When thinking about how to start a business, everyone’s looking for their next big idea. But have you ever stopped to think about what it is that makes a product or service successful, and how it was created?
New products are launched into the market daily, but the simple truth is that the vast majority of them fail. Whilst it’s vital you have a great product to sell, what many investors don’t realize is that more often than not, its failure is not due to a shortcoming in the product itself, but in the way that it’s been presented.
Simply being useful is not enough to survive in the cut-throat world of business – you need to have a strategy which will ensure your product or service is seen by all the right people.
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The Four Reasons of Failure
- Poor alignment with the market – if customers don’t want what you have to sell then no amount of advertising will make it happen
- Technical production problems – if it’s hard or costly to produce then this could cause snags in the long-run
- Poor marketing – if you don’t put the necessary time and effort into your marketing, and you don’t communicate what you have to offer compellingly, then your ideal clients simply won’t buy.
- Bad timing – if the product took too long to get to market or was beaten by a competitor then this can have a big impact on your sales.
So, now you know some of the reasons why launches fail, what steps can you take to ensure the success of your product or service?
Steps To Success
Before you even think about developing your product or service, or even marketing your business, you need a solid business plan. First, you need to follow these four vital steps:
Know Your Audience
You need to do the prep work and really get to know your ideal client – the people you are going to target who would be interested in your product. Ask:
- What are their interests?
- What is their work status?
- What are the problems for which they are looking for solutions?
You should focus on this research to develop in-depth personas and user journeys to ensure they see your product and make the eventual sale. Interviews and focus groups can be a great way to really understand your target audience and their needs.
Know Your Business
It may sound obvious, but you need to know your business inside out so that when you come to marketing you know what you’re saying and where your strengths lie. You should:
- Decide on your values
- Find out what you can offer
- Research your competitors
- Conduct a SWOT analysis
- Conduct a stakeholder analysis
- Consider Risk management
Plan Your Product
When you get a great idea, it’s easy to jump in all guns blazing, without doing the groundwork. In order for your product to be a real success, you need to sit down and plan it properly before you start on the development stage. Try to look at the idea objectively, and compare it against what else is out there on the market. Ask yourself:
- What is unique about your product? How do you stand apart from competitors?
- Does your product meet customer needs?
- Are you producing a quality product?
- Does your product solve a problem your customer had?
- Does the product create value and reduce costs for your customer?
- Is your product unique and the first of its kind in the market?
As mentioned earlier one of the main reasons products fail is because they don’t solve a problem or meet the needs of the customer. Customers are after solutions, and whilst some may get attracted by the hype of the ‘next-big-thing’, many are not lured by trendy products alone. You need to find out exactly what they need and want, and address this directly in both your development and marketing stages.
The price point is a vital component – too high and no one will buy, too low and they won’t value it’s worth.
Focus On The Right Marketing
So often brands fall into the tap of broadcasting instead of communicating. In this day and age consumers are savvy, and it’s not simply enough to pump all of your budget into advertising. You need to first start by reaching out and initiating a dialogue through focus groups, questionnaires, and surveys. Customer feedback can also be gold in the development stage, allowing you to make tweaks and produce the best products out there. Make sure you build this into your business plan before you embark on your marketing.
Another important point to remember is to ensure you have enough availability when you take your product or service to market. If the stock is low, or you don’t have the capacity to serve new customers, then all your efforts will have gone to waste.
What if you already have product and services?
If you’ve already launched, but you’re not making sales, then you need to find out what’s going on. Think of your business like a bucket – if it’s got holes at certain points then it won’t hold the water. It’s your job to find those holes and plug them in. Never assume you know where the problem lies – you need to thoroughly test and research.
Here at Prototype, we believe that to have a successful business you need to review and take care of every aspect of it. The best businesses out there will have strong marketing, an active social media presence, user-friendly digital products and great customer service. We focus on finding the real problems that your company faces, and finding workable solutions. Through years of experience, we have perfected the problem-solving workflow process.
After all, a well-balanced business is a successful business.