Golden Rule 5 – It’s All About the Money

Developing a product Rule-5

Hi I’m Phil,  I founded D2M Innovation just over 10 years ago! I hope you enjoy reading this article. To have my team develop your project, fill in this contact form… 

Rule 5: It's all about the money!

It’s the final week of the Golden Rules of Innovation blog series! I will be sharing last and most vital reasons why Rule 5 it’s all about the money when developing a new product. 

So many times we’ve seen great ideas fail, even if it had a great plan and was developed by great people.

“Why?” you ask.

Because the project runs out of funds. We continue to be shocked by how much people have spent before coming to us for some expert advice. My pushchair Ark, nearly failed for lack of funds when we misspent. It’s a similar story for so many other people who end up spending on features they don’t need, services they aren’t ready for or tooling that isn’t necessary.

If you’re going to do one thing well when developing your idea, do this: Watch every penny and only spend what you really need to. If you only have limited funds, then make sure you’re taking the right steps to secure investment before you run out of money.

Investors will think that when someone tells them that their start-up will cost £300k and take 12 months, it will actually cost £600k and take at least 2 years.

This isn’t a bad rule of thumb – see what you think it will cost and then double it. You’re probably much closer.

We’ve worked with hundreds of originators on over 500 projects. A lot have succeeded but unfortunately more have failed.

Here are the top 3 reasons:

  1. The start-up runs out of money before the product can get traction.
  2. The originator finds something else which is more exciting to start.
  3. The originator of the idea brings the wrong team on board.

Don’t let any of these reasons be your story. And if you focus on avoiding these three problems, then you will give your project a much better chance of success.

Too often people are too focused on the outcome being true to their vision, being absolutely perfect or what the next product in the range will be.

Actually, your time, effort and enthusiasm are better spent raising capital, getting the right team around you and making sure that this project is the one you want to spend the next 3-5 years living and breathing.

Team issues are really sad when they ruin a project.

I could tell you a lot of stories but one of the most memorable is a pair of young guys who had a new gaming product. They were very enthusiastic and had lots of ideas for the project and talked a lot about commitment.

Then one day, they showed up to pay their bill with wads of £20 notes.

We thought it was a bit strange, but we’ve had bank transfers before and knew that they weren’t dodgy so went with it.

The next week, we received a call that one of the two had disappeared with thousands of pounds in cash due to be paid to our electronics partner. The other guy tried for a while to keep the project going but wasn’t able to do so.

When things go wrong in a team it often has fatal implications for the project.

I wanted to talk about Barry and CouchCoaster in today’s email.

It might not look like much initially, but just bear in mind that it sells across the world now and Barry turns over £1 million of product every year with basically zero overhead.

Why don’t you start by having a look at the video and hearing what Barry himself has to say:

Find out more about D2M's product development services

DISCOVER

Barry encompasses many of the golden rules I’ve shared over the last 5 emails. He kept his idea simple and certainly MVP. But this doesn’t mean he compromised all the time.

The product has weights on each side and was tested on multiple sofas and chairs to ensure that it did its job well.

Barry kept his costs down by doing much of the work himself. He made multiple rough prototypes in order to get the size worked out before he came to us. Once we completed the initial design and research work, Barry worked closely with us to develop multiple prototypes iteratively refining the concept.

CouchCoaster combines a number of intelligent design features that set it apart. Glossy, soft, internally weighted silicone and a cleverly engineered base which provides an optimal gripping surface that stabilises and reforms the coaster to the shape of virtually any sofa/chair arm. Furthermore, a reinforcement insert keeps the drinks holder rigid, safe and upright. An in-built mug handle slot means it can be used with traditional tea and coffee cups, whilst a simple adaptor supplied with the product also ensures smaller sized drinks are equally as well held. A subtly integrated drip-tray also stops minor drips and splashes from reaching and staining the sofa itself.

It is minimum viable whilst also being a premium product that commands a reasonable price and delivers a great user experience.

CouchCoaster is now sold around the world as mentioned before and Barry has launched 2 further products in his range. You can read more in this blog post.

I promised I’d tell you Barry’s top tip for protecting ideas – this could save you or your business tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.

 

Rule 5 It's all about the money

Barry encompasses many of the golden rules I’ve shared over the last 5 emails. He kept his idea simple and certainly MVP. But this doesn’t mean he compromised all the time.

The product has weights on each side and was tested on multiple sofas and chairs to ensure that it did its job well.

Barry kept his costs down by doing much of the work himself. He made multiple rough prototypes in order to get the size worked out before he came to us. Once we completed the initial design and research work, Barry worked closely with us to develop multiple prototypes iteratively refining the concept.

CouchCoaster combines a number of intelligent design features that set it apart. Glossy, soft, internally weighted silicone and a cleverly engineered base which provides an optimal gripping surface that stabilises and reforms the coaster to the shape of virtually any sofa/chair arm. Furthermore, a reinforcement insert keeps the drinks holder rigid, safe and upright. An in-built mug handle slot means it can be used with traditional tea and coffee cups, whilst a simple adaptor supplied with the product also ensures smaller sized drinks are equally as well held. A subtly integrated drip-tray also stops minor drips and splashes from reaching and staining the sofa itself.

It is minimum viable whilst also being a premium product that commands a reasonable price and delivers a great user experience.

CouchCoaster is now sold around the world as mentioned before and Barry has launched 2 further products in his range. You can read more in this blog post.

I promised I’d tell you Barry’s top tip for protecting ideas – this could save you or your business tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.

 

Barry CouchCoaster

Barry’s product is relatively simple and has a big potential market, so it was a product that would likely be copied. Shortly after the launch of CouchCoaster, the first inferior copycat products started to appear on Amazon. Rather than start costly legal action, Barry simply contacted Amazon and told them they were stocking a product that infringed his Intellectual Property (IP).

He sent them proof of his patent and Amazon delisted the product. Since then, Barry reckons that every week he ends up speaking to some retailer or another about the fact that they are stocking a product that infringes his IP.

None of these retailers want bad press or to blacken their reputation and so, in almost every case, no further action is necessary and they destock the copycat product. For the copyist, this is a real problem. They make all the effort to get into a retailer, only to be told a few days later that they have been delisted.

As such, before too long, they give up and copy something else. Sure, it takes some of Barry’s time. But his Kickstarter backers are quick to spot copies of CouchCoaster, so he doesn’t waste time looking for the copyists but is normally informed pretty rapidly.

Barry reckons that the couple of grand he spent on patents was by far the best money he spent throughout the whole project!

This example shows what we are really about. We are all about getting your product to market and continuing to develop the most efficient and effective process we can to help you do that. 

At D2M Innovation, we’re product designers and we have an amazing creative senior team, but we’re also so much more.

We can’t wait to help you on this amazing journey and to see if your product can make it on the market.

The process can be quite complex but we do our best to make it as simple as possible. You can check out this infographic on our website – this gives a rough overview as to what the process might look like for your idea:

Product Design Process

Are you ready to start your innovation journey? 

(If you don’t, you might just spend the rest of your life wondering “what if?”)

If you do wish to embark on this rollercoaster ride, then we promise to guide you as best we can! Who knows, maybe one day we’ll open a bottle of bubbly together to celebrate the first time you see someone in the street with your product? Or when we walk into John Lewis and see one of their team showing your product to a prospective customer? Or your first sale at a consumer show?

These are feelings you just can’t beat. Believe me, I know…

If you are ready to start your product development journey, why not submit your project for us to review?  Or you can drop us an email: enquiries@design2market.co.uk

We endeavour to answer all enquiries within 48 hours on business days.

We’ll keep your idea entirely confidential under our NDA. My team will be happy to talk you through our process and to see if your project is something that we can help with!

Before you go...

Subscribe to our exclusive content and we'll give you 4 free e-books

These extensive, detailed e-books take you through the whole process including patenting, protecting, manufacturing and funding new product ideas.

By subscribing, you'll also be getting the latest funding opportunities, exclusive content and inspiring stories straight to your inbox once a month.

Don't worry we hate spam too and we'll never share your details with anyone else. You can unsubscribe at any time.