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Inspiration to help you uncover your next new product ideaSuccessful businesses regularly innovate. These tips can help you uncover your next new product idea and maximize your chance of success.
Dupaco’s Tanya Moore swings through Jumble Coffee Company for a caffeine boost while visiting with owner and Dupaco business member George Nauman in Dubuque, Iowa. (T. McDermott/Dupaco photo)

Markets are dynamic and constantly evolve.

So no matter how great your products or services are, it’s good practice to regularly redevelop, replace, upgrade or update them to keep growing your business.

These tips can help you uncover your next new product idea.

Get inspired

To find new product or service ideas, try some of these tactics:

  • Attend trade shows to see what similar businesses are doing. What new trends and products are out there?
  • Network by attending business events and conferences. You’ll learn about developments in your industry and stay connected with your peers.
  • See what other businesses are doing by researching online. Search the industries and topics that are relevant to your business.
  • Look at research or government support websites for businesses or industries similar to yours. You might find profiles of high-growth companies. And you just might get inspired with ideas of your own.
  • Participate on social media platforms and channels. Follow relevant feeds, pages and groups.
  • Third-party e-commerce platforms offer a wealth of ideas to spark a new thought or variation on what you’re doing.
  • Contact your customers. Ask them about their issues, problems and needs. How can you help them?

Signs that your new product idea could work

While a good idea has no guarantee of success, a bad idea will most certainly fail.

Here are some signs your new idea could work:

  • You can sell it at the price or volume necessary to profit. Even the best idea won’t last if it costs more to produce or deliver than you can sell it for. Find out early how much it will cost to create or offer it.
  • Your idea can’t be easily copied. You don’t want competitors to copy your idea.
  • You have market power, a great distribution channel and an established brand. This will help customers trust that your new product or service will work because they already know and understand your business.
  • Your customers have been asking for it or are involved in the design phase.
  • Employees believe your new idea will work. They will often have more insight into what customers want.
  • You have the capacity and capability to produce the new product or service. If needed, you have access to the additional equipment, facilities or people to make it happen.

Manage the process

Product development involves time, labor and finance. So it’s important to plan carefully in advance. Minimize your risk by applying sound management techniques to your planning process.

You’ll want to create a team with the skills needed to complete the project. And every new product needs a champion to lead the team.

Give the project manager the authority to run the project—within an agreed budget and timetable. The team leader’s responsible for reporting progress to you at agreed milestones.

The project team should be customer-centered and work closely with your best customers to help develop and fine-tune the idea.

Protect your innovation. You can do this with intellectual property protection, like a patent, trademark or copyright. Or, you can keep it as an intellectual asset (meaning don’t tell anyone what you’re doing).

Get the basics on protecting your intellectual property >

Test your new product idea

Once a product prototype is produced or the service is ideated, you’ll need to test it.

A soft launch with a few customers can help you test your new product idea and gather feedback. You can find out what customers think and make tweaks if needed.

Testing will reduce major risks early so you can decide if it’s worth the potential reward.

Minimize your risk by:

  • Establishing the likely volume of sales and marketing and sales cost to achieve each sale to get a satisfactory return on your investment.
  • Determining if your target market and industry are growing and can absorb a new product or service.
  • Identifying any competing products already in the market. Ensure your business offers something different and unique.

Final thought

Successful businesses regularly look for ways to innovate.

This is essential to growing. Whether it’s a new product or service or one that complements an existing one, consider all the tips above to help maximize your chance of success.

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