Epic Rocket - Ground Cam © by Steve Jurvetson (2011)

Product launches are one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding processes known to entrepreneurs. If you want to grow a profitable company, then you need to realize the importance of product development and the behind-the-scenes iteration that makes it possible. Who knows? You may become obsessed with launching new ideas too.

What Is Iterative Product Development?

When you’re passionate about any aspect of business, that enthusiasm cultivates repetition. Repeating the product development process (iteration) is not unheard of for enterprise companies. In fact, iteration is what lies behind some of the world’s most successful brands.

If your bright idea sets the stage for a thriving company, imagine the possibilities of “genius on replay” — the consistent process of ideation to creation.

The longer you are in business — by choice or chance – the more likely iterative product development will become. For example, you may need to:

  1. Retool your current product to add value.
  2. Create brand extensions to grow market share.
  3. Address competitive pressures via “new news” initiatives.

If you’re thinking, “Not me, my product is perfect as-is,” think again. How many versions of your smartphone currently exist? Does your wardrobe consist of solely slim-fit and low-rise denim from the same brand? In contrast, do you listen to broken records that play the same track? And wouldn’t it be shameful if your favorite theater only played one movie?

The truth is, your ability to develop new products, iterate and deliver on core competencies will significantly improve and diversify your business in the long run.

How to Launch Market-Leading Products

Not all ideas make it through the full product development process. But the ones that do have huge potential. Here are four tips to help you manage your development obsession and launch market leaders:

  1. Stay true to your main objective. Does a new product support your primary business goal? All paths should lead back to your mission and support “why” you exist.
  2. Clearly define requirements. Do you know everything it takes to create your new widget? Not likely. Start with speculation and end with consultation. Connect with specialists at each checkpoint to assess actual needs. For example, if your widget requires contract labor, set up site visits with manufacturers and learn how they can help you.
  3. Document dirty details. Product launches generally focus on six core areas: ideation, concept testing, business analysis, market testing, production and commercialization. Your process may include some or all of these. Classify the details and streamline to increase efficiency.
  4. Make it sellable, shippable, supportable and scalable. Identify the benefits and features of your product. Then, ensure that it’s ready for end users (i.e. no major functionality problems exist and the production process is clearly defined). Next, guarantee its supportability via quality assurance checks. And lastly, though you would be excited to sell 10 widgets, prepare to sell 10,000!

Erica Nicole is an accomplished serial entrepreneur, acclaimed small business expert, dynamic speaker, syndicated columnist, philanthropist and Christian thought leader. Erica leads a diverse business portfolio across digital media, national speaking, global business development, and electronic equipment industries. She is the CEO and founder of YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.