When the pandemic forced the country to impose lockdowns and restrictions, business drastically slowed and supply chains were disrupted. Many companies had to make financial cuts as a result.
Unfortunately, not all budgetary adjustments have benefited the companies that applied them. Many that made strategic solutions centered on their customer base fared better than others. There is, however, a better solution to enforcing budget cuts, increasing customer relationships, and investing in new sales channels.
According to Financial Management, a magazine run by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, companies should continue to innovate their products and services to become more successful amid today’s pandemic. Consumer needs and preferences have significantly changed because of the current global crisis. It’s important for businesses to ensure that their products and services are still relevant to keep up with this new demand. Generating new demand will ultimately contribute to business growth.
This article aims to help you understand how to develop new products and services that can improve your business even in today’s pandemic. But you should know the stages in the lifecycle of products and services first.
The Lifecycle of Products and Services
Products and services start at the development stage, which is the focus of this. In this stage, your company will need to invest in research and development.
After a product or service has been developed, it will enter the introduction stage. It is in this stage that you will invest in marketing to launch your product or service.
When your newly developed product or service has been introduced and released in the market, you will now work on its growth stage. You will need to know what products or services are your direct competitors, what your profit margins are, and whether your profit margins are growing or slowing down. It is also in this stage that you will need to develop how to further improve your product or service.
The next stage is maturity. It is when sales of your product or service are slowing down because of increased competition. As a result, you have to keep your prices down. It is in this stage that companies should develop new products and services again.
Finally, there is the decline stage. Here, your product or service is facing a steady decline in sales. There is high competition, leaving no more space for your product or service. As a result, increased marketing and investment in new sales channels are no longer effective. It is in this stage that companies need to decide whether to discontinue a product or service or improve it and reintroduce it in the market.
As you can see, this lifecycle can also be applied to your current products and services. Knowing where they are in this lifecycle can also help you improve them, which can increase your company offerings and profitability.
The Development Process
An effective process for developing a product or service should be divided into stages as well. In practice, however, there are stages that may overlap. What’s important is that you adopt a staged process to control timing and costs.
The first stage is idea generation. It is here that you capture new ideas. It is followed by the idea distillation stage where you analyze which ideas are feasible or not. For example, if you’re a real estate broker, you could consider registering as a certified realtor to increase your brand reputation.
After focusing on feasible ideas, you proceed to the concept definition stage where you point out specifications, technical usability, design process, and market potential of your new product or service. When these are all defined, you now conduct strategic analysis.
The strategic analysis stage ensures that your ideas are compatible with your business plans. For example, if you’re a toy company, can the design of a toy line for pets help your business move forward? If it does, you can move to the concept development stage.
The concept development stage is where you create a prototype of your new product or run a pilot of your new service. You then proceed with the test marketing and concept finalization stage. It is here that you carefully observe how customers, manufacturers, and support organizations react to your product or service. Their feedback can help you decide what marketing strategies and launching time will best suit your product or service.
Finally, you enter the launching stage. Use the information you gathered during the concept finalization stage to help a set schedule, and marketing and promotional strategies for your product or service launch.
Staying afloat during the pandemic requires new approaches. Developing new products and services can help your business thrive. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, businesses today need permanent changes.
Improvements in different aspects of your business can only mean temporary relief. New products and services, however, stay with your business. They are permanent improvements that can help your business grow even if there’s a pandemic. Consider following the processes and tips in this article to help you develop a new product or service for your business.