You’ve determined that your product or feature idea is desirable (that is, you know people want it). You’ve established that it’s feasible (that you can build, market and sell it). But is it viable?
Traditionally, viability is associated with determining whether your idea not only fits your business model and the way customers use your existing products but also that it’s profitable and sustainable in the long term and contributes to your wider business mission.
But just because it looks viable in a spreadsheet, that doesn’t mean all your departments are going to agree. And it definitely doesn’t mean they’re immediately going to jump right into helping make the idea a success.
That’s why it’s so important to involve your various departments early on in the process. Even though a great idea might originate in your product team, sales needs to sell it, marketing needs to market it, legal needs to sign off on it, accounting needs to finance it and your C-suite needs to sponsor it.
In this piece (the third in our four-part series on product risks) we share three steps to evaluating the viability of a new product idea and getting your various departments involved in the process.
1. Communicate your idea and its impact on each stakeholder
Poor communication impacts businesses in all manner of ways – including innovation. Fail to communicate your idea fully to all stakeholders and it’s more than likely that it’ll fail – if it even gets off the ground.
As tempting as it can be to keep your idea under wraps to avoid any risk of it being stolen or scuppered, you need your entire organization on board. Everyone from marketing and sales to your accounting and legal teams – and your C-suite – should have a strong understanding of project requirements and ramifications, so that you can be made aware of any potential issues, risks and delays before the project build begins.
Communication isn’t just important at the start of the project, though. Make sure you have a system in place that allows you to communicate updates regularly, and with ease, to avoid running into problems.
2. Ask for feedback
Step 1 is about asking for feedback in terms of viability for each department within your business. Asking for feedback in Step 2 focuses more on ensuring that your idea will create genuine value for your business.
This value may not be purely financial. By making sure that you have established the desirability of your idea (more on this here) you’ll gain a better understanding of the idea’s value to your customers.
To better understand its value, you’ll need to work out just how big the customer problem/demand is and how much they are spending on their current solutions – which will help you to determine your price point and calculate your likely revenue. The learnings you’ve gleaned from establishing feasibility will also provide valuable feedback: from here, you can ascertain your cost structure, your distribution channels and any associated costs, all of which feed into a project’s viability.
3. Create a business case
With Steps 1 and 2 complete, Step 3 is to convince the powers that be. The research that you’ve conducted and the feedback that you’ve gained will either show that your idea needs more work (in which case, it’s back to the drawing board) or that it could make great business sense.
If it’s the latter, you’ll need your C-suite on board. Step 3 is about proving to them that you’ve considered every single angle when determining your idea’s viability, with every team in your organization agreeing that it is possible.
In this way, you’ll be able to demonstrate that your idea is profitable: that making it happen will result in a positive ROI.
How we can help
Determining viability is the third stage of determining product or project risk. To work out whether your idea is viable, you’ll need first to establish its desirability and its feasibility.
But how do you keep track of progress, measure and manage your viability testing and ensure total strategic alignment with what you’re doing?
Acclaim Ideas allows you to do all of the above and more, taking your ideas from concepts to validated options ready for delivery. To learn more, click here