If you’ve got a really great idea for a product, you need to step back before you invest too heavily in it. These days, technology moves at lightning speed. By the time you found suppliers for your components, employees for the assembly line and fully launched your product, it might be superseded by someone else. Not only do you need to work quickly in this business, but you need to select the ideas that will stand the test of time. Are you ready to develop a future-proof product for your company?
What You’re Up Against
There will be plenty of challenges to overcome for any business moving into a new product area. But you also need to consider how the world is changing. Most new businesses are online. They provide services, not products. You’re attempting to provide a solution for a problem, but how long will that problem affect us in the digital world?
Start by conducting a simple SWOT analysis. Understanding your weaknesses and threats will help you decide to continue developing this idea or not. Don’t ignore the opportunities you discover though. Chances are your product will become dated. But the developments and concepts you explore with that first product should be able to lead you to the next big thing. That’s how you future-proof your product.
Once you’ve established exactly what your product will be, you might find yourself needing a new workspace to produce it. It’s not easy to make a move, but if you aren’t ready to expand, you might need an extra space temporarily. Renting is the obvious answer here. Some of your key members of staff may need to relocate for a while as well. Can you add those costs to the finished products without losing market share?
As well as hiring a few extra employees to help you develop and assemble your products, you’re going to need a good supplier for your components. When you’re working with technology, it is usually best to go for good quality that is reliable. Your company’s reputation could be ruined if your product fails because of poor components. You might need Moons’ stepper motors, drives, and servos. These are readily available, reducing how much you need to manufacture in-house. You can get on with assembling your products more quickly and easily from base components.
Testing and Refinement
Each territory will have different requirements for safety and standards that your product needs to meet. Depending on the application, you might need to hire someone to keep on top of industry or regulatory standard changes too. To achieve your accreditation, you will probably have to hand over test documentation. This will include the details from all of your components too. Without formal certification or approval, your product may never make it to shelves.
To future-proof your product, make sure you also test and refine the packaging. You should have a marketing team that regularly refreshes your products, so they look good and attract the right customers. You might sell the same product in two different styles so you can appeal to two different demographics. Future-proofing often involves finding more and more applications for your product. Then you can increase the lifespan or longevity.
Of course, your marketing team has an even bigger part to play than just designing the packet. They are the people that will help you develop new product ideas based on response to your current one. Focus groups are enormously helpful for identifying customer thoughts and feedback. Their ideas can quickly lead to the next big thing for you. Market research identifies gaps in the market that you can fill with future product ideas.
Your marketing team is also there to launch and promote your products. They use their advertising skills to garner interest and hype. They find the right influencers to talk about your product and attract more leads toward your sales team. They’ll find you the right distribution channels to suit your business model and increase your profits. There is no point launching a product if you have no idea how to bring to the paying customers.
The products that are most likely to stand the test of time all meet the same criteria:
- They solve a common problem
- They feature several applications
- They are fast to develop and bring to market
- They can evolve to new products in the future
- They bring in more opportunities for marketplace knowledge
- They are cost effective and priced right for the target customers
Are your product ideas future-proof?