New products and services are the lifeblood of any organization. Although new launches can be risky, a well-thought out process leverages your risk to create a product or service with sticking power.
While most entrepreneurs with sure-fire ideas want nothing more than to pull the trigger and release the product/service into the wild, a systematic approach works best to ensure the greatest likelihood of financial success. Let’s take a look at the various stages of product/service development:
A. Direction – Idea generation is a systematic search for new product/service ideas. To create a few viable ideas, you may need to generate hundreds of ideas. Pick the brains of those around you – inside and outside of your business. Don’t hesitate to involve your own customers in your idea incubator.
Make sure you’re able to spot good ideas and drop poor ones quickly. Ask yourself –
- Is it consistent with my mission, vision, and strategies?
- Is it aligned with my objectives and goals?
- Do I have the resources and skills to make it happen?
- Does it deliver greater value to my target audience?
Screening your ideas ensures that any idea that gets through means added value to your clients – and you!
B. Design – Developing your concept gives you an opportunity to consider – and present – several options to your group of target consumers. Seeking input at the front end saves time and money at the back end.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, projected sales and profits, determined costs, established a budget, and identified your marketing mix, you’ll be ready to determine the viability of your product/service.
Having a good idea is not enough. It has to be good idea that’s profitable for your business to grow!
C. Test – Finally! Your product/service are ready to be introduced into a more-realistic market setting. This allows you to test your product/service AND its entire marketing program including positioning, pricing, branding, and advertising.
It’s important during the test stage to maintain an open mind for necessary adjustments or modifications that may need to be made for it to be a successful addition to your offerings.
D. Introduction – You’re ready for a full-fledged launch! In addition to rolling out your product/service to an entire target market, be sure to include a post-launch performance evaluation. Inspect what you expect.
Given the rapid change in consumer tastes, technology, and competition, the future of your business may well depend on your ability to conquer a new market with some innovation.