You have a great idea. It’s revolutionary and, you think, will take the market by storm. What’s next? How will you launch your product into the market? More specifically, what is the process to commercialization?
Commercializing your product is, in the world of inventors, the end-goal to achieve success by placing the invention in the hands of consumers. While an invention may indeed be revolutionary, inventors must understand the stages of development and commercialization in order to prepare for potential success.
• Explanation: Can you clearly explain the concept behind your product or service? Can you explain the idea to someone outside of the industry?
• Prototype: Have a prototype developed to demonstrate features in addition to conducting internal and external testing, certification, approval and registration. Without something tangible, the invention remains an “idea” and breeds uncertainty. Developing a prototype resolves uncertainty by bringing the “idea” to life.
• Features: During the testing phase, document the features and benefits of your product or service while considering potential shortfalls and needed modifications.
• Protection: Have you lodged a patent or trademark? Are you protected by copyright? Seek professional counsel to obtain the necessary documentation, confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements, or certifications to protect your product or service.
• Strategize: Develop an intellectual property strategy to protect your invention throughout the process.
• Funding: Can you afford to see the process through in its entirety?
• Determine Need: Have you engaged customers for feedback? Does your product or service fill a gap or offer a competitive advantage? Is your product ready to be sold in volumes that can meet high demand?
By confirming that your product has a competitive advantage, you must also evaluate the following:
• What is the size of the market? Who are the key decision makers? Who are the potential customers?
• What need does your product meet?
• What is the financial evaluation of the viability of your product?
While inventors often feel that they fully understand the market and its needs, the voice of customers should be at the forefront as they drive profits. Do not make assumptions on what the market needs or wants. Answer the above questions honestly and then research early business models to identify feasible options to engage potential success.
Your product or service is almost ready to launch into the market. Prior to a blind product launch, ask yourself if you fully understand the process?
• Is the market still strong? Is there still a need for your product or service?
• Who is your market? What is your strategy?
• Have you considered pricing?
• What are the required distribution channels to enter the market?
• Who are the influencers and how will or can they assist?
With your product or service completed, you are ready to launch into the market. At this stage, you should have:
• Three years of financial projections to support commercialization
• Funding to support costs and working capital
• A final business model reflective of market and financial evaluations
• A registered business structure for trading and tax purposes
• Management and staff in place
• A strong market-entry strategy
• Comprehensive financial reporting systems
Commercialization is the end-goal for all inventors and their products. The process of innovation to commercialization has a multitude of options but, at the forefront, a comprehensive understanding of your product and the market as well as business and financial responsibility is vital. Strategically outline your plan, engage customers, and remain focused.