At first glance, this seems pretty simple. What are your key products? Most businesses could name those. They may really only have one key product. The problem is that products – like businesses – have a life cycle. And there are no exceptions. Every product has a growth phase, a plateau phase, and a decline phase.
Where are your key products in that cycle? If they’ve been at a plateau for awhile, chances are the decline may be near. If that’s the case, then your plan needs to include a way to re-invigorate your product, or perhaps to create a niche for it to fit into.
If that’s not an option, then what about new products? Or at least, a reassessment of the products you offer? Perhaps it’s time to analyze your product portfolio. Work through market attractiveness factors (For example: size of the market, margins, risks, etc.) and business strengths (For example: market share, product quality, reputation, etc.). Score your products in each area. How does each of your products score? Where are your opportunities for improvement?
While you’re working through all of this, keep in mind the discussion from last week’s blog. What will your “customers of the future” really want? You might have an idea for a great new product with a lot of market potential. But what if the ideal customers in that market aren’t really what you’re looking for? Always keep in mind who you’re trying to reach.
Do you have products that are poised to be successful in the future? What can you do to capitalize on their potential? Are you constantly working to develop new products? Steve Jobs once said, “…Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.” What great products are you going to put in front of the customers of tomorrow?