Is it more important to perfect the product or hit the ground running and make adjustments as the product develops?
Almost ready to launch a Vermont Maple Syrup and Product outlet in Orlando, Florida. A lot of advertising and publicity efforts have already been made. The conflict with opening is that we don't have the quantity of products we have planned for in stock. Also still deciding the best revenue products like maple cotton candy or maple candy canes for the holidays, etc. I'm looking to hear from some business consultants how developed the product should be before opening. Thank you.
Product should be launched when it is ready but necessarily perfect. Timing is key and the product should be good enough to go out. You then need to get feedback through various sources and improve and adjust to consumer preferences. Unlikely product will ever be perfect and then neither is the tastes of different people. Product has a lifecycle and it is depends on timing and cost. You can keep perfecting for long incurring costs and losing time to market advanage.
I have had many reviews of what I have done, of a service that I am providing to others. I am now doing surveys and I am placing the groundwork to trademark my ideas that are sure to "Wow!" the public. If you already have done reviews and have the great results, it is time to hit the ground running. Blessings to you Rema!
Perfect the product first and with the right team and assigned UPC everything else will be added onto it.
There is nothing as a "perfect product" as tastes vary among consumers. I would suggest to go for option 2 and improvise as you go based on your sales and customer feedback.
If a unavailable part or feature of your product will not undermine quality nor it doesn't possess a valuable advantage in the launch then it'll be a good idea to hit the ground running. But then again first impression last if from such launch your audience hardly tell a difference between yours and that of your competitors then you'll have a hard time getting your expected market share.
Perfect the Product all that starts well ends well. This way a more distinct and innovative brand is thus noticed by its unique proposition and perfect product features. Moreover, when you perfect your product you'll probably perfect your pitch or even detailing the product to the market.
Dear Rema, it depends on your strategy of course. One way would be rapid prototyping, to get real feedback form your customers. Important I guess is to communicate this. That way you can get in contact with potential customers and let the be part of your brand, you have a dialog or a sound board on what products are attractive. More information about rapid prototyping are here: http://www.planningnotepad.com/2012/02/design-thinking-series-3-rapid.html
1. I believe your planning is a late in the process, especially if you are launching the product for the holidays. Typically, holiday products are in place before June or July at the very latest.
2. If you are still trying to decide which product(s) to sell, I would highly recommend that you use this season to test the market. I wouldn't invest a lot of money on advertising. Malls and tastings would be best suited at this time.
Malls during the holidays allow or have available pop-up 'stores' or stands available. You won't need a lot of products because you can stay open for as long as you have product when you run out you shutdown.
This way you will (a) determine if the market is suitable for your product or not, (b) whom in the market would be best suited to target, and (c) which flavors are most popular.
The latter can be accomplished using small taste sample and a survey. The taste samples should be blind and only let the samplers know the flavor they chose after tasted the various flavors.
Just my 2 cents.
I have always advocated that you product simply has to be competitive in the market you intend to enter. No need to polish the apple any further for now. Launch aggressively and be ready to make further enhancements to respond to market needs and competitive pressures.
But, by your description above, you may not have done enough market research to determine what you need to be selling. If you had done that, your questions would already been answered and you would be manufacturing the right products. Guessing or running the business without data is dangerous. It's a good way to lose your shirt.
I don't think you have development problem. You have a market understanding problem.
That's kind of rough on you, but I have seen this issue many many times.
Many great answers; I think Rajesh hit it succinctly- the trouble is you may have already set unrealistic expectations. Rather than focusing on the best revenue products at this point I suggest you be most attentive to serving a specific market and actively soliciting and acting upon the feedback that is given.
Whoa...Be real careful that your advertising and publicity efforts are not overpromising and under delivering...That being said be honest and figure out a way to get your quantity of products up to meet your promises either by working overtime, farming some of the production out...etc.
The only other thing you might try is to send the syrup to them after Christmas, and if they like it have them pay you...If not; you just learned a tough lesson--- sorry to say...But OVERPROMISING AND UNDER DELIVERING kills many a business...Just be honest as you can and get in front of this now!
Go for it and learn along the way. Remember, imperfect action is better than no action! :)
Many great small business products get their buzz because they DON'T have the supply. That's where opportunity comes along. There is a great story of a home made granola that was literally home made in a kitchen. Whole Foods buyer found it and heard it was always selling out at the small Tribecca store where it was sold. The interest allowed them to find financing to rent a commercial kitchen and today they are very wealthy men. Nothing is ever perfect, continuous improvement is a culture so sell baby, sell.
A soft opening and getting feedback from your customers will help you decide if your products are right or not. You mentioned that you already have done publicity. If you have generated some initial buzz, take advantage of it. Only by opening and selling will you know what products your customer likes. Better to have a product people want to buy than a warehouse full of stuff that you like but your customer hates. Hope it all goes well and brings you success.
It would entirely depend on where are you headed. Whether you are looking forward to run a 'Microsoft' or passionate enough to build an 'Apple', isn't it...?
Great question. I can see from your comments that you are very passionate about your business and that you care about the customer experience. Well done!
It's no surprise that many entrepreneurs ask this question. In my experience, most entrepreneurs are product people, which makes sense - first you need a product, then you need to sell it!
My advice when asked this question is:
1. Is the product at an acceptable quality for your market and your brand positioning?
2. If the answer is "no", then keep developing your product.
3. If the answer is "yes" then start selling.
Revenue will give you the breathing space to improve your product for phase/version two, which you can launch at a premium price once you have established yourself.
Without revenue you are burning capital and if you spend too long developing your product to "perfection" you run the risk of running out of capital and losing your dream.
Congrats for launching your new business. You can always start small with whatever you have, and ask for feedback from customers.
You can get ready pre-order form to deliver the candy and candy canes later, or offer a free deliver as X'mas promotion.
You need a marketable product to sell, it may and may not be the "prefect" product that you think it is.
It is always easier to sell a product already liked by customers than having to promote your perfect product that your customers dislike.
All the best to your business launching!
There's no such thing as a perfect product. You will always find things you can develop or improve upon. My suggestion, launch it and get feedback from customers to improve on the subsequent productions.
Stick with what you know as far as the product is concerned. Change the flavor or the offering in size, shape or what you feel is right for the seasonal sales but don't change your initial recipe.
Ask yourself; how are you or your product different than other products in the market and focus on that difference as your key differentiator.
As for the market; go with what you have and sell out and it's always good to have backorders.
Id say start small. The product you sell should be something you're confident and knowledgeable about. While the idea of maple candy canes sounds awesome and delicious, if you can produce them at a standard you want then done make them. However if its a simple issue of volume, simply let your customers know when you have more they'll get them. Being sold out of a product is way better than too much inventory you can't rid of. Whatever you don't have, or in short supply of, simply put a tally marker on your website to let people know how much of stuff you have left, so theres no surprises with inventory.