For any business which produces goods of any kind, a strong and thoroughly planned product development process is necessary. It is helpful to always try and remember that the finished product is what the customer ends up with in their hands.
It is one of the strongest examples of something which can dramatically affect a customer’s perception of your business and your brand; in short, if you care at all about what your customer thinks of your company, then putting a consistent and thoughtful effort into your product development is always going to be a top priority.
Product development is very often one of those things which becomes significantly easier with practice, so it is a good idea to try and get as much practice with it as you can. In this article, we are going to take a look at the whole process of developing a product from start to finish. Make sure you are fully aware of every stage of the process, as each is important in its own way.
The first necessary step in the development of any product is fairly obvious: to generate ideas about what you should produce. There are many ways of going about this, and it is worth getting used to several if you want your business to succeed in this endeavour.
One of the most popular and frequently successful options is also one of the simplest: you simply research the market for any problems which do not yet have solutions. Looking for issues which need to be solved is one of the best ways of coming up with an idea for a product, simply because this way you can ensure that you create something which is actually going to sell. If you are solving a common problem, you can be sure that people will be grateful for that.
It also means that you might have the opportunity to trademark the idea, something which could mean significant further success for your business. Alternatively, you might decide to build a product simply because your team thinks it is a good idea, and that it suits your business and your brand.
When you have a number of ideas for a new product to choose between, it is time to decide on which one you will produce first. Unless you are running a large corporation with a lot of money, time and manpower, you will probably only be producing one product at a time, so make sure that it is one you are happy with. It is a good idea to get all the relevant employees from various teams together for this process, as it is always best if everyone is fully behind the idea being suggested. You will probably need to consider a huge variety of things in order to make this decision, so it is advisable to spend a decent amount of time on this process. When comparing ideas, bear in mind too that there is nothing that says that you can’t later produce some of the other ideas too. You are simply deciding at this stage which product to make as a matter of priority.
Once everyone is agreed on what to make, it is time to start the actual building of the product. This is one of the most important stages in the process, as building the prototype gives you an opportunity to discover exactly what problems might occur in the building of the product itself. In essence, this is what the prototype is for: to determine any major issues which might need figuring out. As such, it is worth instructing your relevant teams to take this process fairly slowly and steadily, as that way everyone is more likely to notice any important issues which will need addressing later on. The initial development stage is one of the most important, so make sure that everyone treats it as such.
Once you have an initial prototype to work with, it is time to test it out. The process of testing requires that you push the product to its extreme limits to see how it fares. No matter what kind of product you are making, there are bound to be certain legal restrictions and guidelines which you need to work within, so now is the time to make sure that you are producing something capable of doing so. You are also testing the product in a variety of possible situations in which it might find itself, so make sure that you try it out exactly as it is meant to be used to get the full effect of that. Done right, the testing process can throw up a huge number of possible issues which will need dealing with. It is important at this point to have the right frame of mind. If you think of any issues that arise as problems, then you are missing the point. In fact, they are opportunities to develop the product to a more ideal version of itself. With this frame of mind, you should actually actively seek out problems with the product, so that you can fix them as soon as possible. It is always better to have more problems in the prototype than in the final product, so make sure that you do.
Once you have tested the product to ensure it does exactly what it is supposed to, there is another kind of testing which you need to undergo. It is just as important to test the product with your target market, so that you can determine how popular it is likely to be amongst the kind of people you will be marketing it to. You are also trying to determine any problems there might be with the usage of the product, as this is an important part of the development process too. Give your test subjects a good opportunity to play around with it; encourage them to try and break it, even. There is another, more subtle, benefit to holding a focus group at this stage. By introducing your new product to a few select people, you can be sure that they will tell a few people by word of mouth about the product. Essentially, you will get some free marketing out of this process as well – and that is always welcome.
Back To The Drawing Board
After a thorough analysis and testing of the prototype, it is time to go back to the drawing board and fix and errors or make any improvements which might be necessary. You are looking to create a finished product fairly soon, so this new design will need to be as flawless as possible. Of course, you should take it through all the same stages as you did before, as the testing is essential to ensuring that you get it just right.
Here comes one of the most exciting stages in the whole journey: the finished product. At this point, it goes without saying that you will hope to create a product which you are as happy with as is possible. After rigorous testing and retesting, you want to make sure what you end up with in your hands is as good as possible. One of the most important factors to consider here is that the product is as polished and finished as possible. Using a finishing system might be a good idea here, as it enables you to provide the ultimate finish to your product, no matter what it is. If you are unsure what a finishing system is, view it at Reliant Finishing Systems. Putting your product through this will ensure that it looks as professional as possible.
It is now nearly time to put your product on sale, but first you need to make sure that people are actually going to buy it. Marketing is incredibly important, as this is how you ensure that the product sells from the first. It is a good idea to start marketing as early as possible. One particularly powerful method is to employ a drip marketing campaign early on, followed by a burst campaign just before the launch. However, you will need to do whatever your budget and your time allowances allows. However you do it, marketing is an essential part of the process which you need to put a lot of effort into for greater sales and greater results.
Finally, it’s the time you have been waiting for. It can be a real delight getting your product on sale after all that time in development, so this is usually a moment to savour. You will need to make some decisions at this stage still, such as where to sell your product, how to price it, and so on. Make those decisions early, and get them right, and your product is bound to sell as well as you hope. With any luck, the sales will provide you with the necessary resources to begin developing a new, even more exciting, product.