The business industry - today's customers, are all hyped about innovations. A certain level of amazement comes with presenting something completely new yet valuable for the market (or even something old with a few tweaks of improvement on the side). No matter what type of business you are involved in, creating a product development plan is an essential task that you have to undergo. To develop a product, whether or not it is for something that hasn’t been done before, is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, patience, and effort to plan and push through the steps with precision and accuracy until their completion. But no need to worry and/or panic. Today, we will be talking you through it all. We will introduce you by giving you an overview of product development, the importance of product development, and how you can make a development plan for your business.
What is Product Development?
Have you ever heard those success stories about how they started in their garage or in their rooms, worked their way out, and now have a successful business with its own factory or offices or headquarters? Well, those are not just success stories. Internally, they can be described as the product development process. When we talk about product development, it does not only refer to the process involved when you physically develop a product. In its complete sense, product development is the process that starts from the conception of an idea and ends with the customers having a hold of the product - the idea that has been brought to reality. It is a process that does not occur in a straight line, contrary to what you have imagined. Ask anyone, and they’ll say it has been a roller coaster ride.
Many steps and tiny processes must be taken to complete the whole process. And as such, there can also be a lot of people involved - especially when it comes to big companies. Engineers, innovators, product managers, marketing people, operational managers, and teams should be involved because they are vital to its success. However, note that each of these people is only necessarily involved in one or a couple of stages in the product development. Thus, don’t be afraid of starting out on your own but also remember that it is completely normal to ask for help to accomplish some steps. Also, even with the best product development plan, there is still a possibility that you will need to improvise something along the way either because something went wrong or you discovered information that would make things better.
The importance of product development lies in the fact that your business's success relies on the quality of what you offer. And no matter the kind of business you have started or want to get started, you will have to go through the process to develop a product that does not only function well but is also relevant to the market in which you intend to sell. There is a need to emphasize the importance of product development because it is a vital process for you. Some people make the mistake of just blatantly bringing an idea they have to live, selling it to the highest bidder, then calling it a day. While that can give you profit, it is not a reliable business model. Thus, not skipping a step in the product development process is essential to making a successful product and business.
A product development plan is a tool that will guide you throughout the whole development process. But contrary to popular belief, it is and should not be a strict directive for you to follow. Because while you would want things to go according to plan, sometimes the circumstances require you to think on your feet and devise a strategic solution to any deviations along the way. Note also that because product development is a non-linear process, you are bound to discover and learn things as you go about it - things that you can and may use even if it was not part of your original product development plan.
Starting a product development plan is simple because you just have to lay down the different stages of product development. However, the plan's content for each stage makes it tedious (yet very worth it). Let’s try to go through each of them:
Every big thing started with a small idea, isn’t that what they always say. The product development process starts with you staying with an idea you have, brainstorming with a team or a friend, and building on that idea and how you can make it a reality. You can get insights from trusted people to develop or improve your idea and your product. These ideas can come quickly and spontaneously, or it could take much time for you to come up with one, so be patient with yourself. Write everything down but learn to narrow down ideas so they won’t become too messy or counterproductive.
Once you have come up with a good idea, the next step in making your product development plan is to do your research. Even if you come up with the best ideas, you won’t have much to go on if you cannot back it up with the proper data. Getting the right information will help you in this step and the succeeding steps of this whole process. Doing your research doesn’t involve just looking for information on how to make your idea a reality. It is also imperative for you to already do your market research, customer research, etc. After all, the product development process does involve getting your product to the market.
The next stage in product development is building your prototype. Now, depending on your idea and the product you want to create, this might take a long time, but it is what ensures that your product actually works. Building a prototype involves intense planning and research. It includes a great deal of coming up with sketches, lists of materials, diagrams, etc. Whether you will be building your own prototype or having a professional do it, coming up with the proper plan helps ensure that the product in your idea is properly brought to life. Your prototype is a vital ingredient in this process because it will be the basis of your next steps.
Now that you’ve built your prototype, it is time to encourage the idea of finding partners and suppliers for your materials, ingredients, manufacturing, etc. This is another factor in the importance of product development. Skipping steps may lead you to miss vital information about building and creating your product. Sourcing means building your whole supply chain. This means not only finding suppliers for the materials and parts of your product, but you might also want to already consider materials for packaging, partners for shipping, mass production manufacturers, and storage companies.
Of course, don’t forget to factor in one of the most defining elements of any business endeavor: finances. Not only do you have to look into how much it costs to develop a product, but you also have to consider all the costs that go into mass-producing, packaging, and getting it to your customers. This is an integral part of the product development plan because this will tell you how much you need to actually bring the business up its feet. It is also one of the only things investors or partners will look into if you ever decide to bring in some. Doing product costing will not only help you determine how much you need to invest in your business. It will also determine the selling price of your product - which is why you need to be very careful about your sourcing.
Last but not least in your product development plan is how you would package your product and bring it to market. Of course, in the actual product development process, this comes after you actually mass-produce your product. But for your product development plan to be complete, you must already lay down your marketing strategies and plan. This includes plans on how to physically package your products, display them in your store, and get the word out about your products. This is where online marketing strategies come into play. Nowadays, having an online store for your products can make a huge difference in marketing and selling your products. And website builders like Strikingly allow you to do that and so much more about your products and marketing.
Product development is no easy process to complete, that’s for sure. But going through with it until the end is worth every minute of your talent and creative genius. Take your time, and be your own self. This article is merely a guide to jumpstart your product development process, but you can and should do things the best you see fit for your product. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, be unique, and do your own thing.
And when you are all done with the other steps and what’s left is for you to package your product and sell it to the market, know that Strikingly has your back and is ready to help you out. So sign up with Strikingly and have a reliable partner until the end.