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Innovation is a glorious gift indeed, but it can also do some serious damage if you don’t pair it with a good strategy. There is no shortage of ingenious product ideas and business ideas, but the main problem lies in not thinking it through thoroughly enough
It is important to understand that having a great idea is not enough; there are a lot of checkpoints the idea must pass through before you even begin working on it. This kind of strategic thinking can maximize your chance of success.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before launching or even working on a new idea:
Can my company support the innovation required for the new product?
Implementing and supporting an innovative idea is no easy task. It’s not enough to encourage innovative thinking amongst your workforce; you need solid resources to support it.
Here are some checkpoints:
Do you have the right kind of employees with the right set of skills to work on this idea?
Do you have the infrastructure to support the product development?
What about the financial resources?
In the system in my company flexible enough to accommodate the development?
Do I have the marketing resources to run a campaign for this product when it’s ready?
It is very important to focus on the feasibility of the idea, rather than getting carried away by the enthusiasm every entrepreneur is filled with.
Do I have enough time to make this work?
Developing and launching a new product is very similar to sailing in rough waters. You don’t know what will happen next and it will involve a great deal of time and commitment from you.
An important question you should be asking yourselves is - Do I have the time to do whatever it takes to make this product successful? No? Then it’s best to look for a more doable product idea.
Here are some tips:
Have a safe estimate of how many hours it could take for you to launch the product and see if you have that kind of time on hand.
If you don’t have the time, check to see if you have the financial resources to hire more workforce to speed up the process.
Also, make sure to check if this product development will clash with other essential business functions you need to perform.
Take into account the long-term time commitment as well. For example, if you launch an iOS app, you have to consider that every time the iOS software is upgraded, you will have to upgrade your app too.
Remember, if you bite more than you can chew, not only will your new product fail, but it can also backfire on your existing business - don’t take that risk.
Is the size of the opportunity worth it?
Say you have a product idea that is just about amazing, it is the coolest and the most ingenious idea you have ever had, what do you do? Do you immediately dive into developing this product? No, that would be a rookie mistake.
It does not matter how awesome your idea is if the size of the opportunity is too small. We invest our time and energy into an idea for a reason and that is commercial growth. Your product should show enough promise to promote growth and bring profits.
Always take a scientific and data-driven approach to size up the market before you start building something.
It is feasible only when the return justifies the time and money invested.
Are there similar products in the market?
Assessing your potential competition is the first most important task you need to undertake before delving into the product development. You should know everything there is to know about your competitors - their strengths and their weaknesses.
Analyse their products and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. This process can give you ideas on how to make your product better; for example, you can identify the gaps and loopholes in their products and use it your advantage.
Don’t throw away your idea just because there is a lot of competition out there because a lot of competition can mean a big market and adding a few twists and distinguishing elements can make your product stand out easily.
Will I enjoy working on this product?
This might not seem very important right now, but trust me it is. The more time and effort the development of this new product requires, the more relevant your interest in the product becomes.
For example, if you want to develop a product around cooking Italian food, but you hate both cooking and Italian food, chances are you won’t be able to appreciate your product and give good insights for both marketing and product development.
Once you invest in a new product, you are going to have to keep working on it even after the launch to upgrade, fix faults etc.
Here are some questions that will help you understand how important this product is to you:
- Would you want to work on this project even if it is for free?
Why do you want to make this product? To make money? To beat your competition?
Do you see yourself wanting to continuously keep improving and updating this product in the future?
True, an idea can indeed change lives, but only a good and feasible one!
When you happen on a new idea, make it a habit to look at it objectively and critically; it will allow you to see the flaws and difficulties in the execution. Seeking an outside perspective will help as well.