Small Business Brief


How to Develop a Product: 7 Important Steps to Take

There are several new products introduced to the market each year. At least 80% of them fail, and one of the reasons for this is the lack of a good development strategy. 

The way you develop and launch your product can either make or break your business. Knowing how to develop a product is therefore vital. 

When you are planning to develop a new product, you must be ready to face the hurdles that you will meet along the way. This is because bringing your vision into reality is one of the tough challenges that you can face in your business.

Take a look at some of the steps that you can take to help you develop your product. 

1. Evaluate Your Ideas

It is common for entrepreneurs to get stuck on this first step, especially if you have several good ideas that you want to explore. Even though coming up with something new is fun, it can turn out to be a burden if you do not know what to explore first. 

You can also get a product idea by asking questions about existing products and come up with a product that can modify, adapt, substitute, combine or reverse the existing products. Analyze products descriptions and online marketplaces for inspiration on how to reinvent trends.

2. Market Research

Once you have an idea on the product that you want to develop, do not go straight to production before validating that idea. Product validation is one of the critical steps that you should not fail to take. You might end up wasting a lot of time and money on a product that will not sell.

To validate your idea, you can explore various options, including:

  • Getting feedback from an online survey
  • Sharing the idea with your friend or family and getting their opinion
  • A crowdfunding campaign
  • Asking for feedback from various forums like Reddit 
  • Make use of social media platforms

Ensure that you collect feedback only from an unbiased and substantial audience. Ask your potential customers about what they like or dislike about your competitors, especially the market leader, and use that information to define your competitive advantage.

The information that you gather during market research will help you predict the level of competition that you are up against, the demand for the product that you want to develop, and define PIM.

3. Planning

You need to take your time and plan even before you begin working on the prototype. You do not want to start looking for raw materials if you have no idea how you want your product to look like or how it will function.

Draw a handwritten sketch of what the product will look like and try to sketch out the details as much as you can. Include labels explaining the products’ functions and features. At this stage, you do not need a professional or quality drawing since this is not what you will be submitting to the manufacturer.

As you plan, do not forget to consider how much you want the product to retail at and the category it will fall into. This is also where you decide if you will use environmentally friendly materials, the labels, packaging that you will use, and the overall quality of the materials too. 

4. Create the Prototype

This is a vital stage when developing a product. No matter how good the product is or how positive the results of the market research are, you should not go directly into production. This stage is where you create a finished product that you will use as a sample for the production.

It is highly unlikely that you will get the right product with the right design that you wanted on the first attempt. Prototyping gives you the chance to experiment with the various versions of the product, eliminate some options, and make improvements until you end up with a product that you are satisfied with.  

5. Market Testing 

When the prototype is ready, you also need to know what your potential customers feel about the product. The feedback you collect during the testing will allow you to adjust the product as necessary or develop a different version for it to sell. 

Carry out the market testing in different areas, get to know why the sale is high or low, which area records the highest sales and why. Take note of factors like the pricing versus the customers, the demand, and the effectiveness of your marketing messages.

6. Source, Cost and Produce

You are now ready to produce your product. First, find the right materials and the partners you need to produce the product. The right vendors will help you get your product ready for the market at the right time.

Price your product with all the information you have gathered and the cost of the materials too. The way you set your prices will determine how much profit you make and if that profit will sustain the production cost of the product.  

If you are confident that you have the right vendor and have set the price right, you can go ahead and produce your product and get them ready for the market. 

7. Prepare to Launch

Based on the marketing test results, you should be able to know how many products you should produce during the first round of the launch. Advertise and market your product extensively before the launch. Make your customers eager to use it. 

Do not wait until you launch the product to sell it. Ensure that it is available to your customers in stores ahead of the launch. 

These Steps will Guide You on How to Develop a Product Successfully 

Knowing how to develop a product successfully is vital to your business. No one wants to develop a product that will not hit the market. With these steps, you will be able to not only develop the right product but also have fun while doing it.

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