd like you to think about, which is how can I improve on the products are already on the market and how can my products meet my customer's needs, which Remember, hopefully if you'd been speaking to them and they've told you about, so I will just run through these again. So how can I improve on the product already on the market and how can my product to meet my customers needs?

Vicki (:

So I am going to show you an example using my bamboo hooded towels, which I know you mentioned before. So when I did my research, customers told me that most of this house on the market for newborns only last a few months. So I had decided to make my own bigger. He also found out from the online research, which I did on an Amazon by looking at it, you know, which house, where they were selling best and what customers were saying about them. I can see that most customers like towels with a hood and that the simple designs tended to be the best sellers or my products are made from bamboo. And I chose to keep with them white and unbleached. So I wouldn't be able to add any chemicals. So when, when you put it together, the size of the towel, plus the weight plus the hood plus a simple design plus bamboo fibres plus no added chemicals thats m ethat's added up to equal or a great product.

Vicki (:

So I'd really like you to, just as a final step to do the same, just to think about all of the things you've learned and your research, and think about how you are going to make your product the best it can possibly be. And I'm not suggesting that you need to be putting it together like a final specifications at this stage, or perhaps you feel that your ready to do that. But just to think about how are you going to make your product really special, really different, and just stand out a little bit from anything on the market at the moment. And I will say that perhaps your part or the product you're looking to get at is something completely unique and the difference in anything out there already. Well, in that case, you've already got, you know, you've already got that, but I still do think it's worth doing this kind of research because it, especially if you're creating something so new that no one's seen anything like it.

Vicki (:

I really do think it's worth finding out what people want from it. So you can still make it as best as it could possibly be. So right now we've gone through all of these steps and I actually think there were five and not four. So you've got a bonus one in there and I'm just going to run through them again. So the things I suggest you do, our work out who your ideal customers are, find them, ask them some questions, look at similar products on the market and see what people are saying about them and then define your unique selling point. So work out how your product can be the best it can possibly be. So now you do have the very bare bones of a product specification.

Vicki (:

And the next thing to do is to think about validating your product idea. So I always recommend doing as much validation as you can before you spend any time and money creating your product, and you've done so much work so far, you should now have a really good idea of what your product is, what it does, what it consists of, which really help you when you come to creating it. And in the next episode, we're going to talk about validating your idea in lots of detail. So if you can't wait until the next episodes, I do, you have a freebie, which is seven free ways to validate your product idea, which you can download right now. And that will be linked in the show notes. And in the meantime, thank you so much for listening.

Vicki (:

And if you've enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe. Please do leave me a review, please, do you recommend it to your friends? And this is a brand new podcast, and I'm really trying to spread the words about what I'm doing. I would do want to help as many people as possible. And so I would love your help in making that possible. So please do tell people about the podcast, leave me a review and subscribe, or if you've enjoyed this episode. So thank you so much. And I will see you next week for the next episode, where we'll talk about how to validate your product ideas.