Product development myths every business owner should know

Product Development Process in Boston

Production technology continues to move forward, making possible products many considered fantasy just a few short years ago. However, a significant number of business leaders and shop floor specialists still consider such consumer-facing innovations unreachable due to apparent cost barriers or technical constraints. In reality, most companies can roll out revolutionary products without draining their coffers or reshaping their workflows. This disconnect is the result of numerous myths surrounding the product development process. Here are five of those innovation-inhibiting misconceptions:

Product development is only for giant companies

One of the larger myths related to product development is that only established organizations with ample resources and personnel can pursue such efforts. The truth is, external design and manufacturing firms understand that innovative products come from entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes. For instance, entrepreneur Clay Alexander managed to release one of the most talked-about products of 2017, a temperature-controlled cup called the Ember Mug, without design or production funding of any kind, according to Time. In 2009, Alexander began attaching radio control batteries to dishes and cups in an effort to create dinnerware that would keep his food and beverages hot. Within five years, the inventor was able to form partnerships with top designers and manufacturers and develop a market-ready product. Last year, Alexander began selling his mug in Starbucks stores across the U.S.

Manufacturers are consistently looking for entrepreneurs like Alexander, hoping to get in on the ground floor of transformative products. This means enterprises of all sizes have the ability to work with third parties and bring their blueprints to life.

Starting production early will get the product to market faster

Smaller companies often have limited funds and this can lead to rushed decision making. However, this is not advisable in product development. Thorough ideation is critical to success. Businesses that devote ample time to design and testing often end up releasing impactful products that perform well. This is why enterprises should not rush to get their goods into production without properly investing in the early development stages, Harvard Business Review reported.

The earlier a mistake can be detected and corrected, the less damage it will do in the long run. For example, if a startup, hoping to capitalize on the holiday season, rushes the production process and ends up with unusable output, it wastes all of the planning and research that unfolded during the development stage.

Most manufacturing firms will not want to rush either, since they understand the business value of prudence. This is especially true now as new technology like virtual reality enables developers to examine the product more closely before physical conception, according to Radeon. There is no prize for releasing to market quickly just for speed's sake.

Never deviate from the original product development plan

The mindset for some may be to make a plan and stick to it, but this is not always advisable. During the development stage, manufacturers or other third-party participants may spot ways to innovate the original product into something better. This type of free thinking should not be discouraged, especially for businesses or individuals aiming to develop and release goods with unique differentiating features that lay the groundwork for marketplace success.

Features alone facilitate customer happiness

This is not to suggest that every new feature will translate to consumer happiness and higher profits. However, companies working with external designers and manufacturers should be wary of continually revisiting the product specifications for the sole purpose of adding features. The goal must be to stimulate product value without raising costs.

Suppliers steal ideas

Lastly, paranoia can run rampant among startups. While some ideas have been stolen, most product development firms and manufacturers are not out to swindle their clients. For those feeling worried, The Wall Street Journal recommended enlisting the services of a lawyer or legal expert before entering into a contract with collaborators. This is recommended anyway just to make sure the deal is fair and benefits both parties.

Do not lose out on a valuable business partner simply out of fear. Starting a business is a challenge and manufacturers exist to help ease the burden for companies of all sizes.