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    How to Get the Most Out of Your Product Development Process

    Bringing your idea for an original product to life is often one of the biggest hurdles for early-stage entrepreneurs. You know that you have a vision that can bring value to a target market, but you aren’t sure exactly how to bring your product to that market. 

    This process can become especially demanding if you’ve never done it before, as you may not even know where to begin. 

    Fortunately, a pattern exists in the product development process, which is a strategy that will help you get the most out of it and bring your ideas to life. Read on to discover how it’s actually done. 

    Overview: What is product development? 

    New product development is the process of converting an idea into a feasible software product.

    The NPD process is about seizing the market opportunity around customer needs, checking the idea’s practicability, and delivering working software. It’s also being used as an umbrella term that sticks to the stages of the software development process and works on marketing products that already have a proof concept or they work.

    Although it can be a rather tedious process that often requires repetition, it is all done to ensure that your product is the best, and it can be before it reaches your audience and solves their pain points in the best possible way.

    Before looking into how to develop a product, let’s consider some of the fundamentals of product development. This helps you save a lot of time and effort by making sure you’ve considered the following before embarking on the product creation process. 

    Does your idea cover a real need? 

    The importance and reappearance of the need will define the size of your potential market for the product. An idea-driven concept is more likely to appeal to the existing demand, and the market will also be converted in order in order to sell your product. 

    Do you have manufacturing capability for your product?

    While anything can be adapted or created from a photo using Photoshop, engineering doesn’t really work like that. From a technical viewpoint, can this product concept be manufactured? 

    How can they reach your product?

    Is there a means of delivery and transport for the product idea for that target audience, or will you have to be creative and build new distribution relationships?

    That’s clearly easier today due to the existence of logistic solutions and eCommerce platforms, enabling brands to sell and deliver to almost any part of the world. 

    Stages of Product Development 

    Although we try to describe the product creation process as a series of chronological steps to reach an end goal, the reality can be very different. Truth is, the stages of new product development often appear in a confusing order, and you will be going back and forth between these steps: 

    Idea generation 

    The new product development process begins with idea generation, where you brainstorm one (or more) ideas that will help you solve current customer pain points in a new and innovative way.

    As you come up with new ideas that will help you solve customer needs, it’s crucial to have a strong understanding of your target audience and the problems they have that you want to solve. Often the process takes a lot of time as you’re juggling ideas, friendly advice, user input, and market feedback. Documenting the journey can help you better define the concept of a product in a written form. 

    You then describe the product’s core functionality, the needs it meets, and who it’s meant for. When those lines explain the idea in the simplest of terms, you’ve succeeded in this step. 

    • Brainstorm: An organized brainstorming session is a must. Remember to keep an entirely open mind and take notes throughout the session. 
    • Pitch proof: Don’t be afraid to present your unique idea to others. This can help you build the pitch and the positioning of your product. 

    Research Stage 

    Once you’ve developed an idea, the next step is conducting research to MAKE IT REAL. You may feel inclined to jump ahead to production, but that can become a misstep if you fail to validate your initial concept. 

    Product validation ensures you’re developing something people will pay for and that you won’t waste money, time, and effort on an idea that won’t sell. There are various steps you can take do to this, like: 

    • Market research to understand the current sentiment in your industry, and if there are any gaps that your product will fit into, and if there will even be demand for it. By emphasizing on existing data sources, you can try to generalize or cross-reference market numbers to build up a quantitative view of the market for all new products. It doesn’t have to be precise as long as your suggestions are clear and credible. 
    • Competitor analysis to understand if your audience thinks there are things your competitors’ service or products lack that you can implement into your product to better match your customer’s needs.

     During the research stage, you can also receive early feedback from users about what they think of your ideas before coming up with a concluding definition for your product.

    Planning and formulating the final product idea 

    When you define your final product, you will want to know if you have the necessary materials or find production partners that will participate in the manufacturing.

    Planning also involves coming up with a robust marketing strategy that will help you successfully market when the product is completed, pricing options that make sense for the product, and that your customer will pay. 

    Prototyping phase  

    This phase is often referred to as a minimum viable product (MVP), which is a beta version of your product, that will help you get an idea of how it works and identify any gap that needs to be improved. 

    You will most likely create multiple prototypes and go back and forth between this stage and the testing stage before it’s all truly set. 

    Testing & verification phase 

    In-depth testing of the final product takes place to evaluate the robustness of the design and its ability to meet performance and customer requirements. 

    Essentially, you want your product to be used in real-life situations, so you know exactly what works and what doesn’t 

    Manufacturing phase 

    Plans, speech, and other relevant documentation are moved to manufacture for production. This stage involves creating the final product that will be commercialized once completed. 

    Depending on your business type, you will likely have a different process for product development. For instance, if you are a SaaS company, programming or software development teams will likely work to finalize the code. If you develop a physical product, you may outsource operations for certain components and assemble final products in your warehouse. 

    Commercialization 

    The final phase of your new product development process is commercialization, where you introduce your new product to the market. At this point, a product development team will hand the reins over to your marketing team for a product launch. 

    You will enact your marketing endeavors to make your audiences aware of your new product and enact marketing campaigns that will compel them to become customers.

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