This month our blog series returns with the spotlight switching to one of the most contentious of pain points when it comes to managing any project; budgeting. It’s critical to get this fundamental aspect of your project nailed as early in the design process as possible – you won’t know if you’re on budget, if you don’t have one!
A critical part of bringing your concept to life will be to understand its limitations. It’s a common phenomenon, project creep, and one that is all too easy to run away with and can be costly. To create a product that will hold real value to your market you must ensure the integrity of the offering is cemented. People don’t want an okay product which kind of does 9 and a half different things. They want an amazing product, which does maybe 3 things exceptionally and intuitively, at a comfortable price.
To nail this winning combination, you have to work the process back, and it all starts with budgeting. To make your new venture a success, all product development costs will need to be factored into the pricing structure.
Before your design consultancy can get stuck in, they will need to carry out a feasibility study. This crucial step in the process allows the team to take a closer look at your concept. The designers will need to understand the desired outcomes in order to explore how technically viable the creation of the product will be. They will look into the legalities and any copyright infringement and maybe even IP protection. By the end of the study you will not only understand if your product is technically possible to build, but you will be armed with a set of recommendations on approaches to aspects such as prototyping and manufacturing, complete with a set of figures associated with each area. This will give you an understanding of how commercially viable your product might be.
Next up, prototyping. This is the where the build is tested in order to ‘have a go’ at bringing it together and testing out how it looks, works and sounds, or possibly a combination of those elements. There are different approaches that can be taken here depending on the product, which might include electronics, software, casing, injection moulding or 3D printing. All of these techniques have a cost and a timeline associated with them so you will need to budget for them in terms of both time and money. Prototyping is also where the design team will learn the most about how the product will need to be built for successful manufacturing – arguably one of the most important parts of the design process.
The findings from prototyping will help the team to determine how best your product can be built, so they should be able to provide you with a guide on what the costs might look like when it comes to manufacturing. At this point you’ll also be able to start considering packaging and associated overheads for safe delivery.
Next you’ll need to consider how you go about taking this concept to market. If your product is targeted at the consumer then social media and online retailing might be for you. If it’s more of a trade, B2B or industry specific item you may be considering resellers, trade shows or telemarketing teams. All of these suggestions will come at a price, so you’ll need to explore the best fit for your market, so that your product gets snapped up!
Product testing will be important, not only once you have a prototype to play with, but again after the final product has been developed. You may even find that it’s necessary to work with focus groups in order to ensure the product is going to perform as planned. Testing will contribute valuable insight which could make the difference between success and failure when you go to market, so you’ll want to budget for this.
And finally, with so many elements at play, you’re going to require a contingency. We learn the best lessons from our mistakes, so it’s recommended to budget for a bit of course correction! Never assume what the answer might be – it’s always worth taking the time and if need be, the money, to investigate further. Our final tip for staying on-budget? Be consistent and determined in what you are trying to achieve and always stick to your brief!
Our product design experts here at Conficio are on hand to help you understand how your idea could be bought to life, and of course, the best way to budget to make your idea a reality. Email us here or give us a call on 01962 454474.
Next time in this series we address understanding scope and setting expectations.