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From helping with formulation and grant writing to providing regulatory guidance, here’s how product development consultants can help small businesses and SMEs grow and thrive.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a huge role in economic growth. According to the World Bank, they represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. The report also says that access to finance is one of the biggest obstacles SMEs face. So for a small business to scale up and grow they need to find cost-effective, clever ways of being on the same playing field as their bigger competitors.
Thanks to the growing expert economy, a vast global pool of skilled talent is available for businesses to tap into. Industry experts and academic researchers are freelancing and taking up contract jobs to have greater freedom and flexibility. This revolution in remote working worldwide has benefitted SMEs tremendously in making previously inaccessible skills now readily available.
Why hire a product development consultant?
Small businesses usually start out with a single idea or product in mind. There has been rapid development in industries ranging from food to medical devices in the last few years. For example, changes in consumer habits (food industry), regulatory processes (medical devices), laws and regulations (cannabis/CBD), advances in AI (smart homes). All of these have presented opportunities for SMEs to tap into.
However, small businesses often need handholding throughout the product cycle, as they lack the budget and resources required for them to launch on a big scale. Product development consultants, who traditionally offered services through consulting agencies, are now available as individuals through expert networks.
Product development consultants can typically advise on:
- Formulation and new product development
- Grant writing applications and other funding opportunities
- Regulatory strategies and compliance
How much does it cost to hire a product development consultant?
Hiring a product development can cost upwards of $50 an hour depending on the kind of work you need to get done. For $50-$100 an hour, you can hire an expert for help with writing regulatory documents or scientific literature reviewers for conducting research. Highly experienced industry experts charge $100-$300 an hour for new product development and formulation, troubleshooting a problem, and advising on product-market fit.
Launching a new product is challenging. Product recall can cause huge losses for a small business. Investing in expert guidance at the beginning of the process helps to avoid the risk.
Some specialists that are frequently hired include:
- Medical device consultants: To advise on regulatory requirements, clinical evaluation, literature search, product development, wearables, validation, and more
- Life science consultants: To advise on biotechnology (e.g. CRISPR) based products, clinical trials and study design, market research, research methodology, and biostatistics
- Food consultants: To advise on recipe formulation, nutraceutical development, vegan products, CBD-based products, shelf-life stability, toxicology, and more
- Plastics & polymers consultants: To advise on developing eco-friendly materials, bioplastics, packaging and more
- Cosmetic formulation consultants: To advise on formulation of beauty products, shelf life, ingredients sourcing, and meeting required standards
Benefits of hiring a product development consultant
Faster time to market
Working with an industry expert helps you navigate the complex product cycle quickly and easily. Working with experts on demand helps you save cost and time.
Lower risk of product recall
Getting help to meet regulatory requirements and standards helps you save the risk of having your product withdrawn after it’s in the market.
Rich, innovative expert-backed solutions
Working with experts or a team of experts can help you test the strength of an idea and ensure that it meets customer needs or fills a gap in the market. Getting a feasibility test helps you set realistic expectations and timelines. An industry expert can provide insights that can help you create a robust and successful product that is sought out by customers.
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