Guide

Product life cycle

Development stage of a product life cycle

Product development is the first stage of the product life cycle. It begins only when you find and start to develop a new idea.

How to develop a product idea

You may be an inventor who has already come up with a new product or service idea, and is ready to bring that idea to market. However, if you are a business that needs some help to regularly develop new ideas, you might want to partner with innovators, designers, university researchers or manufacturers to develop your ideas generation processes. Then you can work as a team to develop the idea.

See 7 key advantages of R&D for small business.

What to consider at the development stage of product life cycle

At the development stage of the product life cycle, you should ensure that your idea will meet:

  • potential customer expectations
  • design, resource and manufacturing requirements
  • the strategy outlined in your business plan

You should plan for all the potential outcomes and risks and analyse what is involved in the process.

Development stage - objectives

At this stage, you should not worry about sales or introducing the product. Your focus should be on working with a team of designers, manufacturers or product development experts on:

  • producing prototypes
  • testing prototyped product
  • sourcing and pricing materials
  • intellectual property issues

To further develop your product, you should:

  • consult team members on development plans
  • speak to suppliers and other business associates
  • communicate with customers about your plans
  • consider the environmental impacts of your product
  • ask a group of potential customers to test your product and give feedback - you can use this to develop the product and, later in the product's life cycle, to market it

When developing your product or service you need to establish the level of quality you are aiming for, and how many different versions you want to develop to generate interest at launch.

See more on the introduction stage of a product life cycle.

During development, it is important to take steps to protect all your intellectual property rights - eg patents and trademarks - before you launch the product or service. Doing this protects you from other competitors copying the idea and hurrying through an alternative. See how to protect your intellectual property.