Duku's 10 Step Guide For Entrepreneurs
Updated: 3 days ago
The process of turning your idea into a viable product can be a challenging and windy road. Here are ten steps to help entrepreneurs and start-up businesses navigate the process.
1 IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
Before you start designing your product, you must first establish the problem you are trying to solve. There is no point designing something and spending a lot of money if your product either does not solve a problem or solves a problem that does not exist. It is just as important to find out the reason that people face this problem and how a product might be able to solve it.
A prime example of a product designed meticulously to solve a problem, is Kitt Medical. Owner and severe allergy sufferer, Zak Marks, founded Kitt as one of the forty-one million allergy sufferers across the UK. The product has been designed by Duku building on Zak's solution to this problem, helping prevent avoidable deaths caused by allergic reactions in schools by safely storing easy to use auto-injectors. The nature of the device led to the product winning both the Mayor's Entrepreneur Award 2022 and the Santander X Launch Award.
2 KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET
Once you have detailed the problem your product is trying to solve, you can then start honing in on who exactly you are planning to sell your product to, i.e your target market.
Worth mentioning, is the importance of discovering if the end-user is the same as the purchaser in this process. Find out who the decision maker in the buying process is, what features they value most in a product, and importantly, if they think there is a need for your product.
3 NICE TO HAVES AND MUST-HAVES
It is vital as a start-up/entrepreneur to establish what the 'must-haves' are of your product and what features would simply be nice to have. Once you start discussing your ideas with family, friends and other parties, your idea can quickly mutate after each person adds their own thoughts, much like our friend the one-man-band in the image below. Quickly, the product can easily steer away from the problem you were trying to solve, becoming too complex and costly to produce.
4 SEEK DESIGN EXPERTISE
Next on the list is the exciting bit, designing the product. This involves the addition of expert help from a design team such as ours. The design process ties in all of the previous three steps, creating a visual representation using state of the art computer-aided-design from which prototypes can then be made.
Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to rush this process, cutting corners to save time. This can lead to the launch of a poor quality product which can cause irreversible damage to your brand's reputation.
Duku's skilled product design team can add substantial value to your invention by combining problem solving skills with professional design work to ensure our new product is fully resolved before launch.
5 PROTECT YOUR DESIGN
Patents and trademarks are vital – if you’ve ever watched Dragon’s Den, you will have heard Debra Meaden and her fellow Dragons asking time after time, "what stops me from doing this myself?"
You must ensure your design is protected to help prevent your competitors from copying your idea. A patent on your design enables you to achieve a first-mover advantage over your competitors, in addition to giving you extra time to make sure you can overcome any future problems that you may encounter further down the line.
Duku work closely in collaboration with sister company, Albright IP. Albright are experts in patents, registered designs, copyrighting and trademarks, offering practical, potent and cost-effective intellectual property advice, helping you protect your innovation.
6 TESTING & PROTOTYPING
The secret of a good product is thorough testing and prototyping. Before taking your product to manufacture, it must be tested and prototyped extensively to ensure it is fit for purpose.
Duku use their in-house 3D printing and CNC machining services throughout the development process to help evaluate and refine your product and deliver the best possible design outcome. Duku is also able to advise and connect clients with specialist testing facilities should they be required.
7 WHO DO YOU TRUST TO MANUFACTURE YOUR PRODUCT?
Perhaps the most important stage of all for an entrepreneur is deciding on who you are going to trust with manufacturing your product. In order to make this decision, you must decide your selling price and profit margins, as well as what features of the product you wish to prioritise.
Duku can deliver the costs, information and support that you need to successfully manufacture your new product. Their established network of trusted manufacturing partners in the UK, Europe and Far East will successfully take your new product through the production process.
8 MARKETING YOUR PRODUCT
Once you have finalised the design and manufacture stage of your product, it is then time to start raising awareness of your brand and the product itself. In order to do this, you must first establish a customer profile based on your target market. What are your customers buying habits? What social media do they tend to use? What are their hobbies or interests? Where are they located? the list goes on.
After finalising this information, you can then start to build and implement your marketing strategy, tailoring your promotion to your specific target market using the media that is most relevant to them.
As well as advising and proposing a marketing strategy, Duku also offers one of the most eye catching forms of promotion via video content. Duku's in-house video producer creates visually striking and informative product presentations that allow you to reach potential customers, investors or licensees.
9 RAISING FINANCE
After deciding on your marketing strategy and finalising the manufacturers of your product you must then provide the funds to cover the tooling and the first production run of your product which can be substantial. If you are not funding the product yourself, you will then need to look for capital from external sources. This can easily become overwhelming as there are many different avenues to go down, including venture capitalists, loans, funding schemes and crowdfunding so it is best to seek advice from a design consultancy such as Duku.
Duku has a significant amount of experience in helping clients to secure funding by providing the professional design work to make your business plan or pitch deck compelling to investors or funding bodies.
10 NEVER GIVE UP
It’s not all going to be plain sailing, there are likely to be lots of hurdles along the way but make sure you keep going. You’re in unchartered waters, launching a brand new product to the market, there’s bound to be things you miss or mistakes you make. It’s about carrying on, taking the process a step at a time and working with the right partners that you trust and share your vision.