Physical Products

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Physical Products

Product-based businesses are those that sell tangible items. For the owner of one of these businesses, the objective is to create something that can be replicated to scale. Unlike services, there is less of an emphasis on client interaction with a product-based business. With services, a person is offering their skills and expertise to make a customer’s life easier; whereas, with products, the business is creating an object to enhance the customer’s life. 

 It should be noted, however, that the customer experience is still just as important with product-based businesses, and like services, trust and authenticity should still be at the core of every strategy. For products, you start building trust with customers by creating a quality and reliable product. The challenge for you as the business owner is to balance the quality you want to give with a sustainable cost-effective production model. 

Product-based businesses’ biggest challenge is the fact that the initial costs are very high in comparison to other business models. In the beginning, you will have to front money for product development, prototypes, and initial inventory. If you are able to self support or find funding for the start-up costs, then a product-based business could be a lucrative endeavor. 

As you consider and create your fulfillment process for your product(s), your ability to be consistent and reliable in your production, delivery, and service support should be key factors in your decisions. Though the initial costs are high in product-based businesses, the main advantage to them is that once the product is developed, the other steps are easily replicated. Because processes are easily replicated in a product-based business, the customer experience is also fairly predictable in contrast to service-based businesses. 

If you are considering a product-based business model, here is an overview of the considerations you will have to make during the fulfillment process. 

Defining the Purpose of Your Product

Designing your strategies with the customer as the number one priority means that you must define your product through their eyes. This means deciding what value your product will bring to the customer’s life. You could be improving on a product on the market, eliminating the middleman, creating an entirely new invention, making another product more cost efficient, using completely recyclable materials, etc. Whatever your reason for developing your product, you need to make sure your reason is in line with adding value to potential customers’ lives. A solid value proposition will not only define what manufacturers and materials you use, but it will also define how you create your awareness strategy when the product is produced.

Another way to define your product is by establishing what gap it fills in the market. Chances are, unless you are creating a completely new product, that a similar product will already be on the market. So you have to decide where the gap is in the present products to determine where yours fits. Gaps can be physical or emotional. Physical gaps refer to improvements made on an existing product like fashionably styled shoes that also have built in arch support. Emotional gaps refer more towards the interests of a target market. A spatula, for example, doesn’t really need improvements, but an R2D2 designed spatula would be emotionally appealing for the Stars Wars target audience. 

When you are able to verbalize the gap your product fills, create a value proposition, and establish how your customer’s lives will improve, then you are ready to move on to designing your product. 

Design

When you are just starting to develop a new product, think of the minimum requirements to make your product effective and of quality. As you grow, you will be able to add on other features, but for now, you want to stick to a design that allows your product to function as defined by your value propositions. You will also want to have multiple sketches of your design with different options during the design phase. Perhaps a hinge could work in multiple directions or you have a few aesthetic design choices you are thinking of. Draw them all out so that you don’t get stuck on one path and hinder your own creativity. If you have the ability, it is always advised to make models of your designs before developing a prototype.

Beyond the initial design, you will have to make other considerations in the design phase as well. Even though you are not evaluating a prototype yet, you should be considering the labor and material costs of each design choice. You want to be sure that the design you decide on does not have a part or mechanism that makes sustainability impossible. You may also want to price out manufacturers at this point. If you have the capability to move forward with building your prototype, you can be the manufacturer. However, if you are someone who has the idea and design but not the capability to make it, you will have to factor the costs of a third party manufacturer into this process. 

Especially if you are improving on a product that is already on the market, you want to check for legal restrictions. Despite your inventive capabilities, some industries have a lock on patents that would keep you from being able to take your product to market. Make sure you are legally capable to move forward in your development process before going any further. 

Develop

Once you have decided on designs, budgeted your materials, and ensured you can move forward legally, it is time to test your prototypes. Chances are your original designs will not work exactly the way you want them to or you have multiple viable options for a quality product. At this point, you want to get other people to try to product and get their feedback. Remember, that you as the creator will always be biased. Having objective feedback from focus groups or those you know can help illuminate flaws or concerns they might have that would keep them from buying the product. When you have that feedback, you not only have the insight of what it takes to convert potential customers, but you also have a list of improvements you can make to your product. 

Depending on the complexity of your product or the extensiveness of the feedback, you may need to complete a few more rounds of prototypes and feedback. The key to a successful development phase is the ability to respond to the feedback that can improve your product while still remaining true to your value propositions. 

Once you have decided on the prototype that will become the product, you will want to decide on the vendors and manufactures you will want to use for your products to ensure you are getting the best quality for the most cost-efficient price. 

Deliver

The deliver phase consists of all aspects that get your product from production to your customers. While the deliver phase does start with your supply chain, it can also include making decisions on storage and shipping. 

For product-based business, shipping includes more than which delivery service to go with. It will also include the materials you need to ship, if you want logos on your boxes, and how you will add the personal touch to improve your customer experience. 

Another major decision you will have to make for your deliver phase is if you are going to sell your product online or in a store front. Depending on your target market and the appeal of your product, you may one to choose both a store and selling online or one or the other. Particularly local products have the advantage of local flea markets or farmers markets to sell your products as well. Whichever option you choose, you want to make sure that all aspects of customer and technical support are running smoothly before you launch the product. 

Now What?

If you have already decided that a product-based business is right for you, then you should prioritize ensuring your value propositions are the main focus behind the design of your product. Then, you can begin the designing process and moving through fulfillment. 

If you still aren’t sure what fulfillment offering is right for you, consider a hybrid model. Maybe it makes more sense for you to start out as a service and then include a product later. Perhaps two different models need to work in tandem. Ultimately, you know the impact you want to make with starting your business. It is okay for you to blend two models or create a business plan where you start with one and transition to another. Whatever decision you make, the important part is that your decision fulfills both your business desires and the value you want to bring to your customers. 

 

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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