So you’ve had an idea for a product but you don’t know how to take the next step. Here’s some ideas on how to start developing your product to get it market-ready.
1. Evaluate and define
Ok, so you’ve got a product that you want to develop. The first thing you need to do is to evaluate the market and assess the potential.
Before you get into the detail of exactly what your product will look like and how it will function, it’s important to establish whether there is the potential to make money. Is the cost of producing your product likely to be less than the cost you can sell it for? You will want to feel confident that there is a sufficiently large market out there to make developing your product worthwhile.
If you are ticking boxes then you can take some time to define your value proposition: what will your product do and mean to people? Start thinking about the story you can create around your product and the way that your customers use it. Then it’s time to ask some customers for their thoughts.
2. Test it
An important part of the product development process is understanding how customers will interact with your product and how they already interact with the products of your competitors. This can allow you to gain important and valuable insights into details that can be added or taken away to enhance the user experience and differentiate your product from others in the market.
An important part of the testing process is actually asking potential customers whether they would buy your product. What would it take for them to change supplier or behaviour in order to use your product? This will give you important insights into features to incorporate into your product, and/or sales and marketing incentives you can introduce when you launch.
3. Re-define and re-evaluate
Now you get to take all your findings back to the product and have a re-think. Review your value proposition and work out if you can still achieve what you wanted to.
With any changes that you make to your product, remember that what you take away can be as valuable as what you add. Often the best product has an element of simplicity – whether in design or purpose.
Allow your product to evolve based on the feedback you receive and start thinking about how you take it forward to the next stage. There are a range of options for you: re-test the product with the same or different consumers; create a small quantity of product and test consumer’s reaction to it in the marketplace; create a prototype, etc. The type of product you are developing will determine the best way forward.
The most important thing to remember about product development is that you need to have a customer and they must either need or want your product. A careful process of defining your product and testing it with a group of likely customers will help you determine the viability of your idea. It will also give you some great ideas for how to refine your product and take it forward for a successful market launch.