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Product Lifecycle Management for Small Business

The process of creating and managing prodcts and services

A chart showing a cycle with arrows, symbolizing product lifecycle management for small businesses.
Product lifecycle management for small businesses has tremendous potential
as a business strategy, for creating and managing new products and services.

Starting or owning a small business has a lot of difficulties along the road. That is why finding different strategies to improve the service you offer should be your number one priority. And when looking for things to improve, raising the service quality is what you should always aim for. One of the best things you can do is implement PLM, also known as Product Lifecycle Management. There are many benefits of product lifecycle management for small businesses; you just have to know how to use them to your advantage!

What is product lifecycle management?

To better understand the benefits of product lifecycle management for small businesses, you first must learn what PLM is. Once you understand its definition, you will know how it can help your business evolve, change, and grow.

Simply speaking, PLM is a process of creating and managing any service or product. It includes 5 essential stages that every product goes through:

  • development
  • introduction
  • growth
  • maturity
  • decline

Analyzing all of these five stages is crucial if you wish to run a successful business. Now, let us look at each step in more detail.

Development stage

During the development stage, you must get used to the fact that there will be a lot of expenses, with no real revenue. Developing and testing products and services, and preparing them for the market can sometimes last a few years. During this stage the risk is high, and each product requires funding. Existing companies usually fund new products by using revenue from other services. However, if you are a small or a startup company, chances are you will have to fund everything yourself.

A man drawing a development chart with a marker.
The development phase of every product or service is the most difficult part
of the PLM project, which determines the future success of it.

That is why many companies turn to professionals like frontecheu.com. Tracking your development process is crucial because it is the base of everything you are trying to build. Without it, there is no product.

Introduction

The introduction stage is reserved for developing a market for the product. It is crucial to raise awareness about what you are offering to your customers. At this point, you must start thinking about the different marketing channels you can use.

Since marketing costs money, it is crucial only to use those channels that have a good return rate. Otherwise, you will just be spending your money for nothing. Avoiding mistakes when planning a project should be your primary concern.

During the marketing phase, it is quite common to raise the cost a bit, since you are trying to recover from the development expenses.

Growth

When it comes to the growth phase, this is where it gets interesting. Your product is becoming accepted by the customers. The good news for small businesses owning innovative products is that, due to low competition, you can still keep the price a bit higher.

A man drawing an arrow that represents growing revenue.
Your revenue goes up during the growth phase, but there is still a lot more to be done
before you can relax and turn your product or service into a profitable venture.

Furthermore, the demand is simultaneously increasing with the profit, but you still have to provide funding money or put your trust in lenders.

Maturity

As time passes, your sales are reaching a level you are satisfied with. However, due to the increase in competition, the prices will consequently drop. The bright side is that the production cost will drop as well. Furthermore, since everything is running smoothly, you have enough revenue and there is no need for additional funding.

Decline

Nothing can last forever, and that is exactly what you will experience in the decline stage. Whether it is because of the high competition, change in the needs of the customer, or market saturation, you will feel the decrease in your sales.

Nevertheless, there is no room for fear. At this point, there are several paths you can take:

  • discontinue the product
  • sell manufacturing rights
  • improve the product by adding new features
  • find a different market

All of these actions are quite normal, and all major companies use the same strategies when the time comes.

The benefits of product lifecycle management for small businesses

With all that we have learned so far, let's talk briefly about the use of PLM in small businesses. The entire PLM process offers an option to create something unique. Running a successful production line is a dream situation for many business owners.

First of all, you have the option to target specific groups of clients. Next, when you reach the growth and maturity stage, you can say for sure that you have your own product that can maintain the company name for many years to come. Finally, in the long run, you have a developed service that can become the groundwork for future projects. Nevertheless, there are a couple of things to have in mind.

A word of caution

Even though you can really benefit from implementing PLM solutions, there are still things to consider here.

For starters, I have to repeat that the funding process can drain your wallet. If you are not financially prepared for the development and introduction phases, you will suffer huge setbacks and delays in production and marketing.

A chart showing how to manage finances from funding through the benefit.
Initial funding is the most crucial aspect of every PLM project. You need to be well
prepared for this phase, to avoid delays and setbacks.

Furthermore, PLM also requires good software and project management tools to track every process. And, you will need skilled people to run the entire project. The organization has to be at the top level. So, if you don't think you are capable of handling a project this large, it is better to stay out of it. However, have in mind that, in the end, it can pay off if you can get through it.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now understand the essentials of the product lifecycle management for small businesses. If there is one thing to learn from all of this, it is that a good PLM project can really put you on the map, but it requires good organization, a lot of planning, and a lot of funding. With everything that's been said so far, I would suggest that you put your idea on paper, and carefully wager everything before deciding. Good luck!

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