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What is a Product?

Adding a new product to your inventory or offering is one of the most basic ways you can grow your business. Other options include employing more people and opening fresh branches and locations, potentially even establishing a beachhead in a…

Adding a new product to your inventory or offering is one of the most basic ways you can grow your business. Other options include employing more people and opening fresh branches and locations, potentially even establishing a beachhead in a foreign market, but these a have a high level of risk: they require a larger investment of time and resources and therefore take longer to become profitable: months or even years!

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Conversely new products are relatively cheaper, quicker to recoup their costs and, if they fail to find an audience, can be more quickly withdrawn or repurposed, avoiding the messy spectacle of a public failure that can damage your brand.

Before you begin the new product development process it’s worth updating your understanding of just what constitutes a product. Taking a broader view might allow you to make some strides forward with design and offer customers a tailor made package that aligns perfectly with what they want and need.

Physical Items

The first definition of a product that springs to mind is a physical item on a shelf: a bag of sugar, a spade, a mobile phone. These are indeed products, but if your understanding stops here, you’re doing your business a disservice, and robbing yourself of some opportunities.

Digital Products

A wider definition of what a product can constitute also takes in digital projects: apps, programs, games and other digital accessories can all be bracketed as products and designed and marketed in the same way as a physical item. You may not even be selling the code for the programme in question: some of the valuable products in the digital space are licenses: the permission to make use of the programming.

It’s this definition that gets us closer to the truth, and a fuller understanding of just what a product can mean, for you and your customers.

Packages and Services

In truth, a ‘product’ is anything your customers will pay for, from the items on the shelf in a shop we discussed to begin with, to the permission to use your accounting software for twelve months and access to your consulting expertise. When you’re designing a new product, you might be physically making a prototype or working out a new way to package the services you offer. You could price a certain level of access to your consulting expertise at a new level, including a set number of hours and different services. This would constitute a ‘product’ and if you think about it in this way it can radically improve how you research and market your business.

 

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