Business Cycle For Artisans And Craft Entrepreneurs
Product design
Product design is an integral part of product development. It is an activity which can be done by either creative artisans or craft entrepreneurs, or qualified product designers contracted to develop ranges to the specifications of the client enterprise. Because craft enterprises must keep developing new products, either at the request of customers or to be competitive, the regular design of new products is of major importance as effective use of design adds value to a product.

Product design process
The product design process is the conversion of a product concept into a functioning prototype, which can be assessed and refined into a viable commercial product. The process of designing a product follows the following steps:

1.  Market research
•Maintaining and improving enterprise image.
•Identifying new markets.
•Finding new customers.
•Seeking out new product niches.
•Analysing product sales from past year (identifying weak/strong products to discard/continue/modify).

2.   Marketing strategy (up to five years ahead)
•Product, position, price, promotion (based on market research).

Business planning
•Enterprise image updating and application.
•Product development and design plan.
•Production and pricing plan.
•Promotion plan, packaging, labelling and advertising.
•Distribution plan.
•After-sales service, including return policy plan.

3. Product development and adaptation
•Design based on market research findings.
•Prototype making.

Product costing and pricing
•Related to market research and production realities.

Market-testing products

•Limited production to check:
• Customer reactions;
• Production systems.

Product promotion
•Advertising, catalogue mailings, media, fairs and exhibitions.
Product launch
•Dispatch of samples to new and existing customers.
•Order processing and dispatch, customer relations.

The business cycle is then repeated on a regular basis, usually annually.
For artisans and craft entrepreneurs it is considered essential that they go through all the stages listed above, in order to maximise the potential benefits of thorough planning at every stage of their business operation.
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