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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 singular, widely-loved product is hardly a straight line. Each nice firm began someplace, and their starting could be 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steps concerned in the product development process also can translate to renewing an present product and introducing an outdated product to a brand new market. When you may not have the assets to start out growing your individual ecommerce product, it doesn’t damage to know what goes into the process.

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

Stage 1: Conceptualization

Have you ever ever had an excellent product concept in the bathe? Congratulations, you’ve conceptualized one thing. Sadly, most individuals by no means get previous this stage of the product development process.

In line with Harvard Enterprise Faculty professor Clayton Christensen, 95% of new products fail. That is much less about the concept itself and extra about poor analysis, planning and execution.

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

As you start to strengthen your concept, you have to sit down and ask the exhausting 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 modern that individuals don’t even know they want your product till they arrive throughout it. However you may find yourself making one thing nobody desires.
  • Who’s your competitors, and are you making a greater model of what they provide?
  • Can or not it’s manufactured? It could be tempting to wish to be the first to create a industrial android, but when the market demand, supplies, and know-how to do it don’t exist, then it’s most likely not a viable concept.

As soon as you may justify your concept, it’s time for the scary half — asking for different individuals’s opinions.

Stage 2: Product validation

“I might pay good cash for this.” These are seven phrases that will make any entrepreneur swoon — and product validation includes discovering which clients will say that about your product.

Product validation ensures you’re constructing a product individuals pays for and also you gained’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 may validate your product concepts in a spread of methods, together with:

  • Operating it by household and buddies
  • Utilizing a web based survey or discussion board for suggestions
  • Beginning a crowdfunding marketing campaign
  • Conducting market analysis utilizing Google Tendencies

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


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

Stage 3: Design and prototyping

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

Understanding what the product may appear to be and incorporating viewers suggestions can assist you uncover potential issues or create a good higher model of your concept.

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

You may select to DIY your prototype when you’ve got the supplies and cash to place them collectively. To get began visualizing your concept, listed below are some suggestions:

  1. Nothing beats pen and paper — take your concept to the web page to create a tough draft of your product.
  2. Though they’ve a studying curve, digital or 3D modeling packages will make the process simpler. You may strive POP and InVision.
  3. Use a 3D printer to develop your bodily prototype. This technique of prototyping has turn into extra widespread as 3D printers turn into extra mainstream.

Contemplating the rising ranges of instrument problem and the way costly it’d get to spend money on bodily prototypes, think about outsourcing your prototype. Most entrepreneurs select to start out constructing a relationship with third-party producers at this level. You may ship them your designs and evaluation the prototypes they return.

Bonus Tip: Making a prototype is a degree of dedication to your concept, 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 concept — or worse, discovering out somebody has registered a patent to your product.

Stage 4: Sourcing

When you’re happy along with your prototype, it’s time to start out buying supplies and securing the manufacturing companions you’ll want. Constructing your provide chain refers to the distributors, actions, and assets required to develop a product and get it to your clients.

Consider diversifying your provide chain, as this may permit you to evaluate 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 essential inquiries to ask:

  • How a lot will the supplies, manufacturing, and delivery price per product? It will make it easier to as you set collectively costing, seek for funding, and decide your pricing technique.
  • What’s the minimal order amount you have to order from the producer to start out working with them? When you can order incessantly, in low portions, it can save you on cupboard space and the preliminary capital wanted to start out.
  • What high quality of supplies are you searching for, and do they provide them? Discovering this may probably contain asking potential suppliers to ship the supplies so that you can evaluation or visiting them instantly.
  • Do they provide fast and useful customer support? When you can’t belief that you simply’ll get fast responses out of your provider, they’re probably not an excellent match.
  • Do they ship on time? You may take a look at this by ordering from them and monitoring the quantity of time it takes the product to get to you.

Though it could appear to be lots of work, growing a very good basis along with your provider can assist you thru many twists and turns of entrepreneurship. Figuring out you may depend on your suppliers to do their jobs will make it easier to give attention to different facets of operating your corporation. For extra recommendation, try this in-depth guide to looking for a provider.

Bonus Tip: Old-fashioned as it’s, commerce reveals are nonetheless a extremely really helpful path for locating suppliers. They’re additionally an excellent place to get a pulse on which suppliers are trusted and respected in the business. Chances are you’ll not have the ability to attend a bodily one, however digital ones occur regularly. To get began attending commerce reveals, try 10Times’ virtual directory.

Stage 5: Costing and funding

Together with your producer, viewers approval, and a bodily visualization of what your concept will appear to be, you’ll want to find out the price of mass manufacturing.

When you’ve decided how a lot every thing’s going to price, you’ll understand how a lot funding you have to ask for.


Costing is the enterprise evaluation process that may assist you determine how a lot every thing will price. That 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 perfect half 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 evaluate prices and make extra knowledgeable choices. You too can use your sheet to match native manufacturing versus abroad manufacturing. (Resource)

After doing product costing, you may discover that you simply don’t have the capital to spend money on growing your product. Searching for 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 buddies
  • SBA or different small enterprise and startup loans
  • Crowdfunding by way of Patreon or GoFundMe
  • Angel investments
  • Small enterprise grants
  • Enterprise bank cards or credit score traces

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 your corporation rising?

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

After getting funding in place, you may transfer on to mass manufacturing.

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

Stage 6: Product launch

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

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

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

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


Make sure you’ve an internet site to advertise and promote your product. With GoDaddy Web sites + Advertising, you may rapidly create an internet site, promote on-line, use e-mail advertising and marketing, 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 probably 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 essential, execution is what’s going to get you the finest end result — having your product launched to the world.

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

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