Three Tips for Expanding Your Business Beyond Product Development

You’ve invented a truly innovative product, but now you need a strategy for getting it out to the market. Creating a great product is not the end of the development cycle. You then must get the product into the customers’ hands easily, effectively and efficiently. It sounds simple, but many companies overlook the critical details and strategies that can take them from an innovation to a scalable business that generates profits and enables new product creation. Here are three strategies to keep in mind as you finish product development and eagerly present your innovation to the marketplace:

1. Create a Marketing Plan

You can’t have a successful launch without a plan that includes marketing, pricing, and distribution. For the marketing side, you need to define the various channels you’ll use to reach the target audiences. What channel makes the most sense given your product’s feature set and the characteristics of the typical buyer? Ideally, you conducted some product and market research early in the development cycle that will inform your marketing strategies

For your marketing messages, focus on problems and results. If the potential customers are not aware of the current problem you’re offering to fix, then how can you spread the word? And once they are aware, how will they search for viable solutions? Make sure your product/brand lives within those spaces where people will search, and you’ve created compelling reasons for them to choose your product over any others. And ideally, there won’t be any real competition (not yet) since you’re the innovator presenting a unique product. 

2. Dial in Pricing

For pricing, in addition to the cost of raw materials, you need to carefully consider the value of your product relative to the problem it is solving. Does the problem cause them distress or is it potentially very impactful to their lives? Is it a pervasive problem that affects a massive pool of potential customers? These questions can all help you form pricing ranges that make the most sense for you to grow at scale. 

Ask yourself and your team: How much of a premium will customers pay to leverage your product to its full capabilities? Will customers enjoy talking with their friends and family about the product, especially in terms of how it makes their lives easier, simpler or more secure? Err on the side of pricing on the high side of your range. You, of course, gain more revenue-per-item, establish the product as a premium offering and give yourself room to make downwards price adjustments or discounts if required. 

3. Develop a Trusted Network of Installers

If your product innovation requires installation, then consider developing an installer and distributor network. For example, Strategic Innovations recently launched installer training for the company’s LED address box called eLiT. The product brightly displays address numbers and improves the accuracy of GPS mapping solutions, so first responders and delivery drivers can find an address as efficiently as possible. Every installer in the network receives a custom-built UV printer package, laptop, promotional materials, and a pre-made ecommerce website to manage sales and prospects. There’s also a two-day certification training required, which gives them tools, starting inventory, and business entity certification.  

A partner network in which installers work as independent contractors is a seamless pathway to get your products from manufacturing to the customers’ hands. These contractors are invaluable if your product requires or offers add-on features that are free or available for purchase. For example, perhaps the customer would benefit from a free app that pairs with the product or they would benefit from a five-minute in-person demonstration to improve their experience. Spend time on training and supplying these contractors with all the support they need because they’ll help you establish your brand reputation and set the stage for a consistent referral business.