Creating a new product is an exciting and challenging process. When done correctly, a product launch can yield significant profits and bolster a business’s brand. When done incorrectly, it can be financially and emotionally devastating.
Having a structure in your approach is key to creating a successful new product. Here are some helpful tips for adding that structure and creating mindful processes.
Set Strong Goals:
Before you start the heavy lifting in creating a new product, it’s important to set strategic goals that will act as the guidelines for a project plan. For your first product release, it’s wise to take a conservative approach to goal setting. For example, your goal might be to cover your product launch and manufacturing expenses in the first quarter following launch. You could break that down into monthly and even weekly goals to set yourself up for success.
Of course, having a goal isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be successful. It’s simply the foundation on which you’ll build your product roadmap.
Build a Product Roadmap:
Your goal is your destination, but how will you get there? You need to create a detailed roadmap that identifies key tasks that must be completed, hidden steps that it will take to get there, deadlines, and responsible team members. For this purpose, it’s recommended that you use product roadmap software to keep everything well organized in a central location and assist with prioritization and decision making.
A roadmap is a powerful project management tool that can be used to refocus and redirect, as well as keep stakeholders informed of what’s happening within the project. Even entrepreneurs who are doing it alone should have one of these planning databases at their fingertips.
Start Outreach Early:
Once you’re at the point where you know your new product is really happening, it’s time to start outreach and marketing efforts. These can start on a small scale and get more excessive as the launch nears. Depending on the nature of the product and the core business, outreach efforts can include:
- Devising a marketing and launch plan
- Reaching out to influencers to start building a rapport
- Talking about the product on social media to generate buzz
- Networking and being vocal about what you’ve been working on
Outreach can quickly become a project of its own. It’s important to keep details and notes of the things you do and responses you get, highlighting things you wish you had done or tasks you had started sooner. Having this information organized creates a structure for the next time, which will make your efforts improved and more efficient.
Focus on the Customer, Not the Product:
When Steve Jobs would host a product launch for the latest Apple gear, he wouldn’t sell a revolutionary product; he’d sell his audience the revolutionary life the product will give them. The key to sales and marketing-- and thus the successful creation of a new product-- is not focusing on profitability and cool features. Selling is about generating an emotional response in a customer, compelling them to buy. Customers don’t buy a product; they buy a solution to a perceived problem.
Having a defined target demographic is essential from day one. It should be clear enough that when asked by a stakeholder, you can quickly identify the gender, age group, geographic location, etc. with confidence. During outreach and strategizing, the focus should always be “how is this helping a customer?” and “how can I show the customer that they need this product?”
The most successful companies are data-driven. They do ample research to collect data regarding their projects and make decisions based on the information provided. By having clear goals and a roadmap, as well as data-driven decision-making practices, you can successfully create a new product that will sell.