Thriving Through the Downturn: Product Innovation

This blog post is part of a series titled Thriving Though the Downturn: Eleven Strategies that will make your Company Boom.

Product development is often halted in a downturn. While this may be acceptable for a quarter or even two, you must continue to innovate if you are to be positioned for when markets recover.

Examine your entire product portfolio. Are there underperforming products you can drop? Focus on the high revenue and high margin products. What new product features can you add quickly that would increase the value of your product? Use your increased customer awareness and focus to define product roadmaps that will allow you to derive greater value in the future.

Inspire creativity in both product development and in customer interactions. Would a customer be willing to pay for a developer or engineer to work on site as a consultant for a week or month? Being at a customer’s for a length of time is one of the best ways to increase understanding of customer needs.

Can you repackage an existing technology or product to suit a new business need? Often you can leverage your existing investments with a small incremental investment. The key is the packaging, positioning, and marketing so that it really does look like a new product.

We are living in a time when the entire world economy is in a downturn. The magnitude and speed of change is almost unprecedented. Urgent thinking and action is required for companies that are going to survive the downturn.

Entrepreneurs, business owners, and senior executives that ask the right questions, seize opportunities, and plan for the next three years will be the ones that succeed. Some of the world’s most successful companies have started in a downturn (e.g., Google was started in the dot com meltdown).

In this series of blog posts, I have given you eleven strategic areas of your company where I believe you should focus on for your future success. By staying positive, harnessing the creative energy and enthusiasm of your people, strategic thinking, and planning I believe that companies can thrive through this downturn.