The end of the year is the traditional time to reflect on your achievements and progress; and plan forward for the next year.
If you run your own business; which many instructors and Personal Trainers do, those precious days between Christmas and New Year sometimes give an hour or so of downtime to reflect on what has gone well and what you can do differently.
What new products can you create in 2018?
A traditional product development process looks something like the below.
Step 1: Understand your Market and your Customer
This stage involves lots of thinking, research and analysis.
I find a large piece of paper or five works well for this exercise as it involves you asking yourself a long list of questions…!
- What is your product and what is its’ USP?
- What market do you operate in?
- Who are your current customers?
- What other things might your current customers buy from you?
- What other customers are out there?
- What is the size of these market segments?
- Who are your competitors – what do they do that you could do better, or differently?
Step 2: Create your Product or Service Concept
So, now you understand the landscape, what can you do?
Think about your own skills and interests. What do you love? What are you good at?
Think about your current products? What are the gaps between what you offer and what the market and customers might want?
Another list of questions… examples might be:
If you teach ante natal, can you expand that to include post-natal? If you are a Personal Trainer, do you have any specialised knowledge that you can use to create a niche for yourself? If you teach Pilates, could you expand that into postural analysis?
What is your digital offering? Could you expand your products to include online support, or are there any other programmes or solutions that you could buy in?
Once you have thought about product, you need to shape it in to something tangible and that you can package for sale.
You want to make sure that any new product is affordable, that the product can be marketed and delivered at a price point that is attractive to the customer and profitable for you so think about how you might deliver your product.
Your delivery must be impeccable. In an industry that is so people focused, excellent delivery and excellent customer service are vital.
Spend some time scoping the precise nature of the product or service you would like to add to your portfolio.
So summarise from all your notes:
- What is the product?
- How will you deliver it?
- Who is it for?
- What price will you charge?
- How will you market it?
Step 3: Validation
Before you launch, check what people think of your new idea. Test the idea on a few close customers, with the right customer profile; those that you know will give you an honest answer as to whether and what they might pay.
This will result in some adjustments to your idea no doubt.
Step 4: Build, Iterate and Test
Testing with customers and asking for customer feedback is something that you should embed into your company ethos. Listening and acting on good feedback can revolutionise your company success.
You might do a few loops of this process.
Testing the idea might result in changes, which mean you test again.
But, accept that it will never be perfect and at some point you will need to draw a line and move to launch. Many companies make the mistake of getting stuck in the loop, waiting for perfection. Believe me – perfection never happens!
Step 5: Launch – Go for it!!
Think about what is unique about this product or service and what the important features are that customers will latch on to.
Think about your existing customers and how you might get to new ones.
Plan your launch and make sure you have your social media and other marketing in place.
And keep on track – keep tracking your customer feedback, don’t wait until December 2018 to review, schedule weekly check-ins with yourself to track success.
Be honest with yourself and be bold.
Not all products or services succeed, but if you think and plan well, you have a greater chance of success. If it doesn’t work, try something else!
Innovation and energy are infectious!
Article by Sam Cullum – Upstartr