How long does it take to develop your product for market?

English: The Product and Logo
The Product and Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in an instant society we want things NOW. We want things to happen straight away. It seems that patience has become a precious commodity.

Like growing tree or garden, developing a new idea from the seed of a concept or notion takes time. If you have a fairly simple product, you may be lucky to get it off the ground within a few months. But for the most part developing and testing an idea from its origination to market can take up to a year or more.

I’m sure there are exceptions and I don’t want to put you off but let’s look realistically at what is involved in developing and testing and introducing a new product or service.

Researching the product: it may take several months to investigate the marketplace and competition to see whether the idea that you have for product or service is already being implemented in the market. This is where you need to check to see how much your product or service differs from existing offers. You want your product or service to be better than what is on offer. But it shouldn’t be radically different otherwise you are going to have a hard time “educating” the market.

There is an old rule of thumb that says your product should be different but not more than 15% different than what is already available. This phase also involves researching the size of the market that you think would be a good possibility for your new product or service. At this stage, you may even want to produce a basic prototype that you can show to trusted friends and family who can give you valuable feedback.

Market testing: in this stage you would want to develop your idea from concept to a manufactured article or a basic service. This is where you would draw up a one-page business plan which would outline who you are going to sell the product to, where you will sell the product (wholesale, retail, online), what sales projections you can expect and what scale of quantities you need to produce to make the idea commercially viable.

You may not want to go into full-scale production and perhaps want to have a minimum quantity manufactured that you can use to test the market with. This would also be a time where you can iron out any bugs and kinks in your new product or service.

Full-scale market introduction: depending on the success of your initial market test, you would want to begin to think about how you are going to fufill orders, what shipping arrangements you will be making and how you are going to handle any possible returns. In this stage you would also prepare a marketing plan that may include such items as building a website, setting up an e-commerce site and developing your brand’s look, feel and sales messages. You may also want to put together a detailed promotional plan including publicity, sales promotion, competitions, social media and even print and online advertising.

The evaluation, testing, development and market introduction phases are the main steps that will be required to bring your idea from concept through to a viable business. There are a number of steps in between but I’ve covered the main ones briefly. If you add the time for all of this work and planning, you will see that it can take well up to a year or more until you have your new business up and running. Depending on demand, things may take much longer to develop. Expertise to assist you with developing a product might not be readily available and this may take more time than you anticipated. That’s why it’s good to remember the important rule that things will take three times longer than you anticipated and costs double what you thought it would.

It may seem like a lot of hard work and a long time to implement a new idea but for those who have the stamina, energy and courage as well as business savvy the rewards, personal and financial, can outweigh the effort required. But it pays to remember that taking bite-size chunks or small steps each day will ultimately lead you to your goal.

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