Four tips for product development success

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When your business starts to make a profit, you’re naturally going to look for ways to capitalize on that momentum and keep growing. For those in the business of developing products, then developing a new product is the logical next step. But it’s one that can end in disaster, lost money and a product that doesn’t sell if you aren’t prepared. Here’s how you avoid that.

  1. Research, research and research: Before you start working around the clock on that brilliant new idea, you need to investigate if it is actually a brilliant idea by asking the market. If you run a website, use customer data like on-site search engine analysis to find out what they’re looking for. Ask customers directly for feedback on what they might like to see. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and see if you’re hitting any niches they’re neglecting or improving on a niche. Make sure you have evidence for the viability of your idea before you spend time and money developing it.
  2. Plan it out piece by piece: There are a lot of different processes that go into designing a new product. There’s the brainstorming, the market research, the design, prototypes, testing, production, marketing and so on. It’s a lot to deal with at once. Some businesses might make the mistake of tackling whichever seems convenient at the time. However, by planning your approach with project management software such as prince2 training, you can create a logical progression and spread your manpower out as you need to. Establish goals and how you’re going to reach them before you take even your first step. Proper project management also makes it easier to communicate any problems or developments in the process that need attention immediately.
  3. Hone the development process: Before you start mass production, make sure you’ve explored the development process as deeply as possible. Start with a prototype that’s tested internally and with a few choice industry specialists. Find the suppliers you need and begin a professional relationship with them. Make sure the plan mentioned above has clear specifications of goals relating to functionality and features and stick to them.
  4. The launch: Once you have it developed, tested, reiterated, and reiterated again, your product will ready for launch (if you’re lucky). Get the ball rolling early on it. Give a sneak peek to influencers in your industry. Announce the launch and start building hype for it through traditional marketing and online marketing. Host a large event where you invite the lucky few to be the first to see it. Offer a more intimate demonstration to some of your biggest clients. Then it’s all about shouting about the product as loud as you can with a marketing campaign and even a roadshow.

The final two elements of a successful product development are the customer and the process. Make sure the goals and steps of the process are outlined clearly so you stick to budget and time constraints. Then make sure you have the customer at the heart of those processes, that you’re never losing track of how it has value to them and how they learn about it. Nail down those two values and you should have a much better chance of landing a hit product.

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