Tuesday, October 18, 2016

New Product Development in Small Business

In this world where everything is changing, products also need change to survive and gain more market share. Innovation / change or  new product development is necessary to stay ahead of your competitors. Customers expect and demand something different time to time. A good change gives new life to the product.

Unlike, big organizations small businesses have limited resources so when a small business opts for new product development then the owner has to share the major work burden.

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New product development could be a totally new product or could be a change in packaging, size, design, material or in  product features etc. Some of the advantages of new  product development are:

            * keeps your clientele intact.
            *  helps you stay ahead of your competitors.
            *  helps you increase your market share.
            *  prolongs your product's life.
            * improves quality of your product.
            * mostly it reduces your cost.
            * eventually leads you to more profitability.

Following are the steps needed to be taken for New Product Development:

Understanding when there is a need for product development: An unwanted change / innovation is not helpful for anyone. Timing is crucial. If you are late then your competitors may take advantage and capture bigger market share by launching the new product before you do.

Generating ideas how to fulfill the need: Once you know that change is necessary and market is ready to welcome it then think how will you deliver it. You can generate ideas by brain storming, talking to experts, research through internet, by visiting libraries, listening to your office concerned staff etc.

Do a detailed research on your idea: Once you have finalized your idea then do a detailed research on it. Find out how much time & money will it take to realize your dream. What will be the market size, profitability etc. Also, how is it going to benefit your customer.

Testing your idea: Once you are fully comfortable with your idea then produce the new product on a small scale for test marketing. Show the new product to your marketing staff, retailers and to the end users to get their feedback. If necessary make amendments accordingly.

Making a comprehensive launching plan: After you receive a positive outcome from test marketing make a comprehensive launching plan. Workout every detail i.e. funds needed, manpower requirement, ad campaign etc. Then set the deadline and give your best shot.

Post launching review: After the launch be in constant touch with your marketing staff, customers and other stakeholders. Give importance to the feedback you receive from them and make changes and improvements accordingly. Here, understanding customer needs and delivering according to their expectations is the key to success.

I hope you found the above helpful. please free to comment.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Market Intelligence for Small Business

Things around us are changing rapidly. In order to survive and grow we need to embrace the change timely. People who are slow to change or do not change lag behind others. Same goes for businesses.

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Businesses need market intelligence to understand what is changing and how it is going to make a difference for them. Also, this information helps them in decision making and to set & adjust their long term & short term goals. It is also required for market development and capturing bigger market share.

In simple words Market Intelligence is the latest information about anything relevant to a particular business which may affect it in any manner. It could be about:  new taxes government plans to impose,  a new substitute of your product, competitor has introduced something better ,a new cheaper source of raw material etc.

Keeping up with the change and taking prompt action is vital for the survival and growth of any organization. Big organizations have separate departments for gathering market intelligence and also they can hire services of agencies but small business have limited options. Some of the ways small businesses can gather Market Intelligence are as follows:

Customers: Always keep in touch with your customers. They are a good source of information as they are in touch with you as well as with your competitors, so many times they tell you what your competitors are offering.

Internet: Social media, customers', competitors', vendors', and News' websites reveal a lot of information. An online survey about your products / services may also be helpful. Once you get all the information then analyze it and act accordingly.

Your Sales Team: Frequently communicating with your sales team also gives you an sight about what is happening around you. Sales people are in constant touch with your customers. Also, when they go out in the market they see & meet their customers. They understand their & competitors' strengths & weaknesses. So, your sales team is one of the best sources to gather Market Intelligence.

Vendors: They can also be good source of information. They tell what & when they are going to offer something new but sometimes they also share what your competitors are doing.

Your Own Website: Track audience who visit your website. This will help you to find potential customers. Update your website or social media pages frequently and read visitors' comments regularly. This will also let you understand what is happening in your business environment.

Competitors: Always keep an eye on the activities of your competitors. Check their websites, social media pages and ad campaigns regularly. Also, visit the market to check their product price, quality, packaging etc.

Please keep in mind, gathering Market Intelligence and acting accordingly is not a one time job, for your survival and growth, it needs to be done frequently.

Hope you found the above helpful. Please feel free to comment.