10 October 2022 Rhiona Robertson

Product development 101: Where to start?

What you need to know to start developing a new product.

If you’ve decided that you want to launch a product – be it a functional food product, cosmetic, complementary medicine/ dietary supplement – there are some key questions you need to ask yourself before you start. Here’s a quick guide to building the product of your dreams.

The top 5 things people usually know when they get in touch with us:

  • A product name.
  • A laundry list of ingredients they want to use.
  • A target consumer.
  • A top competitor (maybe two).
  • A recommended retail price.

The top 5 things they usually haven’t considered:

  • What regulatory category suits their idea best, and how they can get the regulatory category working for them.
  • How they want to sell the product – the actual words and claims they want to make on pack, the website and in social media posts.
  • Where they want to sell the product – ‘online’ is not a region, it encompasses lots of different countries and depending on your set up, you may need to consider regulatory compliance in a lot of different regions.
  • How much they want to pay for the product wholesale and the margins they need to apply to make the product viable.
  • How many units they are going to need. A first initial batch size and ongoing forecasted requirements.

Here are the things we want you to know (in addition to the above):

  • Contract Manufacturers in Australia are not short on work. That means they can afford to be picky as to what work they take on and what they don’t. You need to have a solid business case ready to go when your formulation goes out to quote. You will need to ‘woo’ them and the more info you can give them on the dollars and cents, the number of stock turns and your batch size requirements the happier they will be to engage with you as a brand. Yep, it sounds BS, but you need to sell yourself to them!
  • Less is more when it comes to claims. The more you want to say about a product, the more claims you’re going to need in your product dossier. And sure, if you want to say a lot, it costs a lot, but it also means if you’ve developed a cult following for your product which quite literally does everything and is everything to everyone – how do you ever bring out a second product without cannibalising the first product, it’s marketing positioning (which you’ve just sunk loads of cash into building) and not confuse your customer to the point of decision paralysis?
  • Ongoing costs associated with marketing a product or medicine in Australia – launching a product isn’t just as simple as whack a product on the shelf and be done with it. You have responsibilities attached – things like ongoing fees to the TGA, making sure your product will last the shelf life and keeping on top of keeping up to date with the latest safety aspects (pharmacovigilance) related to ingredients used in your medicines and your medicine in totality. You need to have a down-pat SOP (standard operating procedure) in case you ever have to do a recall and a way to make sure if something happens to a consumer everyone knows what to do – no flapping around figuring it out on the fly – this is safety and it’s important.
  • Be ready to be flexible. Product development is never a straight line, it’s a series of twists and turns, ups and downs – but don’t worry, we’re here to guide you, we’ve done this before (a lot).

Here’s a short checklist to get started:

  • Project background – what’s your project? what solution are you marketing to what pain point? Who’s your market and why should they buy your product – what is its USP?
  • What do you want to say about your product? Write 250 words as if you have it in your hands already – how do you want to sell it, what words do you want to use?
  • If you have an idea of ingredients you want to use – or ingredients to avoid list them.
  • How is it taken or used? Do you want to swallow it in a pill, a capsule, a liquid? Do you want to rub it on? Is it a cream a lotion a gel?
  • What do you want your product to look like? What packaging do you want to use? Does it need to be sustainable?
  • Crunch some numbers – how much do you want to pay per unit? What do you want it to retail for?
  • What certifications do you want? What is a must have and what is a nice to have?
  • Who are your top 5 competitors? Where are they located – Australia? Overseas? In your target market? What makes them your competitor?
  • Finally – what is your timeline to launch – of course we expect it was yesterday, and of course we’re exceptional, but we haven’t quite figured out how to bend time just yet.


If you can answer most if not all of the question above, you’re ready to get started! Prepare your brief today.

If you can’t answer them all, or you need help figuring out how to get started, we can help you build out this important framework before you get started. Get in touch today and let’s build the product of your dreams together!

Prepare your brief

HPS’ Turn-key Solutions offer a single place for everything you need for a successful product launch. This mode of execution is perfectly suited to entrepreneurs looking to enter the healthcare arena, or to established businesses with limited resources to support product development initiatives.

This solution brings smarter options to the table so you can spend less time managing product concept through to launch, and free up time for doing everything else!

Get your compliant and attractive product to market faster.

More time for you.


Mix & Match Solutions

HPS’ Mix & Match Solutions allow you to pick and choose specific areas where you need support, based on the unique needs, resource and expertise of your business. Our modules can plug into and enhance your existing operations, giving you flexibility to grab onto opportunities without the usual downtime, cost and headache to procure and train additional resources, essentially expanding your resource pool immediately to get more done, faster.

Our half- or full-day innovation workshops are the perfect place to begin building or dissecting your product offerings and brand coverage via unique insights into market trends, and innovations in ingredients, dosage form and packaging.

Are you clear on what your product offering will look like in 5 years? If not, this module is precisely what you need.

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Rhiona Robertson

Rhiona is a naturopath, nutritionist, educator, innovator, product development and regulatory all-star.