Multi-tasking parents often don’t realize that they already possess the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs: unrelenting endurance, the determination and stamina to get the job done, and coming up with on-demand solutions to everyday problems. These experiences often inspire ideas for innovative products to make life easier. And, being your own boss may be the best way for busy parents to create the flexibility and freedom that they often seek.
For the past 10 years, I have seen thousands of people transform an initial idea into creative, money-generating new products. And, with the resurgent economy and awesome new resources available for developing, manufacturing, funding, video marketing, selling and distributing products, the opportunity for inventive product entrepreneurs has never been better.
Every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, but here are seven tips to get started on the right path:
1. Treat your product or service idea as a business from the start.
There is no true shortcut. With an open mind, analyze and understand the design and production costs, market size, selling price, profit potential, and competition before you spend money bringing your product to market.
2. How do you know if your product or service will sell?
You don’t! Getting feedback about your product or service from the beginning of development is critical. Create a circle of advisors that will offer you real feedback, not just tell you that you’re doing a great job. Conduct informal focus groups (other than friends and family), and send out surveys (www.surveymonkey.com). Carefully listen to what people are telling you. You may need to let things go that are not working and focus on what is working.
3. Keep it simple.
Many new product ideas include flashy features, from electronics to excessive bells and whistles that drive up production costs and the retail price. Creating high-quality products with fewer features at the right price can mean more sales and money in your pocket.
4. Raise smart money.
There has never been a better time to fund your business.Use crowd-funding, microloans, credit lines, and new online options that fit your business. Resources: www.kabbage.com, www.somolend.com, www.kiva.org, www.opportunityfund.org/loans, and http://us.accion.org.
5. Connect with others who will help grow your business.
The best way to network isn’t to tell everyone about what you’re doing. Instead, show interest in what others are creating and be generous. Offer resources and introductions that will help them along their way. Then invite them to be a part of what you are creating. When they need your product or service or hear of someone else that needs it, you will be the first person on their minds.
6. Use video marketing to your advantage.
Nothing is more powerful in conveying a message about your business than compelling videos. The reality is that people watch videos more than they read. Why? Because most of us are visual learners. There are a variety of both on-camera and off-camera tools to improve your brand visibility. Take a look at Google Hangouts, ooVoo, iMovie, Skype, Animoto, Video Scribe, or VideoStir. Use these tools to create your videos and then post them on YouTube. Tip: In the description area under your video on YouTube, remember to add your website address to direct people back to your product or service page.
7. Celebrate your successes, large and small.
Recognize setbacks for what they are: an unavoidable, and sometimes the most valuable, part of the journey. They offer an opportunity to build a business and life that you love.
There are many steps along this journey, but with the abundance of new resources available, you can take your idea and run with it!