The Product Life Cycle
Updated: Mar 9, 2022
In general, it is impossible to build a sustainable business on a single product. Every product has it's own life cycle and in an age when little is repaired and many consumer goods are either single use or designed for obsolescence, it is important to think about your business in terms of the continual introduction of new or improved products and services. Dyson started with a patented technology for vacuum cleaners but quickly applied the technology to hand dryers, room fans and hair dryers and then developed several products within each of those categories.
Most products go through four stages of life: Introduction, growth, maturity and decline. For some products this cycle can be a few months (Christmas toys that last from October to January) or it can be years. Depending on the industry or sector you are entering, you will need to research the longevity of products and what differentiates those that last longer than others. Many businesses are designing revision two of a product before revision one has even been launched. During the development process it is easy to get fixated on delaying the launch to add new features based on the latest market research. At some stage you have to draw the line and launch the product in the knowledge that the next version will be better and can accommodate additional features. The key element here is timing. You have to ensure that the next revision is launched as close to the peak of the current life cycle curve and not when your product is already in maturity or decline.