So what is a feasibility study? You have probably heard of it, and can even guess what it means just by thinking about the word feasible. But what does it mean specifically when it comes to product development? What should you expect when getting one? Here I’ll go over the highlights of what we put in our feasibility studies. The benefits typically outweigh the cost, especially as complexity of a product increases. Investors prefer to have some level of this done. We provide this directly to investors to do an independent study for them before they invest.
These are not in order of how we do the research and work, it’s usually done all at once. We then collect the information and put it into a readable format in the order below. We do this based on what information is typically needed first, others will have their own arrangement.
This is the first component of a Feasibility Study. It’s always helpful for clients to bring their own research, but we like to do some ourselves as well. We look at competitors, market openings, pricing, and other market information. Anything that might be helpful in seeing where in the market the product can exist and its’ target market. Down the line when designing the product, this information will be helpful. The Marketing Brief is, you guessed it, brief. This isn’t a full market analysis, just the high level points to be aware of. This is good for understanding placement in market, but is not your go to market strategy.
This is a review of the manufacturing side of things for the product. Whether digital or physical, every product must be made somehow. For a physical product we look at things like manufacturing, logistics, and off-shelf components. For digital, we look at open source code, development costs, and product delivery options, basically the same things. These requirements and options impact the project from day one. We also look at features of the product to determine what pieces impact the timeline and budget the most. The time-frame is also presented as that can make a huge impact in feature choice and other factors. Technology is the last piece, determining if there exists the technology to produce what is desired, and if not what it will take to create that.
This goes over a high-level estimate of development, prototype, and manufacturing costs. Without the final design, it’s all ball-parks, but you can still get a good idea of the budget. With a full feasibility study, typically it gets down to under 5%, plus/minus of the final budget. We look at the budget of day one to in production and being marketed. Things like packaging and delivery are part of this. We also look at such things as marketing collateral and website design/development. Startups have an additional list of things we look at since they don’t have any existing assets typcially to start from.
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We like to create a visual list separated into these quadrants for the product itself. This isn’t for the business, just the product. This can lead to discovering ideal features and value propositions. It also allows us to see how competitive the market is. Knowing where the product is very strong and what other products may do better helps marketing.
While we offer short idea reviews to start with, just a review isn’t a full study. When doing a larger project, or have investors, we always recommend doing a full study. This is to look at the idea as just an idea, and offer solutions to perceived issues, general design feedback on whatever level of concept was brought to us. High-level concepts are often generated here as optional directions for the product. This is where our design expertise gets to shine in the Feasibility Study.
When you go to developers, you can get a range of information and pricing to get a feasibility study. I’ve seen them range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars and a single page to a 200 page document. Our firm provides two types of feasibility studies. One is a short feasibility brief that’s a fixed cost, but is very short, it is less than 10 pages. We also offer custom studies that are tailored to the exact information a client needs. These studies are typically 40+ pages and go very in-depth. It’s all about what information you want to make the most informed decision about funding your project further.