This month’s topic was submitted through a comment! Thank you Ella Taguiam for suggesting I talk about business development and researching products.
To me, product development is always one of the most exciting parts of owning a business. I love meetings where we discuss new ideas and services our company can create.
When it comes to business opportunities, for me, it’s never a lack of ideas. I always have hundreds of ideas for new products or services we could invest time and money in.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what problems your company is capable of solving and what it would take to do it.
There are a few key things to keep mind when your business is sitting down to discuss new ideas.
Picking a product/service
Sometimes you might struggle to find a product or new service to offer, and aren’t even sure where to start.
The easiest way I’ve found inspiration is to look at what your life is lacking. What’s a product you hate using? Would you like to completely rebuild that product, or simply fill the gap it’s missing? Just think about problems, and then imagine what would solve that specific pain point.
Countless businesses have found success by merely looking at the inconveniences or frustrating items they dealt with and worked to make that problem go away.
Dollar Shave Club was created because someone hated overpaying for sub-par razors. Amazon made shopping easy for people who hated going to stores with fast shipping.
We developed two of our companies, BNG Design and ConnectBooster, merely to solve our internal pain points. We needed to grow our online presence; we built our web department. We couldn’t get paid on time from our service agreement clients, so we developed ConnectBooster as a SaaS solution.
You’d be surprised how many ideas you can come up with once you start looking at your problems. If your business is struggling with a particular issue, don’t be surprised to find others are as well.
Find a place in the market
Before you invest any serious time and money into developing a product, you need to do a bit of “pre-sales.” You need to make sure some interested buyers would buy your new service or product.
You should interview other people in your industry and see if they would pay for a product, and ask for real numbers.
If they aren’t willing to give money if your product were to hit the market, it’s not worth you developing it.
This can help you eliminate a lot of the weaker ideas. If no one is interested enough to say they would pay a set dollar amount for it, don’t waste your time and resources creating it.
Ideally, you should also look for existing solutions currently in the market and see what they’re lacking. Your product will need to beat out the competition, so you need to make sure you can solve a need that other products can’t.
Maybe your competitor is good at solving one issue, but they drop the ball in another way. You may not meet or beat their strengths, but the best thing you can do is to beat their weakness.
Planning out cost and practicality
After you’ve got several ideas, it’s time to discuss feasibility.
You have to assess the costs of developing this product or service. How big of an investment is it going to be? Do you need to hire another employee with a specific skill set to create this product? Do you need to promote someone to handle managing this new service?
Time and development creating this product or service is something you need to map out before you sit down and invest your company’s money into a new idea.
You’ve established a pain point; now you have to find it’s cost. What’s the business model, and then what do you charge? What you charge needs to be a fraction of the cost of that pain point.
When we first started seriously pursuing web design and development as something to offer our customers on payment processing, we quickly realized we needed someone formally trained in web design.
Our one self-taught guy needed to be able to step up and lead the department, and we had to invest in hiring another designer, and then another. Soon we wanted to be able to build our plugins to help with our internal problems and then pushed it out for our customers.
None of these decisions were made on a whim. My business partners and I all spent time researching and calculating costs.
Fortunately, because our business model is recurring revenue, we were able to make some accurate budget predictions on how we could afford the cost of creating a new product.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable with your business
Your business should never be static or be considered “done”.
Businesses should keep innovating to keep thriving. Never settle for comfortable, instead continue pursuing new avenues, develop new products, and still keep pushing to improve.
One of the smartest decisions you can ever make as a business owner is reinvesting as much of the profit you can afford back into your company.
Instead of rewarding yourself with an extra $100,000 to your salary, put that money back into your sales, research, and development. Keep funding growth in your company, and you’ll continue to grow. After all, making sure you are relevant in tomorrow’s world is important.