by: Geoff Ficke

A Simple 20-Step Test That Will Confirm Whether or Not a Product Development Project Is Market-Ready

For almost four decades my Consulting firm has worked with entrepreneur’s to design, develop, package, Brand, Market and Sell a vast range of Consumer Products. Our job is to save clients time, money and mistakes. This goal is best achieved when we are involved in a nascent project from inception. Unfortunately this is not always the case.

Many prospective entrepreneurs decide to self-market their “alpha” product launch. This can certainly be done, though it requires a very high level of due diligence and trial and error. Unfortunately we are approached all too often by a rookie product developer who has exhausted their funds, mis-marketed the product or not been able to penetrate the target market at the most fundamental level.

The following is a series of questions, a test, that can be used as a guide in deciding if you have the capacity to self-market a new product, service or business strategy. This test is general in nature and you can fine tune the questions to more closely apply to a specific product you are developing.

1. Have you filed for Intellectual Property protection (patent, trademark, copy right, trade secret, etc.)? es___ No___
2. Do you have a detailed Gantt Chart? Yes___ No ___
3. Have you chosen Engineer, Designer, Lab (depending on product type)
Yes___ No___
4. Do you have Production Quality Prototypes (or formula, or recipe, etc. depending on product type)? es___ No___
5. Have you conducted deep competitive product research (pricing, distribution, etc.)? Yes___ No ___
6. Have you researched and chosen source of mass production for the proposed product? Yes___ No ___
7. Have you researched and chosen a Graphic Artist to produce art files for packaging, sales collateral, display, web-site, etc.? Yes___ No___
8. Have you organized Point-of-Purchase display design? Yes___ No___
9. Have you sourced and finalized packaging components? Yes___ No ___
10. Do you have a detailed Bill of Materials? Yes___ No___
11. Do you know final, landed, dead-net Cost of Goods…CRUCIAL? Yes___ No__
12. Do you have a Sales Model, pricing structure? Yes___ No ___
13. Have you customized a Branding and Marketing Strategy? Yes___ No___
14. Have you tested the product (i.e. Focus group, clinical tests if needed, etc.) Yes___ No ___
15. Have you begun or strategized a Public Relations Campaign? Yes___ No___
16. Is your Business Plan perfected? Yes___ No___
17. Do you have Product Liability Insurance organized? Yes___ No___
18. Production of Sales Brochures, Video, Web-site, Trade Show display, Point-of-Purchase display, Product Folio, etc. completed? Yes___ No___
19. Logistics organized (EDI, UPC, warehouse, inventory control, billing, etc.)?Yes___ No ___
20. Trade shows researched and contracted for launch and Pre-Sell? Yes__ No__

If you can objectively answer each of these questions positively you can probably be successful in self-launching a Consumer Product or Service. Remember, these are general questions and there many sub-issues related to each one. Use this as a Guide in deciding if you have the mettle to undertake this exciting new outlet for your creativity and competitiveness.
Birthing a New Business opportunity is both daunting and thrilling at the same time.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.