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6 essential stages of the product development process

One step at a time

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The journey to creating a novel, widely-loved product is rarely a straight line. Every nice firm began someplace, and their starting is perhaps extra humble than you assume — Amazon started out promoting books, and Shopify used to sell snowboards.


Product development refers to each step in the process of releasing a brand new product. The steps concerned in the product development process also can translate to renewing an present product and introducing an previous product to a brand new market. While you may not have the sources to begin creating your personal ecommerce product, it doesn’t harm to know what goes into the process.

In this text, we’ll undergo the six steps concerned in creating a brand new product — and hopefully make it much less intimidating for you.

Stage 1: Conceptualization

Have you ever had a fantastic product thought in the bathe? Congratulations, you’ve conceptualized one thing. Unfortunately, most individuals by no means get previous this stage of the product development process.

According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, 95% of new products fail. This is much less about the thought itself and extra about poor analysis, planning and execution.


When innovators rely solely on their preliminary thought as an alternative of doing the correct analysis, they miss out on necessary knowledge that will have helped them totally conceptualize their product.

As you start to strengthen your thought, it’s essential to sit down and ask the laborious questions:

  • Will this be fixing an issue? Be cautious of concepts that aren’t rooted in fixing an issue.
  • Who will purchase this product? It’s okay to be so progressive that folks don’t even know they want your product till they arrive throughout it. But you would possibly find yourself making one thing nobody needs.
  • Who is your competitors, and are you making a greater model of what they provide?
  • Can or not it’s manufactured? It could also be tempting to wish to be the first to create a business android, but when the market demand, supplies, and expertise to do it don’t exist, then it’s in all probability not a viable thought.

Once you may justify your thought, it’s time for the scary half — asking for different folks’s opinions.

Stage 2: Product validation

“I would pay good money for this.” Those are seven phrases that will make any entrepreneur swoon — and product validation entails discovering which clients will say that about your product.


Product validation ensures you’re constructing a product folks pays for and also you received’t waste time, cash or effort on a flop.

Pepsi famously misstepped with their Crystal Pepsi product as a result of they didn’t run it by their viewers first. Don’t be Pepsi.

You can validate your product concepts in a spread of methods, together with:

  • Running it by household and mates
  • Using a web-based survey or discussion board for suggestions
  • Starting a crowdfunding marketing campaign
  • Conducting market analysis utilizing Google Trends

You also can conduct a SWOT evaluation to find out whether or not your proposed thought is value investing in — or not.

Highlighting the strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, and threats of your thought will assist you to perceive whether or not your new product makes strategic sense.

Stage 3: Design and prototyping

Based on the suggestions you gathered whereas validating your product, you may transfer on to visualizing an in depth model of your thought.

Understanding what the product would possibly appear like and incorporating viewers suggestions might help you uncover potential issues or create a fair higher model of your thought.

The objective of the prototyping section is to create a completed product to make use of as a pattern for mass manufacturing. Prototyping entails creating and enhancing totally different variations of your product till you’ve a passable pattern.

You can select to DIY your prototype when you have the supplies and cash to place them collectively. To get began visualizing your thought, listed below are some ideas:

  • Nothing beats pen and paper — take your thought to the web page to create a tough draft of your product.
  • Although they’ve a studying curve, digital or 3D modeling packages will make the process simpler. You can attempt POP and InVision.
  • Use a 3D printer to develop your bodily prototype. This methodology of prototyping has grow to be extra standard as 3D printers grow to be extra mainstream.
  • Considering the rising ranges of instrument problem and the way costly it would get to spend money on bodily prototypes, think about outsourcing your prototype. Most entrepreneurs select to begin constructing a relationship with third-party producers at this level. You can ship them your designs and assessment the prototypes they return.

    Bonus Tip: Creating a prototype is a degree of dedication to your thought, so in case you don’t need legal issues in the future, (*6*) from this level on. The very last thing you need is a third-party stealing your thought — or worse, discovering out somebody has registered a patent in your product.

    Stage 4: Sourcing

    Once you’re happy along with your prototype, it’s time to begin buying supplies and securing the manufacturing companions you’ll want. Building your provide chain refers to the distributors, actions, and sources required to develop a product and get it to your clients.

    Concentrate on diversifying your provide chain, as this may assist you to examine prices by figuring out a number of suppliers for the varied supplies you’ll require, in addition to totally different potential producers.

    As you begin searching for suppliers, listed below are some necessary inquiries to ask:

    • How a lot will the supplies, manufacturing, and transport price per product? This will enable you as you set collectively costing, seek for funding, and decide your pricing technique.
    • What’s the minimal order amount it’s essential to order from the producer to begin working with them? If you may order ceaselessly, in low portions, it can save you on cupboard space and the preliminary capital wanted to begin.
    • What high quality of supplies are you searching for, and do they provide them? Discovering this may doubtless contain asking potential suppliers to ship the supplies so that you can assessment or visiting them immediately.
    • Do they provide fast and useful customer support? If you may’t belief that you simply’ll get fast responses out of your provider, they’re doubtless not a fantastic match.
    • Do they ship on time? You can check this by ordering from them and monitoring the quantity of time it takes the product to get to you.

    Although it might look like quite a bit of work, creating a very good basis along with your provider might help you thru many twists and turns of entrepreneurship. Knowing you may depend on your suppliers to do their jobs will enable you concentrate on different points of working what you are promoting. For extra recommendation, take a look at this in-depth guide to looking for a provider.

    Bonus Tip: Old college as it’s, commerce exhibits are nonetheless a extremely really useful path for locating suppliers. They’re additionally a fantastic place to get a pulse on which suppliers are trusted and respected in the business. You might not be capable of attend a bodily one, however digital ones occur regularly. To get began attending commerce exhibits, take a look at 10Times’ virtual directory.

    Stage 5: Costing and funding

    With your producer, viewers approval, and a bodily visualization of what your thought will appear like, you’ll want to find out the price of mass manufacturing.

    Once you’ve decided how a lot all the pieces’s going to price, you’ll know the way a lot funding it’s essential to ask for.


    Costing is the enterprise evaluation process that can assist you determine how a lot all the pieces will price. This is the place you’re taking all info gathered and add up what your price of items bought (COGS) will likely be. This info will assist when determining your pricing and gross margin.

    product development process


    The better part is, you are able to do costing all by your self in a spreadsheet. If you will get a number of quotes from totally different producers in the sourcing section, you may higher examine prices and make extra knowledgeable choices. You also can use your sheet to check native manufacturing versus abroad manufacturing. (Resource)

    After doing product costing, you would possibly discover that you simply don’t have the capital to spend money on creating your product. Seeking funding is part of the entrepreneurial expertise, and there are extra choices than ever. Some methods to get funding for product development embrace:

    • Loans from household and mates
    • SBA or different small enterprise and startup loans
    • Crowdfunding by way of Patreon or GoFundMe
    • Angel investments
    • Small enterprise grants
    • Business bank cards or credit score strains

    When pitching to anybody for cash, you’ll must have a marketing strategy arrange, particularly in case you’re ranging from scratch. How will their funding be spent? How do you envision what you are promoting rising?

    Check out A fast-start information to writing a marketing strategy for the first time to assist create yours.

    Once you’ve funding in place, you may transfer on to mass manufacturing.

    Related: 10 small enterprise funding choices — from angel funding to conventional loans

    Stage 6: Product launch

    This is the stage of the product development process when your product is lastly launched to the world. Most doubtless, the model you launch will likely be what’s often known as the minimum viable product or MVP. This refers to the preliminary launch, which comprises solely the most essential options so your product can begin producing income.

    By the time you launch, your supporting operations ought to be in place. Your buyer assist ought to be in place, in addition to your pricing, branding, gross sales and advertising methods.

    Launching a brand new product is simply the first step of a protracted journey. Involving your viewers at each stage is significant for fulfillment. Use your earlier analysis and testing rounds to find out which channels you’ll use to succeed in your target market.

    As the product evolves along with your viewers’s suggestions, so ought to the relaxation of your operations.


    Be certain you’ve a web site to advertise and promote your product. With GoDaddy Websites + Marketing, you may shortly create a web site, promote on-line, use electronic mail advertising, and extra, all with 24/7 buyer assist and web site safety.

    Be versatile in your method to the product development process

    Your product will doubtless undergo many iterations earlier than it turns into a family title or takes off in the media — and that’s OK! As a lot as innovation is necessary, execution is what’s going to get you the finest consequence — having your product launched to the world.

    Don’t wait until you’ve an ideal model of your product in hand. As lengthy as you create a strong basis, you’ll have time to evolve along with your viewers and create one thing even higher.

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