Steer clear of the 12 errors product design businesses usually make

(7) Forgetting to register your IP

Not researching and registering your trademark is a massive mistake and one that nearly had me unstuck. Trademark your name as soon as you possibly can, not only to protect your own brand but to avoid objections from companies with similar trading names further down the line, which can prove to be a very expensive headache.

Be aware that copyright lies with the creator of any creative work. If you employ an agency to design your logo, then ensure they sign over the copyright to you, otherwise ownership lies with them. Then make sure you register your design with the Intellectual Property Office for an added layer of protection.

(8) Putting the product first

As a wise man once said, “Idea is Queen, but cash flow is King”. Don’t forget, you’re in business to make money and you won’t be in business without it, so always have a good grip on your costs and overheads. And never give up. You’ve got to believe in what you’re doing and be determined to find a way to make it happen.

(9) Dismissing feedback

Don’t be overly precious of your design. You will never improve it and make it the best it can be without being open to others’ opinions, so value criticism and search it out.

As nice as it is for someone to say, “that’s brilliant, I love it,” ideally you also want to find the person that says, “this could be even better if you did this…” – the best ideas can come out of the most unusual places.

(10) Taking things personally

Don’t take setbacks personally. Get used to them and always have a Plan B ready just in case. Often your Plan B can be the best thing that happens to your business.

(11) Not thinking British

Don’t always assume the cheapest manufacturing option is in China. Look into UK manufacturing to avoid importing goods, which can be disastrous to margins when currency rates plummet. This also has the added benefit of you being able to export goods more cost effectively when the pound is weak.

(12) Forgetting to pass it forward

In a year’s time, when your further down the line and you have knowledge that will help someone out, don’t forget to help them, share that knowledge and pass it forward. Hopefully the person you’ve helped will help someone else in the future and you’ll have started something good.

Gillian Logan is the founder and creator of the Skinny Sketcher range of drawing kits for children. She will be attending the Inventors Workshop as a mentor on 20 September at Whittlebury Hall in Northampton. The workshop is a unique opportunity for toy designers to pitch ideas direct to buyers from toy giants including Hasbro.

In other lessons from the toy industry, Mattel showcased innovation this year and unleashed a line of diverse Barbie dolls to broaden its target audience.

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