5. Systems & Staff

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT - Design and Develop new Products (if applicable)

What is Product Development?
Product development is the process involved in creating new products or services to be sold by your business to its customers.

”Products” mean new products that have been improved from any existing products, and “Inventions” mean a new process or idea, or device, which has been created from “nothing” and that can be patented. “Product Development” as we see it is involved in both of these areas.

The Development Process
If you have a brand new or existing product that you wish to develop there is a basic process required to be followed.

This process includes the following areas:

  • Technical evaluation
  • Market Research
  • Protection - Patents etc
  • Develop the prototype
  • Modifications to Design & Function
  • Market Planning
  • Costings and Pricing
  • Finance and Systems
  • Produce the product ourselves - or
  • Licensing manufacture to others.
  • Put on the Marketplace

The 6 Stages in Development
The usual process involved in the development of a product runs along the following lines:

  1. Concept stage - Once the idea has been conceived it is passed over to the development group for assessment. Research will then be done to see if a market exists and what competition is out there. The product has to be feasible and have potential before it is developed otherwise the exercise can be an unprofitable one.

  2. Full Design - Once the group has finalised its assessment it is then time to carry out serious design. All aspects of the architecture and what would be involved in its production is closely examined and finalised.

  3. Create a Prototype - Everything is go at this stage. The designs are complete, the cost are finalised and the manufacturing requirements are all settled. The timelines are set and a prototype is produced.

  4. Full Testing - Here the prototype is tested fully and the results examined and analysed in detail. Any changes are made and designs modifications done. If it passes its final testing the product is given the go ahead for moving to the commercialising stage.

  5. Commercialisation - Now other matters such as distribution and promotion are looked at. Information from all research previously carried out is used by the sale teams and production teams as well as the marketing people. The whole objective of putting the product out to market is considered and signed off on.

  6. In the Marketplace - The product is put out for sale with all teams coordinated to develop and increase sales.

Developing the Prototype

From your original idea and design drawings, the technical drawings would be drawn up. This will be used for the production of a prototype that needs to be as close as possible to your real product’s state after it was manufactured.

You may need the help of an industrial designer or an engineer to help with the drawings and the specifications. It is also from these drawings that a patent application would be based on.
From the technical drawings your prototype would have to be constructed for assessment and evaluation. You would probably be short of money so you need to minimise all costs until your invention product had been proven to be feasible. That is it has to work.

This is what some call the 'Proof of Concept'.
The prototype can be hand made with materials that would be as close as possible to what you would use in the final production. You final prototype must have the function, feel, appearance and colour of the "real thing" because you are trying to demonstrate to a potential buyer what your actual product would look like and how it would perform as a completed product.

Packaging Your Product (or Invention)
Making your product is only part of the story. Any product has to be packaged properly if it is to be successful in the market. No product will sell itself. New products for consumers need to be brought to the attention of the public, so every opportunity to promote it has to be taken.

If your product is good, with much consumer interest, then let the newspapers and the media know all about it because they can give you a story about the product, as well as create a lot of interest. To do this, you will need proper packaging if your product requires it.

Test Marketing the Product Model
It is hard to answer all the questions that a marketer requires without taking your product directly to the market and seeing what they think of it. To do this you have to have a working prototype of your invention, or some type of sample, that can be shown to your potential customers, such as consumers, retail stores, supermarkets, etc.

You need to be clear on who the product is intended for and then approach them to see if they will test it for you. Supermarkets and department stores are excellent for this because they have such a high customer count. If you can afford it, arrange for professional marketing firms to research the market for you because their advice and feedback will prove invaluable.

Test marketing is essential before you spend a lot of money on marketing, promotion and advertising, which may go nowhere if there is no demand for your product.

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