Product development is the process of developing an entirely new product or the modification of an existing product.
New products are critical to the success and survival of most businesses.
For a new product to succeed, a business owner needs to take a number of calculated steps. They include developing a strategic plan to decide on what new products to invest in, developing a complete market and cost analysis and ensuring there are adequate resources to develop and launch the product.
A challenge for small companies is finding the right resources and skills needed to create and market the new product. Small companies may lack the internal resources needed to create a new product. In those cases, companies can look elsewhere for partnership and outsourcing opportunities with product development firms.
The product development process includes the studying of the product use, the customer needs and how to innovate and differentiate a product. Next steps include conceptual design solutions which then lead to fully detailed design and ultimately a prototype. At this stage, patent research should take place along with an application for new patents, when appropriate. Final steps include manufacturing and launching the product.
The launch stage is where an advertising or public relations agency can come into play, especially for small businesses without the internal resources to handle such a job themselves.
When using an outside agency to launch a product, a company should:
- Provide the agency with background information on its product and goals.
- Provide the agency with a formal business plan that defines the funding of the project.
- Collaborate on the proper timing for the launch.