Product4: Launch a product-based business in 4 steps
Our guides are informational resources that tell you how to do something. This guide includes tools to show you how to do something. Our tools are interactive, some include templates that you can use as a starting point and were created for you to use to complete specific steps in starting or growing your business. Most are in the form of Google Slides, so feel free to copy them to your Google Drive for an editable version of any tool.
Before using this guide, make sure you have validated your idea through some pre-sales. If you haven’t done so, complete our Launch4 guide. Launch4 will help you cover the basics like finalizing your business idea, confirming there is a market and making your first sales or presales to make sure you’ll make a profit - it will lay the foundation for success in your next steps.
This Product4 will help you go from making your first sales to further refine and improve your product-based business to make more money in 4 steps.
Develop your business identity and brand
Building a brand can seem like a difficult task, but it’s also exciting work. People will buy into your brand as much as they buy the products themselves. Branding promotes recognition. If your brand is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at ease purchasing your products or services. From the visual elements like the logo to your website to the way that emails are answered, you’re telling your customer about the kind of company that you are. What is the image you want your business or organization to portray? How do you want to remembered? Complete the following activities to create a memorable brand.
Activity 1.1 - Complete the “Customer Survey Template”
Talk to your first customers, from the activities in Launch4, to find out why they want to buy your product?
Activity 1.2 - Learn how to create a tagline and a logo for your business
Create a name, logo and tagline for your business. Ideally, you want to create a tagline that becomes so well known that it is instantly recognizable. Along with the colors you choose, the logo will provide the foundation for the way your brand will look and, ultimately, feel.
Activity 1.3 - Learn how to create a website and build an online presence
When a brand is new, customers will search the internet for a product before the purchase to check the credibility first. Make sure you build an online presence including a website for your business and create appropriate social media profiles.
Don’t forget to create a company email address (for free!) so that you can present a professional image.
Define your business model
Planning what to do next depends on how you will sell your items. You have two basic options. One is to go direct to consumers, and the other is to use a middle party who helps you sell and deliver your products. You can do both if you want, but each one takes a different kind of work, so start with one direction - you can always expand!
After you decide how you decide how to sell your items, you’ll need to decide how you’ll actually make your products. Talk to your chosen supplier or manufacturer, get a quote and get some product samples - this is a great time to shop around and explore your options. Use sample products to get feedback and improve. Once your finalize your decision, set a deadline and begin preparing to sell.
Activity 2.1 - Decide how you will sell your products
The way a product reaches a customer typically happens through direct distribution or through indirect distribution. This will affect your choice of supplier/manufacturer - some can deliver directly to your customer, some do not.
Activity 2.2 - Decide how you will make your products
Decide if you will be making the product yourself or if you will be using external labor and find a manufacturer who will create the quality you are looking for at the right price.
Need a little help, some feedback, or input from a successful and experienced business owner? Create an account with us! We’ll help you connect with a business mentor or advisor.
Prepare to sell
At this point, you’ve done a lot of the hard work. You’ve picked a manufacturer and have your finished product in hand - now, it’s time to prepare to sell. You’ll need to price your product competitively and to ensure you’ll make a profit, refine where you’ll find your customers and let them know you’re open for business and make it easy for people by listing your products for sale on your website and social media sites.
Activity 3.1 - Create a price for your product(s)
When thinking about your price point, consider the costs that goes into making an individual product or service offering. Think of your customers and the competition as you set your pricing. The general rule is to double your costs to set your wholesale price, and then double that again (4 times your costs) to set your retail price.
Activity 3.2 - Make a marketing plan
Refine where and how you’ll find your first customers. Think of ways you can get direct access to potential customers, such as farmer’s markets, flea markets or private events.
Activity 3.3 - List your product inventory
Pick an online selling platform, list your products and prices in store, on your website and social media pages. Make sure to include a product name, product description and product price.
Launch and start selling
Plan your grand opening. Grand openings are important because they help attract new customers, generate buzz, gain media attention and create goodwill with neighboring businesses. Now, you’re ready to start selling! We recommend that you start by selling to friends/family and ask them to promote your products through online through their social media sites. This will help build credibility for your business and reassure other customers that your business is legit. Based on what your customers bought, design your next line and use this same process each time! Remember to pay close attention to what your customers want and be willing to change your designs, add new designs, change your branding, etc. Keep listening, learning, and adapting!
Activity 4.1 - Plan your grand opening/launch
Grand openings are important because they help attract new customers, generate buzz, gain media attention and create goodwill with neighboring businesses.
Activity 4.2- Start to sell your products
Preparing with a strong plan to start selling will minimize mishaps and put your business in the path to success
Activity 4.3 - Continue to improve your product regularly
Many businesses give away a limited amount of products in exchange for feedback or reviews. This practice can help you learn what works and what doesn’t faster through iteration cycles and as you continue to grow and add more products to your business!