Designing products is a passion of yours – that’s why you’re making a living doing it. But as an entrepreneur and someone who has probably only seen the design side of the equation, you’re likely to make a few mistakes on the road to success. To save you from at least a few blunders, we’ve gathered some tips from the pros to help you stay on track and reach your goals without losing too much time and money in the process.
1. Consider Any and All Design Complications
Your design looks fantastic in CAD, but how will it translate in real life? Will there be complications that will make it difficult to manufacture the product? Complex designs can be beautiful, but they can also present challenges that you may not have thought of. And they may wind up costing you more time and money in the long run.
The old saying, “keep it simple, stupid” plays a role here. While you don’t have to create a minimalistic design, you may want to consider removing or changing unnecessarily complex aspects of your design that will only make your life and the manufacturers’ lives more difficult.
2. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Packaging
The packaging of the product is a part of the brand’s story – not something that should be pushed off to the last minute. If you think the product’s packaging is the easy part, you have a tough lesson waiting for you at the finish line.
Packaging influences the buyer’s decision, so don’t skimp out here.
Do remember that this part of the process also requires manufacturing. You’re sure to face challenges and hurdles here, too, so plan for these complications by starting the process early on.
Keep Murphy’s Law in mind here: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
3. Take the Time to Get to Know Your Partners
You wouldn’t marry someone without meeting them in person, would you? Business partnerships are a lot like marriages because they require cooperation, communication and a certain level of understanding (i.e. you’re expected to do this, and I’m expected to do that).
If you don’t take the time to get to know your partners, or vendors, you may regret the decision later on.
Even if the vendor is halfway across the world, it’s a worthwhile investment to go out there, meet with someone from the company in person and tour the factory.
Walking into a partnership blindly may cause you to get into a relationship with a manufacturer that is not a good fit for you or your business.
4. Running a Business is Nothing Like Designing Products
If you think running your business will be as enjoyable as designing products, you’ve got another thing coming. These are two different beasts, and taming the business one isn’t always easy.
Here’s just a short list of the things you’ll be expected to do: bookkeeping, invoicing, purchasing orders, going to trade shows, handling customer service, making sure orders are fulfilled, dealing with vendors and keeping track of inventories.
Unless you have the budget to hire someone to take care of these tasks (you probably won’t), you’ll need to handle them yourself.
While this isn’t exactly an enjoyable part of the job, it is a necessary one, and one that will keep your business afloat if you manage it properly.