How to Decide Whether to Keep or Kill a Product Idea

  • Posted on: 23 June 2015
  • By: Leonard Shostak

Spending valuable resources and time on a product idea makes it hard to consider pulling the plug on it before bringing the product to market. More often than not, product innovators and designers also establish an emotional connection to their product idea, which makes it even harder to kill a product. Bringing a product to market that turns out a failure, however, would be a much bigger disappointment that would also waste time, energy, and resources. Thus, it is really important to identify when a product should be fixed or simply killed. Here are some guidelines to help you in the process.

The Product Idea Is Still in Search of Demand

If you have a product idea without all the information and research to show actual demand or meeting an actual need, then you simply have a hobby that nobody would be interested in paying for. Do your market research, connect with potential customers to see if your product is meeting a pressing need, and evaluate similar products on the market to see if they fail to meet an actual need that your product can satisfy. If you don’t have actual proof that your product is meeting demand, then it’s time to kill it.

The Product Has Bad Usability

With increasing innovation in technology, consumers become more sophisticated and demanding in terms of the user experience they seek. Most products are now expected not only to meet a very specific need, but also to save consumers time and energy. If you have a product that requires the user to do extra work to figure out how to use it, you will lose your customers very quickly. Having an easy-to-use product that also creates a personal connection with the consumer is important; if your product does not achieve that, it’s time to change its functionality and/or features. If this is an attainable task that does not change the key vision and purpose of your product idea, then you might be able to fix rather than kill your product.

The Product Is Just an Idea, Not an Actual Product

If you do not know what exactly you are creating, why it is valuable, and who would be willing and able to pay for that value, then you only have a product idea, not an actual product. If you cannot answer these key questions, it is time to move on and focus your energy and resources on a product idea that can turn into an actual product.

No matter how hard it might seem to kill a product you are passionate about, if it does not meet an actual need, its usability is poor, or you are not certain what value it brings and who would care to pay for the product, it would be best to kill the product and not waste additional time and resources.