When you’re planning a new product, it’s important to understand where you are in the process, what still needs to be done, and how to get there. Without proper planning and attention, you could waste time and money on the wrong product or launch your product before it’s ready, resulting in unmet expectations or damaging reviews before your business can get off the ground. Read this guide on product planning for everything you need to know about this crucial step in the business process.
What is Product Planning?
Product Planning Definition: Product planning is a process used by many companies to develop new products and services, improve existing ones and ultimately increase sales.
The product planning process involves coming up with ideas for products, getting feedback from customers, and determining if those ideas are viable. When done right, product planning increases overall profits because it helps business owners create successful new products. Once you determine what your target market needs and wants, plan how you’re going to meet those needs and wants effectively. That way, no matter what happens in your marketplace in the future, you have an effective product strategy that can drive growth for your company.
Why Do You Need Product Planning?
It’s important for all products, no matter their size or scope, to be well planned out. Product planning is an art that many entrepreneurs neglect. They create a product, start marketing it, and then see how things go from there. Yet that’s not an effective strategy for launching a successful product and scaling it into a business you can grow. No product should be launched before it has been planned out strategically.
In fact, failing to plan your product could hurt your entire business down the road by preventing you from capitalizing on opportunities and properly managing risk. Without proper planning, it’s impossible to achieve long-term success with any business endeavor. Here are three benefits of product planning:
1. Provide customer-satisfied products. You create a new product that is what customers need. Before you even think about creating a product, it’s important to do your research and understand what customers want and need in today’s marketplace. Also, it is a good way to explore in which your existing products can get improved.
2. Produce a creative product. It helps you create a product that will stand out in your industry and drive sales, which is especially important if you’re trying to break into a new market or introduce a new product category.
3. Keep everything under control. A product plan will include the whole process of product production including market research, defining the idea, understanding the difficulties and risks, discussing the strategy, creating the plan, following up the schedule, nailing down marketing tactics, etc. With all these considered, you can make sure everything goes on schedule.
What is the Process of Product Planning?
Product planning can seem overwhelming when you’re just getting started, but it’s easier than you think. The process of product planning is quite simple and easy to understand. Here are the four steps of product planning:
Product Concept Development – The first step in product planning is coming up with a new product concept. This is where you’ll brainstorm or do marketing research and come up with your initial idea for a new product.
Product Feasibility Analysis – After you have an idea for a new product, it’s time to run some tests and figure out if it’s even feasible. Product feasibility analysis will help you determine if your product idea has any chance of succeeding in today’s market.
Product Testing and Prototyping – After you know that your product is feasible, it’s time to start testing it out and making sure that it works well. Product testing will give you a better idea of how consumers will respond to your product and allow you to make changes before production begins.
Product Production and Launch – The final step in product planning is getting your product ready for launch! This includes deciding on the packaging, pricing, sales channels, distribution channels, etc. Product planning can seem overwhelming when you’re just getting started but once you get a hang of it, it’ll be second nature!
16 Tips to Create Successful Product Planning
Great products are hard work and they don’t happen overnight. Sometimes, it can take years of continual improvement and feedback before you have a product that’s ready for primetime. If you’re looking to bring your product out there, check out what you should follow and what you should avoid to create a successful product plan.
What you should follow:
Determine what your market wants: Before you even start thinking about designing your product, it’s important that you first determine what people are actually going to want and need in terms of a finished product. Pay attention not only to consumer trends but also other factors like cost, durability, ease of use, and more—these things will all play into determining if your product is successful or not.
Find out who’s already doing it: If there are already products on the market similar to yours, don’t reinvent the wheel! Instead, find out what features those products have that you can improve upon. Also, look at how they sell their product and decide whether there’s room for improvement in either area.
Conduct a survey of your product idea: Before you invest too much time or money into creating a product, it’s important that you first test out your idea. Conducting a survey is one of the best ways to do so. It allows you to gauge public interest in your product and see if there are any kinks in your plan that need fixing before you spend more time and money on it.
Make sure your product solves a problem: The main reason why people buy products is that they solve problems for them. If you can’t think of a problem that your product will solve, then maybe it’s not ready for primetime just yet.
Make sure your product is affordable: In today’s market, price is one of the most important factors in whether or not someone will purchase a product. Research your competitors and see what they’re charging for similar products. Are you able to undercut them? If so, it may be worth doing so. However, if your product is significantly more expensive than its competition, you might want to rethink some things before moving forward.
Consider how much research and development needs to go into creating your product: Creating a new product can take years—and that’s if everything goes according to plan! It’s important that you know exactly how much time and money are going into creating your product before deciding if it’s something that can move forward.
Decide whether or not you need to patent your product: While patents aren’t required for every product, they may be necessary depending on what type of product you’re looking to create. If there is a chance that someone else will steal your idea, then it might be worth investing in some legal protection early on.
Don’t rush things: As we mentioned earlier, creating a great product takes time and effort. So you should have a reasonable schedule with everything covered.
Test your product before releasing it: Once you think your product is ready for public consumption, test it. Test it again. And again if necessary. If there are problems with your product, you’ll want to know about them before release so that you can make sure they’re corrected in time.
Think about how you’re going to sell your product: Selling a product is just as important as creating one. It’s important that you have a plan in place and understand exactly how you will market and sell your product once it goes live.
What you should avoid:
Avoid group thinking: Group thinking occurs when people from different perspectives end up agreeing on a solution because of their common biases and assumptions. It’s important for product managers to be mindful of group thinking, as it could keep them from considering options that may be better in the long run.
Avoid letting technology drive decision-making: Sometimes product managers focus too much on developing technology before they spend enough time developing demand for that technology—meaning they create new products based solely on what seems technologically feasible rather than on what will actually solve customer problems. In other words, they’re saying I can do that instead of asking do we need that. The key is finding a balance between being driven by technology and listening to your customers’ needs.
Avoid falling in love with your product: It’s natural for product managers to fall in love with their products, but it can be a big mistake. Product managers need to be able to step back and look at their products objectively so they can make decisions that are best for their customers—not just what’s best for them personally or what they think is cool.
Avoid being too focused on money: The best product managers focus on solving customer problems and creating value instead of making money or maximizing profit margins. They don’t let financial considerations drive every decision, but they do understand how each decision impacts profitability and how changes in one area will affect other areas of their business model.
Avoid letting your ego get in the way: Product managers should be willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to listen to others’ opinions—even if those opinions contradict what they believe is right. Product managers who are arrogant about their own ideas can quickly lose credibility with customers, employees, partners, investors, and anyone else involved with product development.
Avoid falling into a not invented here trap: Sometimes companies avoid using new products or services because they were developed outside of their organization instead of asking themselves whether that particular product or service will solve one of their customer’s problems. This can be especially harmful to startups, as it limits access to talent and resources that could help them get ahead of competitors.
4 Best Product Planning Tools
Creating a product can be one of the hardest, most difficult tasks in the world of small business and entrepreneurship. There are so many steps involved, from inception to marketing and beyond that, it’s hard to know where to begin sometimes. That’s why it’s helpful to have the right product planning tools at your disposal, including these four best product planning tools on the market today.
Software companies are using ClickUp, the best product planning software, to make everything clear. The software itself is designed to be intuitive. You don’t have to spend time figuring out how to use it. If your company makes products, that’s a big plus for a tool like ClickUp. You can create a product plan here easily, then, assign the task to your team member and follow up on the process. It is easy to keep everything on schedule with it. Excepting task management, you can create the desired product plan document here and share it with one click.
Monday.com is an all-in-one product planning tool that allows you to create a product plan with a prepared template and customize it on your own. It is easy to upload the file you need and assign the task to someone. It can also work as an approval system when you need to get proof about your product concept or strategy from your manager. Everything you need for product planning can be done in this tool.
Plan out your tasks in order of priority, flag major milestones, and tag each one with a due date, responsible team member, and more with this product planning tool. Ntaskmanager also offers discussion threads for each task to keep teams on track as they work toward their objectives. It is one of those tools that you must use in your daily routine to make sure that everything is going according to the plan.
Bit.ai is a document creating and sharing tool similar to Google Docs. If you like creating product planning with a document format. It is what you need. It makes the creation process easy as it provides a lot of templates.
You shouldn’t be afraid of product planning, no matter how daunting it may seem. Product planning isn’t a one-time exercise; rather, it’s an ongoing activity throughout your business. As your market and customer base evolve, so too should your product planning process. It involves gathering information about customer needs and preferences, working with different teams and departments, and thinking about whether your products or services will be successful over time.