Products and services

Product Development – Follow the Plate

How a good product development process can save you time, productivity and money

Over the past 10 years, nearly all of our clients have been entrepreneurs – people who spotted needs in the marketplace and built companies to meet those needs. So, by nature, we all – myself included – constantly think of new ways to sell more stuff – products or services. Based on experience, my guess would be those in the restaurant industry that run their own stores or have the flexibility to be creative must be masterful at this due to the need to come up with some new menu items that will sell nearly every day.

If you think about it, restaurateurs have to be good at this or they subject themselves to losing a lot of money, quickly. When they commit to a special, they are immediately investing ingredients and time into the development of the menu item without necessarily being able to get the investment back. So while the cost of a plate might be 1/4 – 1/3rd of the price of the product (raw goods) the time associated with developing the item adds additional costs.

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  • Test, Evaluate, Adjust, Repeat

Test, Evaluate, Adjust, Repeat

Dimensions of product improvement and the product improvement cycle

While I am not a car person, per se, there are a few models that I tend to keep an eye on for what changes are made year after year, One year, there might be body styling changes, another, there might be a better engine, another year, they might have added airbags or something to that effect. The expectation has been that in a car’s first year or two in production, it still has “kinks” to get out of it before becoming what it could be.

The question begs to be asked, of course – why not keep the car the same once it has been produced? Why do engineers and other members of the product team need to continue to evaluate how the vehicle can be improved year after year?

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If Nobody’s Buying | Extraordinary Business

How some firms get the right product to the right target

customer-centric
Have you ever spoken with the eternal optimist who sounds like this?

Who is your customer?
Any and everybody. Everyone needs what I am selling and everyone will buy it.

Who is your competition?

No one. No one is doing what our company does the way that we do it. We are unique. We are innovators.

Why aren’t you successful?

We need some more capital in order to get the message out to the marketplace. Once we do that, everyone will tell their friends and family and we will be in great shape. The world will beat a path to our door!

 
Hmmmm…if business were only that simple. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, they say.
Perhaps. [···]

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  • If Nobody's Buying

If Nobody’s Buying

How some firms get the right product to the right target

Have you ever spoken with the eternal optimist who sounds like this?

Who is your customer?
Any and everybody. Everyone needs what I am selling and everyone will buy it.

Who is your competition?

No one. No one is doing what our company does the way that we do it. We are unique. We are innovators.

Why aren’t you successful?

We need some more capital in order to get the message out to the marketplace. Once we do that, everyone will tell their friends and family and we will be in great shape. The world will beat a path to our door!

Hmmmm…if business were only that simple. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, they say.

Perhaps. [···]

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  • What the Heck

What the Heck?

10 questions to ask to avoid undermining your product marketing activities

Recently, I was in the market for a new mobile phone because mine had been stolen. Working through my provider’s website, I was somewhat irritated because I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for at a price I was willing to pay. I ended up stopping by the store, just to see what phones they might have in stock, just in case.

When I arrived at the store, I was approached by a sales person, who listened to my needs and concerns before beginning to make recommendations. “For informational purposes” he showed me several of the latest and greatest items so that I could begin to benchmark capabilities.

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  • What about me???

What about Me???

How to reach your target audiences effectively in order to create interest in what you are selling

My phone was recently stolen while out and about with my family. While a bit disappointed (perhaps distraught and considering filing a missing person’s report), I decided to look at purchasing a new phone. While I am typically not the type of person who jumps on the latest tech innovation for the sake of it, and I am not necessarily a trend follower, I do look for things with the mindset of making the best investment possible. So the $10 upgrade plan at T-Mobile was probably not going to cut it.  At the same time, the latest, greatest Galaxy s$ and the iPhone 5 weren’t going to cut it…not interested in paying for bells and whistles.

So where does that leave me? Who in the marketplace is actually speaking to me?  Which phone will fit my needs, presently and into the near future? Certainly BlackBerry seems like the standard industry standby, plus their new phones look pretty sleek and features seem to work…but I am not feeling as confident in that brand.  Nokia…interesting phone, but both Nokia and Windows have also had a history of issues.  Back to the iPhone…not interested in learning a new operating system – plus I have Android apps I have invested in.  HTC – love their stuff (my old phone was the HTC One S – fantastic phone!), but it is missing a few hardware features and doesn’t support the level of customization I am looking for…

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Is it REALLY a Better Mousetrap?

Successful innovation in today’s marketplace – short sight or long view approach?

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” is one of those widely misquoted phrases.  The phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson actually is

“If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods,”

followed several years later by

“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor…”

While it might be a great motivational quip – and perhaps a driver for many inventors, you still have to ask yourself:

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The Path of the Innovator | Extraordinary Business

Getting your idea from the drawing board to the marketplace

The idea person says, “Hey, it would be pretty cool if we could fix this problem” but stops at the point of talking about it.

The inventor says, “I can make something that will solve this problem” but stops short of figuring out how to bring it to market.

The innovator says “This is how we can solve this opportunity, which provides a value for a market that is in excess of the cost to solve the problem,” and does it.

(With the right messaging, positioning and sales, the investors say, “I get it.  Let me throw some money at it to make it happen faster!”)

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Upgrades! If You Buy it…Will They Use it? | Extraordinary Business

Challenges with getting your team to adopt your new software solutions

Change Management in ITAfter investing the lion’s share of cash and time to source, customize and implement the latest, greatest be-all-to-end-all solution for your company, you find that your people still aren’t using it, or at least, aren’t using it to a level where you can see a return on your investment.  You don’t get it.  You stand there, scratching your head, not knowing whether to scream, have one-on-one counseling, provide additional training, or just let it go.
Having done a number of CRM and Business Management installations, this is a challenge that many business leaders face when doing a software implementation.  Sure – it is a good idea.  If used, the solution will probably enable you to run your business more efficiently, give you some idea of predicting leads, project expenses, managing productivity and other business critical analytics.  Unfortunately, this struggle is a typical change management issue, wherein different groups of people will approach change in different ways.
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