Whether you’re a Fortune 500 corporation, or you just walked out of the chamber of commerce with your first DBA, everyone knows that product companies will have to market the new production introduction journey when bringing your product to market. Sure, here at PEKO we manufactured machinery and equipment for a living, but these lessons can apply across all NPI industries. Based on our decades of experience, here’s our top 10 list of do’s and don’ts to help lay a successful foundation for your NPI journey:
Do: Build a Strong Team
- If you’re bringing a product to market, I’ll assume you’re brace enough to walk the New Product Introduction path. But make sure you know who’s with you. You have strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. You must surround yourself with people that are strong in your weaknesses. New Product Introduction is a bumpy road but having a team of designers, industry experts, lawyers, engineers, financial experts and others will be a huge help. They can guide you, answer questions and most of all, prevent you from making catastrophic mistakes along the way.
Don’t: Do it Alone
- With tight budgets, deadlines and a firm grasp of your intellectual property, it’s tempting to take the entire project on yourself. However, sometimes people find themselves as the CEO, engineering department, marketing department, New Product Introduction manager, and others when they find themselves tasked with brining a new technology to the market. Instead of wearing way too many hats, try gathering confidants to help you take on such monumental tasks.
Do: Have a Vision
- You’ll never get to where you’re going without a compass. Having an established vision of your goal is worth it’s weight in gold. New Product Introduction teams should write a goal, draw a sketch, make a note and plaster it on the wall so you can focus exactly on what it is that you’re trying to achieve. With all the distractions that will come your way during new product development efforts, you’re going to need a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve. This is classic, maybe even a bit cliché, however, having a goal in mind works so make sure you keep you’re eye on the prize.
Don’t: Leave it Up to Others
- As I always tell me team: “No one cares as much about your ‘thing’ as you do.” Your new product is your baby; your creation; and, in a lot of cases, your mission in life. Times will come when you get input from others, including criticism and recommendations. While it is wise to take some of that input from others into consideration, at the end of the day, this is your product. You make the decisions; you have the final say. Do your research, know your market, and execute in your image.
Do: Double Your Budget
- Two Words: Sticker Shock. Yes, you want ROI, and your investors need ROI. However, someone is going to ask you to prove your business’s cases and there is going to be costs associated with it. Decisions are made based on budgets and you really can’t blow it all. You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve seen a great new product die here at PEKO all because funding ran out. Be very conservative in your budgeting. Time will go slower than you think and your burn rate will be higher than you expected. Look at your budget over, and over again, and realize that you will probably overrun that budget significantly. It’s better to plan on needing more funds than taking the risk and ending up bankrupt before your product is ever even launched.
Don’t: Make the Same Mistake Twice
- You’re going to drop the ball sometimes; it’s life, it’s natural and it’s okay. You’re only as good as your scrap pile. But please, I beg of you, learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistake twice. Mistakes are costly in time, money and morale. However, the good news is that you don’t have to make them twice. If you make a mistake, or have a new finding, find a way to remember it. Start a journal, keep a note in your phone and find whatever works best for you. If bringing a new product to market is a passion of yours, you will do it many times in your career. Make sure to take the lessons over the years with you so they become assets rather than liabilities.
Do: Network with Product Development Experts
- Luckily for you and other product development teams, there are networks upon networks of industry experts. We love connecting with folks from MedTech, BostInno, FORGE, Founders Institute, and other new product organizations. Look for accelerators, incubators, networking events and other networking channels that connect you with industry leading experts. The folks associated with these platforms have deep knowledge and can answer the questions that you have about bringing products to market.
Don’t: Give Up
- An oldie but goodie: Never give up. You’ve chosen a challenging route, but the payoff comes at the end. There will be gloomy times ahead, and not many people in your circle will understand your struggle and it might even be tempting to give up. Maybe there’s a financial or technology barrier. But, please, never give up until you have exhausted all options. Sometimes it’s the very last thread of hope that gets us to the promised land of launched products. Ask the questions, test the theories and keep your head held high—just please, don’t give up!
Do: Seek Feedback
- You’re smart, but your market is smarter. There are even people in your industry that are smarter. Go ahead and get some feedback from them. While not all feedback is good, it’s good to hear it all. There might be some nuggets of wisdom in that feedback that gets your creativity flowing again. Maybe there’s something in your new product that you didn’t take into consideration. Maybe you just needed to hear that your product is amazing. Either way, take the time to listen to what people are saying about your product. If you don’t you’re taking a huge risk.
Don’t: Be Too Strong Willed
- Be flexible. When developing a new product, you have to navigate some interesting waters. There will be trade-off in engineering, manufacturing, market acceptance, finance and others. If you stick to unrealistic principles, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Put your ego aside and watch your creativity flow. Remember, your new product is meant to either solve a problem of fill a need. But you have to open yourself up to new possibilities first before that happen.
Thank you for reading through out list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to New Product Introduction. While I wish I had enough time to write 100, this list should get you started and if you would like any more input from our experience in helping companies bring their new product to market, click the link below and we can set up a time to chat. Keep this list in the back of our mind and you’ll start your New Product Introduction Process with a head start.