[This article was written by Emma Sturgis.]
A new small business owner with a great product idea may still be a little lost when it comes to the steps they need to take to develop that product. It is a process you need to master all the same because your product is what your entire company depends upon for success. The following four-step guide will help you create a solid product development process that will serve your business well.
Come up with an Idea
The first step of any product development should be to come up with a concept. Ideally, this should be decided upon before you take any concrete steps to establish your business. Solicit feedback for your idea and perform market research to ensure there is sufficient demand for the product you are considering. Make something you are passionate about because that passion will drive you through the hardest parts of developing the product and running your business.
The next step should be considering the logistics of how the product will function, be built, manufactured and distributed. For example, if your product is going to be easily portable, what kind of design will it need to facilitate that? Will you manufacture the product yourself or do you need to find and contract with a manufacturer? Will you need special equipment such as earthmoving equipment? From what materials should the product be made? Generally speaking, you should never skimp on the materials or the manufacturing cost.
Next, you should consider how the product should be priced. This is a key detail that is often left until the last minute when it should not be. Price point should be determined by a number of factors, including the cost of materials, manufacturing, the price of similar products offered by your competitors, what customers are willing to pay and more. The cost of development and the cost of the education it took to be able to produce this product should also be considered.
Test the Product
The final step should be thoroughly testing the product to ensure it meets a number of key standards. These include legal standards put forward by the country and state in which the product is being manufactured and sold. These include standards concerning the functionality of the product—that it actually does what it is supposed to do. Finally, these include individual company standards of quality.
New small business owners should focus on developing their product the right way. Following the correct steps will help ensure you ultimately produce a quality product people want to buy. Also, be sure to change and update your development process as needed to continually improve it.
Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2