How To Building Products That Last

Chapter 1: The Five Factors for Building Successful Products

Building great products need 5 essential factors.

The Five Factors for Building Successful


Look around you and you will see a number of successful products. An iPod, a Sony Vaio laptop, Colgate toothpaste, Coca Cola, Parker pens… the average consumer will use hundreds of branded products in his lifetime. What is it that you like about your possessions? You like your Whirlpool washing machine and the Xerox copier because they work
well and just go on and on without breaking down. You adore your Volkswagen Beetle for its sleek looks. And you can’t do without Kellogg’s for breakfast.

Here then, are the 5 vital factors needed for a successful product:

1. Create something that people want
2. Design and build it with high quality
3. Price it right
4. Keep the investment low
5. Backup with after sales service.

Gianfranco Zaccai, of the design group Continuum that developed the Adidas intelligent shoe, says a hit product should be “technologically possibly to produce, delight the consumer and be profitable”.

You must research the market well and listen to what people are asking for. Your product must have an USP – Unique Selling Proposition. Just as Olay stood for ‘younger looking skin’ and Domino’s Pizza vouched for delivery in ‘30 minutes or it's free’, your product also has to send a clear message.

Good quality can be ensured by meticulous design, extensive testing and quality-control procedures. Outsourcing to cut costs can sometimes backfire and result in expensive recalls. Keep engineering and manufacturing as close together as possible.

Are you targeting the financial elite of society or the broader base of the pyramid? Evaluate your product manufacturing cost, the advertising budget and the market conditions carefully before fixing the price tag.

Too high will price you out and too low will raise questions of your quality.

Start small by delivering to a ready predetermined market. Keep inventory low by building to order. Standardize your assembly line and parts and buy in bulk to gain discounted prices. Keep the overheads minimal.

Just as you started out by listening to people, you have to end by continuing to listen. After sales service and warranty periods are great opportunities to gain feedback on your product and to improve them further or just discontinue them if they are floundering.

All these factors play equally important roles in the development, manufacturing and marketing a successful product. Remember every great product and company started out just as an entrepreneur’s dream. So your dream today may well be tomorrow’s Ford Model-T, Apple Computer or Google!

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