This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
Successfully bringing a physical product to market can be a complex and daunting task for an entrepreneur, but following a deliberate and logical process will increase the likelihood of success, according to the founders of New Orleans-based product design firm Realized Designs Projects.
Founders Anna Finch and Brien Teasley, a wife-and-husband team with more than 15 years of experience in bringing products to market, have developed deep expertise in designing for manufacturing. The company has guided numerous products from concept to mass production, with the majority manufactured in China.
Their design philosophy is centered around the idea that the product is only part of the equation. The design and development process itself is nearly as important, they argue, because it allows companies to fully understand production costs and quickly embrace change. “As long as we have a process in place, we can pivot very quickly,” Teasley says.
The pair spoke to area business leaders at a recent Tech Park Academy event at the Louisiana Technology Park, where they broke down the 10 key steps of their design and development process, from initial concept through the first production run.
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR NEEDS
Finch has a background in international business, has lived and worked in China, and is well-versed in the nuances of the manufacturing negotiation process. She says new customers frequently approach their firm and immediately ask what the cost will be to get to an end product. “That is the hardest question to answer on day one,” she says.
To answer that question they first work with the entrepreneur to help them understand what type of business venture they are undertaking and what their primary goal is. End goals can range from developing a proof of concept, which could be a prototype, to creating a more advanced shelf-ready product to show investors. Others just need more basic renderings to help secure seed funding.