Coming up with a good idea is really only the first small step in the product development process. Making real progress after that is an iterative process that often involves a lot of hard work and setbacks along the way. One of the best ways to take tangible steps forward is to enlist a team of experts to help you make it happen. That is one of the best reasons to work with a firm like Creative Mechanisms. We have been around the product development world for a long time. Our senior leaders started with the company in the early 1980s and made a mark working with large toy manufacturers like Mattel. Design was different back in that a lot of it was done with a pencil and paper. Today it’s all digital. The engineering knowledge and creativity required, however, is exactly the same. Professionals with this kind of expertise and experience can really help you develop your idea into a much better product than you likely think is possible.
So where do you need help? Here are four places we think are the most important:
- The Right Mentality: Make sure you understand the fact that you can’t do this all on your own. You might think you have a great idea and there’s a decent chance you’re right. The problem is that a lot of great ideas never make it because the people behind them take on way more than they can chew. It isn’t simple to successfully take a product to market. You do need help. It does cost money. It’s that simple. If you fight that reality then you’re likely to fail.
- Business Plan: Even with the right mentality your plan needs to make practical sense. There are good and bad ways to go about getting a product to market. Without a doubt the one we like the best is getting a patent and licensing out production and distribution to a large organization for a fixed royalty fee. That is going to save you an immense amount of time, energy, and money. It is without a doubt the “easy” button when compared to the other options. For more on this and different possibilities for getting your new product to market read here.
- Creative Design and the Human Element: There are a lot of people who can create a design but there’s a lot fewer that have been making their living at it for 30 years. Of those that have there are even less that work directly with their clients without middle men and without an ego about their work. The ability of our engineers to iteratively work with inventors and entrepreneurs is really important. Striking this balance is really important. You can read more about our process here.
- Prototype Development: Getting a working model is an important step for fundraising and/or selling the idea to other people. It is also an important for product testing and consumer research prior to making the huge investment required when ready for mass manufacturing. In developing a working prototype it is important to replicate the final production product in every way possible. That means you will want to 3D print, CNC, or injection mold in the actual plastic if possible (rather than, for example, 3D printing in common materials like ABS plastic). This will both give you a realistic feel for the final product and allow you to pick up on the little things you might not recognize without an accurate replica.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re thinking about creating a novel product. Simply recognize that there’s a lot too it and that you’ll be hugely advantaged by working with a team of experts that have done it before. If you want help please make your first stop a conversation with prototype development firm Creative Mechanisms. We can make your idea a reality.