Every small business requires the development of new products. This is very important for the growth of such businesses. If you own a small enterprise, developing new products will push your business into new markets. This way, you tend to attract new customers and increase activity with existing ones.

However, small businesses face quite some challenges. For example, the budgets for such companies are smaller than for larger companies. Also, there is a limit to the number of products that a small business can develop. The implication is that SMEs must choose their products very carefully. This is to ensure a balance between product development costs & risk and the expected return on investment. 

In this article, we will examine the steps involved in developing a new product for small businesses. Let’s get right into it!

6 Steps Involved in New Product Development for Small Businesses

There are six significant steps in the developing a new product that every small business must follow. Following these steps accordingly will ensure an eventual successful product launch. The steps are discussed below:

#Step 1: Generation of Ideas

The first stage of every product’s life cycle is the generation of concepts and ideation. If there is no idea, there is nothing to build on. Therefore, you must first define the concept of your intended product. In most cases, it is usually tricky to pinpoint the actual source of the concept. It may be from a discussion with a business partner, a book you read, or a conference you had attended.

Many times, small business owners tend to have multiple ideas. However, not every one of these ideas can make it to the conceptualization stage, only the workable ones. It is vital to have a structured brainstorming business to conceptualize a product idea. You may do it alone as a business owner or do it with a partner or your team. Regardless of who you brainstorm with, always keep an open mind and pitch every facet of your idea. 

Step #2: Designing

Sometimes, the process of developing a product can quickly become complex. Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary time to plan the design. A concrete product design will give a view of the eventual functioning of the product. Without such a design, a manufacturer could get confused at subsequent steps in the development process. 

It is usually best to first create a sketch of what you would love your product to be like. Also, such a sketch should be very detailed, including labels and annotations of the different features. Your diagram should be able to highlight the various materials or components involved in product creation. This way, you will have something to help begin the production process. At this point, you may also begin to consider making 3D models of your product for ease of manufacturing.

Step #3: Prototyping

The prototyping phase is a critical step during product development. This phase helps to make products that serve as samples for mass production. Very few products get finished in the first attempt. This is why prototyping allows you to experiment with various versions of your product. During this process, you can improve the product and remove some parts of it until you reach optimum satisfaction. 

There are several prototype manufacturing companies to ensure the adequacy of this process. Furthermore, different prototyping methods include CNC machining, injection molding, 3D printing, and sheet metal fabrication. These are the top methods for making a wide range of products, including household accessories, aircraft and aerospace parts, electronics, medical instruments, etc. 

The process used will depend on the type of product you wish to develop. Techniques such as 3D printing ensure that designs can come to life at much lower costs. Faster turnaround times are also guaranteed with some of these processes. This way, your prototype can be ready for the next stage of development.

Step #4: Developing Small Volume Samples

You may be satisfied with how a prototype turned out, but can you say the same for your target audience? It is not enough to have one prototyping session, but small volume production is also essential. This creates room for enough products to be available for the market testing process. 

After establishing the target audience, the next thing is to develop just the right amount of products to test with potential customers. It is important to note that this is not the final production process. Thus, only the required amount of samples should be developed.

Step #5: Customer Trials and Market Testing

With your small volume samples ready, it’s time to test your product with the target market. Here, you help your potential customers get the feel of the product. This step aims at reducing all forms of uncertainties surrounding the success of the new product development. Market testing involves evaluating the viability of the product and its marketing strategy.

Market testing can be in two phases. First, there are test engineers who use and judge the performance of the products. After testing the performance, these engineers may further map the results of the marketing against those expected. The second phase involves the use of the product by the customers or target group. In this stage, the customers give unbiased feedback on the product’s performance.

You can then refine the products based on the overall feedback. That is, changes are made if there are issues with the product. Here is where you make the final tweaks to your product before going into the last step.

Step #6: Mass Production

After making changes to your product based on customer feedback, you can then begin the largescale production of the product. At this stage, you are ready to release the product into the marketplace. It would help to be sure that your customers are prepared to accept the product and the rest of your team are ready for the product launch. If you have all boxes checked, then your product is ready to go!


Small businesses often face several challenges when it comes to new product development. The challenges may be in the form of production costs, manufacturing capabilities, and marketing abilities. However, there are one-stop custom manufacturing companies that offer services from prototyping to production. These companies assist small businesses in developing their products more seamlessly.


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