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Product development is a critical task for all businesses, big or small.  This process requires precious resources such as time, money and expertise.  To be successful in the marketplace your product development endeavor must avoid these top 10 mistakes.


1.  Product Not Useful:


Any product you develop must be useful to the end user.  There is no point in developing a product that the customer will not buy.  Donít develop a product that is good for the engineer, Sales team, or anyone else.  Do it for the customer.  The product must solve a problem for the end user that they want to be solved.  This makes the product useful.  There are many examples of failed products.  Click here to see some of them.


2.  Too Difficult to Figure Out:


If you make a product that is too difficult for the end user to figure out how to use it youíre likely to see many returns for which your small business will have to bear the cost.  As a result your prodct will develop a bad reputation and word will spread quickly.  Negative news travels quickly.  It wonít take long before you see a decline in the sale of the product.  Simple is always the best policy.  Make a product easy for the end user to figure out and use and they will use it.  Donít assume that the end user will find it easy to use just because you find it easy to use.


3.  Not Accurately Assessing the Customersí Needs: 


In order to build a product that your customers want you have to figure out what their real desires are.  People not only want their problems solved, but they want it solve a certain way.  You have to develop a product that solve the problem for the customers in they way that they want it solved.    You have to conduct market research that includes the use of focus groups to assess what people are looking for.  Learn more about validating the product idea.

4.  Relying on Someone Else to Find the Mistakes:


When youíre developing a product you canít rely on someone else (such as the customer, retailer, distributor, sales team, etc.) to discover the mistakes.  You have to identify and resolve any and all issues with the product before it goes to market.  Everyone, including the customer, retailer, distributor, etc. expects a product that lives up to expectations.  Product defects will result in a high rate of return and negatively impact the profits and reputation of your small business.


5.  Failure to Adapt:


Developing a product is a learning process.  You start out with a list of raw materials, a concept of the steps involved in assembling the product, and an idea of what the final product should look like.  A learning process takes place as you start to assemble the product.  You can discover that other raw materials are needed, a different way of assembling the product has to be adopted, and the final product may have to look and function differently.  You must be willing to adapt to new information and develop a product that meet the needs of your customers and grow the business.


6.  Confusing the Customer with the User:


For every product you develop you have to ask yourself: who will use this product?.  Who will buy this product.  The answer to these questions are critical to your product development.  If youíre developing a product for children under the age of 18 it means that their parents will likely be the ones that will be doing the purchasing.  Hence you have to develop a product that is not only appealing to the child but also to the parent.  If youíre developing a product that another organization will purchase for their personnel to use it means that you have to convince the purchasing agent to convince their decision maker to athorize the purchase of the product. 


7.  Rush to Finish:


Product development is often driven by a strict timeline because you have limited resources and you want to get a product to market quickly so that you can start generating revenues for the business.  This rush to market can result in developing a product that is not ready for the end user.  Rushing can lead to shortcuts, misrepresentation of the product, a product that is of poor quality, a product with defects. 


8.  Afraid of Failure:


Donítí be afraid to fail.  Failure is where you learn what works and what does not work.  If youíre not willing to try new things youíre not going to fail and learn from those failures. 


9.  Using A Complex Manufacturing Process:


When you develop a new product you have to consider how easy it would be to mass produce.  The more complex the manufacturing process the more costly it will be to manufacture.  A high manufacturing cost will result in you having to price the prodict at a high cost so that you can recoop the manufacturing cost and make a profit.  This coulc result in a product that is too highly priced for your intended customers.


10. Canít Meet Regulatory Requirements:


If youíre going to develop a new product you have to consider whether or not that product will require regulatory approval before it can be sold in retail stores.  Agencies such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), etc. have requirements that have to be met for products that fall under their jurisdictions. 














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