Are you a budding entrepreneur with several innovative ideas, but not sure if they would be successful? Are you brainstorming on developing a product but don’t know how to execute your ideas? Are you confused about where to begin? These are some of the most common questions that bother every entrepreneur. The process of developing a new product from concept to reality is one of the most crucial and challenging phases of every entrepreneurial journey. It is challenging because in this age of cut-throat competition and millions of options to choose from, creating a product that people actually want requires a lot of research and innovation. It may seem daunting in the beginning but if you follow this simple roadmap, you can surely build a product with a wide public appeal.
Kick start with Data Collection
You might have plenty of bright ideas for your product, but its success will be determined by these simple factors: utility, outcome and affordability. To begin with, the first and most important step in the process is identifying your target audience and keeping their perspective in mind throughout the product development process. But, how would you find out the consumer perspective? The best way to understand what consumers want is to ask them directly.
Today, there is no dearth of platforms or channels that can be utilized to communicate with consumers. From social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to marketing platforms or even simple surveys through emails, there are plenty of ways through which you can collect data from consumers. Some easy and effective ways to find out what people need, and more importantly what they want from a product, are surveys and feedbacks. You can conduct online or offline surveys by asking simple questions in a short questionnaire. Make sure to include questions about their pain points, preferences and expectations. Reach out to as many people as possible through different platforms so that you have sufficient information to proceed further. You can also go through the product reviews shared by consumers on various forums and e-commerce websites to understand their expectations.
Once your research is complete, use the data collected to create the best possible product by keeping in mind the following questions: Is your product fulfilling the needs of your consumers? Is your product delivering the outcome that the consumers desire? Is the product affordable and cost-effective for your target audience? These are some basic parameters that will help you design a product people want. You can prepare a list of issues that you want to address through your product and work on it.
Designing the Product
The next step is to design the prototype of your product based on your idea of what the product should be. With the help of the data collected, create a design that solves the problems in an existing product or offers something unique that is likely to raise your product’s appeal. Send this prototype to your manufacturer to create samples for you. Now, provide these samples for trials and solicit the feedback of your customers. At this stage, it is extremely important to seek consumer feedback, analyze it and make adjustments based on their reviews. Involving customers directly in the product development process and actively listening to their feedback not only establishes trust between you and your target audience but also facilitates you to build a more consumer-driven product.
You might have to go through several iterations to get the approval from your customers, but that is what will help you build a relevant product that people would willingly invest in. After all, the goal is to build a product that resonates with your consumers.
The Manufacturing Process
After your design has received the approval of your customers, you move on to the next phase, i.e. manufacturing. Manufacturing is a tedious task that requires utmost attention. The most important aspect of this phase is quality control. It is extremely important to ensure that every single unit of your product meets the quality standards as it can make or break the reputation of your company. Once you have done the quality checks, you can proceed with the marketing and launching of your product.
Eric Reis, an American entrepreneur and author talks about the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop in his book The Lean Startup. According to him, the purpose is not to develop the next sensational product, but to learn. He believes that every startup is a business experiment operating under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Every startup is and should be a learning organization undergoing the continuous cycle of Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop to create a successful product. And that is how you can create a product that would certainly thrive in a consumer-driven market.
– Swati Sinha