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How to get your product onto store shelves

lemonaidstand32273991.jpgMost small businesses start out in a similar way. You have a great idea, you work up a prototype, you have some success selling a fair number of products and then you decide to go bigger. Understanding how to sell your product is in some ways more difficult than coming up with or inventing the product itself. The first thing that you want to do on the journey of getting your product to market is to do research and learn how other people in your same situation did it. Learn from the mistakes and successes of others. The next thing that you want to do is get your priorities aligned. If you are going to get your product onto store shelves you need to make sure that you stay focused on that goal. Too many people become overly concerned with all the nuances of running a business that putting forth the effort to actually get the product to market becomes secondary. Remember, if people are not buying your product, you don't have a business. As you pursue the goal of getting your product to market, here are some helpful steps that should help you.

The first think that you should do to supplement the research that you may have already done on how other businesses got their product on store shelves is to buy some literature. Make sure that you are looking for books that focus on making money, not on other nuances like patents and trademarks. Make sure that you not only read your books, but that you study them. If you are planning on introducing your product to a wide audience relatively quickly, you need to prepare and a huge part of that preparation involves doing your research.

Along those same lines, the next thing that you will need to do is conduct market research. Market research will help you to identify the other products that are in your market, or even products that are not the same but that are founded on the same ideas. Learn more about who makes these similar products and where they are sold (don't forget to include the internet as a place of sales). Make sure that you do not infringe on anyone's current patents or trademarks by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website (www.uspto.gov).

If you do not already have a prototype of your product (something that can be mass produced, a product that is ready for a wide market release), make sure that you get one. If you need funding for your prototype, you will need to go through some more processes to prepare yourself, but starting with something as simple as a detailed drawing could be enough if coupled with a great idea and some smart solutions for market introduction.

Your friends can be some of your greatest resources, especially those friends who also happen to be entrepreneurs. Network with other small business owners in your area. Lean on them for support and helpful advice during this critical time. Lastly, draft a business plan. No matter how simple, a business plan gives you and those who may be investing in your business a better idea of how actions you are taking now will contribute to the success of your business in the long term. There are no smart shortcuts in the world of small business ownership. Take your fate into your own hands, prepare yourself intellectually through research and consulting with peers, and your small business can have a strong start. Before you know it, your product will not only be on store shelves, but flying off of those shelves because your customers are so excited about your product!

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