Having an innovative product idea is the first step in the product life cycle. The next thing you want to do is start the product development process. Even though this process differs by industry, there are five stages that are common for every product.
Here are the essential steps you need to take to get the development of your product started.
1. Come Up With Product Concept & Ideation
The first thing you need to do with your idea is to turn it into a product concept. This can be a very lengthy process, but, the good news is that there are endless ways to do it.
Start by writing down your product idea on a piece of paper and, if possible, write a few of its features. Then, you need to point out what is the main purpose of the product, who is it meant for, and how can it solve the potential user’s problem.
How can you know that your product concept is done? Well, when its description is detailed yet simple enough for your grandma to understand it.
2. Do Thorough Research
Before starting your product development process, you need to thoroughly research the current trends, your market, competitors, and target audience. By doing so, you will be able to validate your idea and create a product people will want to pay for.
You can validate your product idea by talking to your friends and family, carrying out an online survey, or even asking for opinions on online forums. An unbiased audience will provide objective feedback and help you understand how could your product perform once you launch it.
You should also analyze your competitors as a part of this research. By visiting their website and even signing up for their email list, you will get ideas on how to attract visitors and turn them into customers. In addition, competitor research can help you learn from others’ mistakes and create a better, more advanced product.
3. Develop a Plan
Once you have all the information you need, you can start working on your product prototype. However, it is recommended to first develop a detailed plan to minimize the chances of things going south.
The best way to start planning is to draw a sketch of your product and make it as detailed as possible. You can even include labels that explain the different features and functions of your product.
In addition to this, you should also plan product development and marketing. Here, you can take into account factors such as your budget, potential costs once the product is launched, and even the point when your product will become profitable.
4. Creating a Prototype
The prototyping phase is incredibly important in the product development process. In this stage, you will create a final version of your product that will be used as a sample for mass production. Keep in mind that it is quite unlikely you will get a finished product after just one attempt. Prototyping involves plenty of experimenting and making changes and improvements until you get the desired result.
If you’re a DIY person, then you may be able to create the prototype on your own. But, in general, it is the easiest to hire a third-party professional to prototype your product. For example, if you’re thinking of developing a new product in the fashion industry, you can hire a seamstress or a cobbler to help you come up with a prototype for your clothes or shoes.
5. Production, Marketing, and Distribution
Once you have a prototype ready, you will be able to write the technical specifications of your product. If you’re not sure, you can always find an external designer who will provide the specifications for you. Then, you’re ready to search for someone who will manufacture your product.
And, that’s it! Once you finish this last stage of the product development process, you should start planning a sales and marketing strategy as well as a product distribution strategy.
In this article, we listed the most common steps in the product development process. Of course, each product can have some additional development stages. However, these five that we listed are supposed to guide you in the right direction and help you get things right on the first try.
The product development process can be quite overwhelming. But, following our tips will help you break down this complex task and successfully bring a new product to the market.