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Smaller businesses like yours have a compelling advantage over the large-scale food manufacturers. You can move fast and stay agile. When it comes to new product development (NPD), speed to market is key to success, and the big companies don’t let anything out the door that hasn’t already been proven by extensive consumer research, deep data analysis, and concept design & testing. As a small-medium producer, you can test and tweak more quickly. What big businesses often have is a deep understanding of their own brand and category strategy. Not to mention the capital on hand to invest in whatever production line or supply chain changes may need to occur. But, there’s no reason why you can’t be just as well informed ahead of developing your next new product.

New products keep your brand relevant in a constantly changing world. Whether it’s the competitor landscape, advances in technology, a chance opportunity, or changing consumer preferences, new product development should be part of your ongoing discussion in the boardroom. They could be completely new products or modified versions of existing ones. The important first step is to be strategic about what products you consider adding to your portfolio rather than jumping straight into design and production. It may seem counterintuitive, but when you put more time into planning, you can put more speed into executing, and that’s how you avoid fizzing out and disappearing from consumers’ minds.

 

What do you stand for?

Think first—what do you want your brand to be known for in 3-5 years’ time? How do you want your consumers to describe you when they recommend your products to others? Sometimes knowing those things can be difficult, especially when you’re creating a whole new category. You may need to do some consumer education, in that case, but most of the time, it will be your consumers who educate you in the early phase of planning a new product.

What do you need to start testing?

After understanding your brand strategy and the needs of your consumers, you need to know that you have the expertise, the equipment, and the capital for any new investments you might need to make to get early versions of your new product underway. You might need to seek external expertise to know where best to spend your money and what the right formulations would be for what you want to achieve.

When you don’t have an in-house R&D function, new product testing can be daunting. After all, most small businesses in food production exist for the love of food, not for the process of scientific testing and market analysis that’s required to ensure success. That’s why we like to provide businesses with a process to make this important work easier to do.

At FAPIC, we refer to the 8P model. It’s a holistic framework to guide business problem solving and/or changes. The model optimises project team capability and interaction so new products can be developed faster at lower costs, and offers ​​a clearly defined, strategic approach to meet productivity needs, through the lenses of People, Portfolio, Problem, Project, Product, Packaging, Process and Profit.

To be first means taking risks, and wouldn’t you rather be the one who succeeds? Ask us about how our 8P Model applies to you, today.