The novelist Sue Grafton maintains that,
“Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
A statement which couldn’t be truer if your idea is for a personalised gift or book and you want to take the next step to make it a commercial reality. We hope this list of the 10 major considerations and questions you’ll need to ask yourself will get you thinking, set you apart from the flock and prevent you being fleeced!
- What actually is your product and who wants/needs it? For example, “a children’s book” is a description but it’s a very narrow one. What aged child is this aimed at? Will the subject matter, illustrations and tone of voice appeal? Would parents approve and see the value in its content?
- What does the marketplace for your product look like? Make sure that there really is one and determine “is it already well catered for, even flooded?”
- Identify your competitors and research what they are doing. Is it so different from you? Where are their weaknesses and the gaps in their offering? What about their pricing and how competitive is it?
- Is your product really unique, or is it simply a slightly different take on an existing product?
- Think about if, and why, a consumer would be likely to purchase your product instead of that from a more established competitor.
- If you were the reader/parent/consumer, what would you be looking for and expect?
- How are you going to get it produced? Who has the experience and capability to do your idea justice? Do you trust them implicitly to treat your customers as well as you would yourself?
- A million miles away from the creativity of your idea, how will you integrate your systems with those of the manufacturer you’re going to work with?
- Marketing is going to be crucial. How are you going to market it and, critically, what budget do you have for that?
- You’ll invariably need a website that’s easy to use, offers personalisation capability and, as you’ll be accepting payments on it, is 100% secure. Have you identified a platform and developer to deliver it, and factored the not insignificant cost of this into your budget?
The people behind The Little Girl/Boy Who Lost Her/His Name obviously got it right. They had a great idea but when the founders secured the highest valuation in the show’s history - £100,000 for a 4% stake in the business - on the popular Dragons’ Den programme, it was much more than simply an idea they were selling. Their passion was obvious but the Dragons were able to see beyond that and recognised that, commercially, the idea had legs. Legs which may, or may not, have had cloven hooves on the end of them!