According to Chron, more than 600,000 small businesses open every year. That’s a big number to compete with if you’re planning to start a business. But more than 500,000 enterprises also close every year. This indicates that although there’s competition, most companies fail to deliver what the market needs from them.
Therefore, companies with a plan and strategy are more likely to succeed. If you’re planning to launch a new product, it’s essential to have a plan. In this post, we’ll discuss the vital steps required in designing a successful product plan.
1. Define the Vision and Strategy
According to New Product Success, more than 40% of new products fail, with the main reason being the lack of product-market fit. Therefore, the primary step towards creating a successful product plan is to determine why it would exist in the first place.
How can you work on building a product if you don’t know about its goal and purpose? It’s impossible to develop a successful product without understanding its context and purpose of existence. Thus, it’s critical to clearly define your product vision.
But vision alone is not enough. You need a strategy to pair with it. Define a value proposition for your product, including who it is for and how and why it’ll be used. For example, if you’re providing cloud accounting software, it’s likely for small and medium-sized businesses that want to streamline and optimize their accounting tasks.
Lastly, have clear success criteria in mind. Set a clear, realistic goal. It could be in terms of revenue generated, items sold, or overall profit. Whatever it is, determine it and stick to it.
2. Conduct Product Research
Let’s say you have a product idea about software that helps businesses better manage their clients. The concept seems pretty straightforward on the surface – a software that enables you to keep track of your clients. But when you delve deep, you’ll need to address a lot of minute details.
First, you’ll need to conduct user research to determine which businesses would be interested in using your product. Freelancers, digital agencies, and contract services could be some ideal picks.
Next, you’ll need to conduct market research to find direct and indirect competitors. Since you’ll be entering a head-to-head competition with many companies, you’ll need to be ready and equipped.
Last, you’ll need to determine the essential features of your products. For instance, a client management system should integrate seamlessly with online invoicing software for enterprises to ensure easy payments. Other features, like ERP and performance management, are optional but can value to your product.
3. Perform User Analysis
Once you have all the data regarding your customers, it’s time to analyze it. The purpose of this step is to create buyer personas and product prototypes. Let’s discuss the two stages.
Buyer Personas: A buyer persona is a hypothetical depiction of your ideal customer. For example, a buyer persona for client management software could be a male business owner in his late 30s who runs a small business and caters to 10-15 clients. You can further delve into the revenue, type of business, and geographical location as per your requirements.
Product Prototype: A product prototype is an initial model of your final product. It includes the essential features and functionality that your product would have. Then, you can tally the features with the persona to determine if your product is the ideal fit.
4. Brainstorm Ideas
If you’re acquainted with software development, you’ve probably heard of “ideation.” It’s the step where the product development planning really takes off. The product teams begin brainstorming sketches and visualizing product ideas. Here’s where the first rough design or illustration of the product arises.
This step also includes mapping user journeys. How do you plan to get clients or customers? Do you plan to run search engine and Facebook ads? Or do you plan to engage your telemarketing team into cold calling prospects?
In the Ideation step, the product team also confirms the final features of the product. Let’s return to the client management software example. As discussed, a client management system should integrate with time and expense tracking software for businesses. But in this step, the team digs in and determines which expense tracking systems would integrate with the product.
Lastly, this step included deciding upon a revenue model. How do you plan to make money? Do you plan on selling single-user licenses or monthly subscription plans? What would be your cross-selling and up-selling strategy? Also, how will you collect payments? Would it be through online invoicing software for enterprises or manual procedures?
5. Design the Product
Once you have a product strategy in place, it’s time to create the final product. It’s essential to develop a prototype of the final product first. The prototype should contain all the necessary features and integrations.
Once the prototype is ready, check it for any shortcomings. In the case of client management software, see if all the cloud accounting software integrations are working fine.
Once the prototype is tested and has received the necessary stakeholders’ approval, you can go ahead and develop the final product.
6. Launch the Product
The launching process can be classified into three parts: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. The pre-launch phase includes testing the final product. Once the product is ready, allow some users to try the product for free and provide their feedback. Then, make any changes if necessary as per the feedback.
The launch phase includes launching the product. It comprises rolling out press releases, advertisements, and social media campaigns to ensure the product reaches most people.
The post-launch process consists of analyzing the customers’ response to the product. It involves collecting regular feedback and making necessary changes in the product as per customer requirements.
Launching a new product is not easy. With the rate of failure for new products being significantly high, businesses need to have an appropriate product plan. It’s also critical to have a revenue model in place that ensures consistent profits.
Don’t forget to check out Moon Invoice if you’re looking for time and expense tracking software for businesses to streamline your invoicing operations.