15 Best Skills Business Development Strategies

Skill business development: The difference between successful products and bad inventions happens in product development. Lots of inventors have good ideas, but the ability to transition those ideas from flashes of brilliance to salable products? That’s innovation. You can learn to design your product into something that will sell, organize testing to keep yourself in business, and develop into a successful enterprise.

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Skill business development

1. Identify a consumer need. The difference between failed products and hot-sellers is need. As an aspiring entrepreneur and innovator, your goal is to create something that people don’t even know they need. What’s missing from the marketplace? What do people want?

  • There’s no easy way to answer this question, or we’d all be millionaires. Keep an idea notebook with you at all times, and try to keep track of times when you’re frustrated with something small and inspiration strikes. Maybe you’re lying on your back in the sun and having trouble holding up your book? What simple product might address your need?
  • While it might seem like an effective shortcut, polling consumers about what they’d like in terms of particular products tends not to pan out. Again, if people knew what great products they wanted, we’d all be millionaires.

2. Collaborate with designers. Coming up with the concept of the hoverboard is great and all, but you’ve also got to actually design the thing. Depending on your engineering abilities, you may need to collaborate with engineers and designers to come up with a workable prototype of your idea.

  • Write out your vision for the product as you see it, but also be willing to compromise when you come up against the practical concerns. Maybe hoverboard technology is a little complex at this point, but you find a guy with experience designing immersive video game technology. Hoverboard 3D!
  • Alternatively, try designing products yourself. The designer of the Revolight, an innovative bicycle lighting system, designed the prototype himself in the garage, and it made serious money on the Internet. Pick up the skills you don’t have and try it yourself.

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    Skill business development

3. Come up with multiple options. A good innovator comes up with a great product to fulfill a consumer need. A great innovator comes up with five. Try to examine the issue that you’re trying to fill from lots of different directions, thinking about as many alternative ways of getting around the issue as possible. Don’t be satisfied with one model to work with, try to come up with more, if that model should fail.

  • Again, think about the product in terms of need. If you’ve got a problem reading your book in the sun, you might automatically think of a little chest-prop for your book, but what about eye protection designed for reading? What about digital alternatives? What about keeping the pages free of sand?

4. Get the funding necessary to make a prototype. One excellent way of securing funding to create prototypes for expensive products to present to investors, or to go into full-scale production mode for yourself is to secure funding via crowdsourcing. Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and other crowdsourcing websites can be excellent methods of getting the start-up cash necessary to get your product off the ground. However, remember that some of the crowdfunding platforms require a functional prototype to be made before starting a campaign.

  • Building a prototype is not a small or simple task, especially if your product requires mechanisms, electronics, or firmware to function. Consider hiring a product development team that would produce a fully functional and neat prototype that would impress your backers and investors.
  • If you’ve got a good history of developing products, you might think about taking your product design to venture capitalists and gaining some money on the basis of your track record.

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Skill business development

5. Create a prototype. Once you’ve come up with a few good ideas and collaborated on designs with your designer or small team of designers, get a working prototype together and start testing it out. Depending on the nature of the product, this might take a while, or you might be able to get it together relatively quickly. When you do, you’re ready to start developing and testing.

6. Use the product yourself. Since you’re the one with the idea for the product in the first place, you’ll be the first line of testing. Try out your product on your own and see how it works. Keep track of little frustrations, elements of the product in need of tweaking, and spend a good deal of time using and thinking about the product you’re testing.

  • As you use the product, keep a journal or a voice recorder with you to keep track of your experience of the product as you’re using it. You might tend to remember all the bad or all the good later on.
  • Don’t just use the product, abuse it. If you’re thinking about going into production, you’ll want to find out what your product is made of, and whether or not it’ll stand up to people throwing it around, dropping it, and the other trappings of real-life ownership. Is it fragile? Could it use some reinforcing?

Skill business development

7. Find an audience. This is one of the most important parts of developing a product. Who’s going to buy what you’re selling? Who, like you, will have experienced the same frustration or desire that this product will fulfill? How will you reach that audience? The next step of your process will be getting other people to use your product and give you feedback, so you want to define your audience as specifically as possible in terms of several criteria:

8. Do a series of test trials. Bring your product to a group of people, let them try it, and give them the opportunity to provide feedback. This could be as informal as giving a few cases of your home-brew to your friends and family and listening to them review it, or as formal as doing a serious focus-group session with a series of different test groups.

  • If you want to do an informal feedback session, treat it as seriously as the product warrants. Your parents and your friends will likely tell you that your new beer is “Delicious” to be nice, but also give it to some serious beer drinkers to find out whether or not you’ve got the stuff.
  • If you conduct formal focus groups, do several runs with different groups of people. Your audience may be slightly different than you originally anticipated. Listen and gather feedback.

Skill business development

9. Gather criticism. As you give your product out and introduce it to unfamiliar users, start collecting first-hand feedback. Write up surveys, conduct interviews, and listen closely to the feedback given. Often, the difference between products that catch on and products that fall by the wayside is the ability of the inventors to incorporate feedback into product development.

  • In some cases, you might find it more effective to allow someone else to gather feedback about your product from testers. You may be inclined to defend your product against criticism, whereas a more unbiased researched will have an easier time collecting this feedback.

10. Revise the product. Steve Jobs wasn’t a renowned inventor. He was a genius tweaker. The best products aren’t usually the result of great leaps forward, but of little changes that make a good innovation or concept into a great product that you can sell. Incorporate the feedback you receive about your product into tweaks and revisions that will take it from good to great.

  • The feedback you gather will likely not have great ideas about ways in which the product needs to be changed, but you can listen to the criticism that occurs and come up with your own ideas about how to address those complaints. So people found your book prop somewhat complicated to use? How can it be easier?

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Skill business development

11. Come up with an operational budget. Before you secure funding to get your business off the ground, you’ll need to come up with an operational budget  when you’ve got your product in place. What will you need to grow your business and go into operation? What will you need to maintain a functioning enterprise? You’ll likely need to consider all of the following:

  • Cost of operation
  • Overhead
  • Outside expenses
  • Worker salaries

12. Write up a marketing plan for your product. Once you’ve got your product in place, you need to figure out a strategy for marketing that product to investors and eventually to customers. What is your selling point? What’s your “thing”?

  • The more you can decide about your marketing strategy before turning to an agency, the better. The best products can be sold on the strength of their usefulness and integrity. Good products sell themselves.

Skill business development

13. Present your product to investors. Going into production will take some start-up cash. The way to secure this is to present your new product to investors who will put up the cash to back your product and get you on your feet. The closer you are to a well-rounded and fully teased out idea and working model, the closer you’ll be to securing this capital and getting your business started.

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14. Develop the criteria for quality control. Once you secure capital and start going into business for yourself, you’ll have a lot of manufacturing concerns to take care of, depending on the product that you’re trying to sell. The one thing you need to be sure to keep ahead of, from a product development point of view, is the control of quality. What standards to you have for the quality of this product? What are you willing to compromise to save costs?

  • Come up with a rubric for measuring the quality of the products as you create them. You’re not always going to be around to test them, so come up with a list of things to look for so that someone else can be the quality maven in your stead.
15. Continue evaluating and innovating your product. As your business gets underway, it’s important to keep your eye on the future. What needs to happen down the road to keep your product grabbing its share of the market? How do you need to innovate to keep yourself ahead of the game? What’s likely to change about the marketplace that might affect the way you do business? The better you’re able to anticipate these changes, the stronger your product will remain.

Skill business development


  • Never operate a piece of machinery unless you have been shown how to!

  • Be careful when using any powerful machinery – always wear safety goggles and never place fingers near blades or sharp cutters.

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