Episode 218 – The Ages of Product Development

by | Aug 30, 2019

Episode 218 – The Ages of Product Development

There are 3 real ways to determine your product or brand that have evolved over time. Technology has influenced them and given small business owners options over time. And which path you take can make or break your brand and business over the long term.


Working on your product was all about doing market research. It was outward focused. Small businesses only had market data to go on. Competition was relatively fair, and it just took ingenuity to answer the following questions and respond to them.

  • What’s your pricing structure?
  • What’s your competition like?
  • What’s the market bearing?
  • What are your market segments?
  • What are your geographical reach areas?
  • What are your demographics?
  • Who is the target client niche?
  • Where can I get email lists?

Activities like these and more defined the product. They determined the look and feel of what the product was all about.

This data shaped the product.
That then determined the pricing.
Then you would roll it out to the niches.

With a big enough budget, you could make quick progress this way. But it has no soul.


This was driven by the innovations in the technological world. As the internet made information available, people became excited by what they learned could be done with their product or service. As engineering skill expanded, more product or service features became available.

Product development and strategy was turned over to data-driven people and engineers. And these types of people ask themselves: ‘What can we build? What are we skilled for?’

And the false logic goes “because we can, we should”.

Product, pricing, and market strategy become driven by what we can do (as opposed to what is best for the client or best for the business.)

This is the way that most entrepreneurs initially start their hustle. And that makes sense, because when you bootstrap you start with what’s available to you.

If all you have is a lawnmower and you need to earn capital, you go into the landscaping business. That’s entrepreneurship.

It is not a slight against you or your business model to ask yourself: “What is it I can do?”
That is where the vision begins!


This option is becoming obvious by revelation and reflection. For small business owners who have experienced the previous two ages, now have more than enough options and are asking themselves more experiential questions.

Entrepreneurs that have been at it a while and have been monitoring the client over time can answer this question: “What is it the client craves emotionally?”

The previous two options are driven by “what is cheapest or coolest” and “what do I hypothesize the unnamed market wants”.

But this option is design driven. One can only design if they have a detailed understanding of what the named, personalized clients NEED.

What is the designed experience my clients can have through my product, my service, my customer service, and beyond? Front to back, what is the Designed Experience my clients can have?

Only then we discuss what that experience costs and add a profit margin to it.

If you can design and craft a unique experience that comes from the creative mind that thinks about the emotional state of the client as they encounter your brand every step of the way through the customer journey, you’re getting into the zone where business becomes art.

Serving clients should be a creative act.
Designing your product should be a top creative act of your business.

Design-Driven Product Development for Small Business on YouTube

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