Coming up with an idea and making that idea a reality is never easy. In other words, inventing a product idea and taking it from the point of conception to being a real item is a considerable challenge.
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Developing a new product the wrong way can become a more expensive exercise than it should be. On the other hand, the right approach with the right methods will allow businesses to hit the ground running on a positive note.
To make sure that you take off properly, take a look below. In this article, you will find various tips that will help you with your own product development journey.
A tip for your brainstorming sessions
Before you can start with the prototyping process, you have to sit down with your team members and do some serious brainstorming. These sessions are a must because they will help you spot any shortcomings in your product design. Once you determine these shortcomings, you’ll be able to address them before you start the whole production run process.
For a useful prototyping process, you should organize brainstorming sessions where you will toss ideas around with your colleagues that work on the development process with you.
Depending on the type of your business and the product that you are developing, there may only be a small number of people across your organization who are actively involved in its development. On the other hand, there may be numerous individuals or departments that have input on its design.
Whatever your case, you should ensure that your prototypes end up in front of the right individuals at every stage of the development process. If you manage to do this, you will always get the most useful and relevant feedback from people who are in a position to provide it.
What about the actual prototyping process?
Prototyping the product you want to launch is essential if you want to release it in the best possible manner. A comprehensive product development process will make it easy to identify any problems in your product design and address them well before they cause you any problems.
The earlier on in the product development phase that you can spot any errors, the cheaper and easier it is to fix them. Prototyping, therefore, does not have to be a burdensome and complicated process. As a matter of fact, it is usually best to start with a simple outline of your product on paper.
The paper should outline all the key features and functionalities of your product, and it also needs to state how you plan to implement them. That is the only way you can evaluate and refine your design.
Once you have finished the initial version of your prototype, you can work your way up to a functioning physical prototype and then head to the final design. Gradually, you will work your way up to a working model that demonstrates the practical features of the product.
However, keep in mind that your working prototype does not have to include every single detail that the final product is supposed to have. However, it should provide a good approximation for you to further refine the design and work out the changes of the next version.
You will reach the stage where you’ll be ready to produce a more advanced final prototype and that stage will provide you with many possibilities. One important thing to note here is that you have a lot of methods that you can use for development nowadays.
For instance, you could go with prototype injection molding. This kind of service is ideal if you want to make rigid plastic prototypes of your new product. However, you can also choose different methods for creating new prototypes such as silicone molding or 3D printing, but injection molding remains the best option.
Start thinking about your MVP
The MVP stands for the minimum viable product, which is the bare-bones prototype of your product. Your MVP will only have the core and functional elements of your product. It should not contain all of the additional features that may be added later.
The MVP is there to test your product’s ability to reach certain user experience goals. However, this version doesn’t mean that it will be market-ready in terms of its design or ornamental features.
It will allow you to test and make adjustments to your product while saving you time and resources. Test it with your target groups and you will be able to analyze your product’s core functionalities and receive feedback on what would make the user experience better.
The MVP also serves as a great asset for developing collateral and marketing material as well as having something to demonstrate on sales pitches. That can come in handy if you are seeking the attention of venture capitalists.
Determine your focus groups
Your focus groups can help you even when you are in the pre-launch phase. They have been a popular way of acquiring customer feedback and they can be invaluable to businesses when they are used properly.
The gathered feedback coming from your focus groups (both negative and positive) will provide you with some of the most valuable insights that you will ever receive for your product development process.
You should also, keep in mind that negative feedback from focus groups and customer research should not necessarily push you away from pursuing the path that you want. However, it will allow you to change direction if you are heading down a road that is obviously not as popular as you wanted it to be.
Maybe the best feature you had does not resonate well with your audience or the design is not meeting the grade. Your audience can tell you that, but that can happen only if you ask them properly – by organizing a focus group.
Consider first-gen versions for market testing
One important part of all testing that needs to happen is the first generation versions testing in the ‘live’ market setting.
Once you have a fully functional MVP, you should start selling and you will then receive feedback from genuine customers, not just focus groups.
So, the sooner you start shipping, the more information you can gain, and you will also spend less time refining the product.
Introduce your product early and you will have a chance to learn faster and tailor it to what your customers really want. The longer you wait, the more resources you will spend on a product that may not be so attractive to your market.
That being said, as soon as the first batch hits the retail, start analyzing sales, behavior, and the feedback you receive from your customers. These will help you make further adjustments until you perfect your product.
If you want to be innovative, you have to release unique products that offer something new to the market. But you should also modify your old products or offer new or additional benefits to your customers if you want to maintain your place in the industry.
This is the only way to secure steady business growth. Provided that you do your best to perfect your product development processes, you will have a higher chance of hitting serious business growth.