9 Steps to Critiquing and Choosing Your Next Product Ideas

 9 steps to critiquing your new product ideas, How to pick product ideas, how to create new product ideas, creative business product critique

When it comes to creating new products I’m guessing you have a million ideas but not necessarily the time or resource to bring them all to fruition. Am I right?  

Whether it’s a physical, digital or service based product the best place to start is by sketching all of your ideas out on a large piece of paper. Make sure you sketch out ALL of your ideas, even the crazy, weird and wonderful ones. Make notes on your drawings to bring your ideas to life, add colour to them and get excited about the possibilities. 

All done with your product ideas? Time to separate the wheat from the chaff

 Bkers twin and zippers on a sewing table - how to critique your business ideas

1) Which ideas are you excited about?

If that’s all of them then great, if there are any ideas in your pool of sketches that you aren’t looking forward to creating, they’re a non-starter so cross them off the list. You’re running your own business so that you can do what you love, remember!?

2) Which products fit in with your why and your brand values?

Do the product ideas that you’ve sketched out fit with your business mission, are aligned with your values? Whether that’s to use recycled materials, create completely unique and personal products or to make products that will solve a problem for your people, cross off and ideas that don't fit with your WHY.

3) Visually, do these products work?

Whether you’re planning on creating physical products or starting to do courses, do your new ideas fit with the rest of your product offering? Will it jarr in anyway with what you’ve already got? If it’s a new product line of home decor, does it fit with your previous season’s line? Again, cross out any ideas that don't fit in with the rest of your offering.

 Pompom trim and scissors on a rustic sewing table - creating new product ideas

4) Which ideas will sell

This is more of a question for your head than your heart. Which new product ideas lead from something that’s sold well in the past? Using your knowledge of what has and hasn’t sold so well do you think there’s a market out there for your new product ideas? 

The best thing you can do at this juncture is ask your audience. Put out a poll on Facebook or Instagram stories. You don’t have to give your whole idea away but you can describe what your idea is and see what interest there is. Cross out any product ideas that you have a gut feeling won’t sell or that your audience respond negatively to.

5) Which products will have a good profit margin

You're in business to share your creative work and do what you love - neither of which you can do if you’re not earning enough profit from your product sales.

For each product idea that’s still standing, list out your costs - this might be materials and labour for a physical product, it might be the cost of an overnight stay if you thinking about doing workshops. For each idea work out your baseline costs. Then work out what you would need to charge to make a good profit on your product. If you need a hand with figuring out your pricing check out my free pricing workbook

Now look at those totals - do you think they’re feasible? If they aren’t, don’t lower the price - cross them off your list. If you’re really attached to an idea but it isn’t looking profitable, think about how you could make the product differently using different materials or making it a smaller scale.

 Scottish, wool tweed and bakers twine - coming up with new product ideas

6) Which will be most rewarding to you and your business?

Are there a few ideas in your sketches that will help to grow your business and make it more sustainable in the long term? Are there a couple of ideas that really fit with your values more than the others and by adding these products to your product collection will help you build the lifestyle you want? Circle those products to highlight them. 

7) How much time do you have to dedicate to product development?

What ever your new product ideas, they will all take time and energy to create. Decide how much time and energy you’ve got to dedicate to developing your new product ideas and cross out any that sit outside of this scope.

8) Can you make efficiencies?

Keep it simple, are there a handful of product ideas that use the same base materials which will help you keep on top of your supplies? Have you got a product idea that could be offered in different variants, eg a variety of sizes or colours? Connect those product ideas together on your big sheet of paper by drawing lines between them or circling them together. Grouping these products together could help you keep materials costs down and allow you to batch together your work across multiple products - saving you time.

 Pom Pom trim for making cushions, cut out and ready to sew onto cushions on a wooden table with vintage scissors

9) Which product ideas fit with your strengths

You’ll have heard me going on about why I believe you should work on your strengths and not your weaknesses. This is a prime reason for doing just that, if you’re working on products that fit with your strengths you’re more likely to create something unique and really special. Circle the ideas that fit with your strengths and skill set.

[OVER TO YOU]

  1. grab a big sheet of paper and go through the excercise in this post
  2. Now the fun bit, pick out the ideas that you’re really excited about and make a short list of the products you'll develop. The more you look forward to working on something the more likely it is that you’ll create something amazing.
  3. Put together a launch plan. If you’ve got your product ideas but you’re not sure how to get started with developing and launching these products, take a look at my post on how to set goals you’re excited about