Successful companies spend many of their resources in the initiation and realisation of innovation projects, which might be successful at the market. Especially in the early phase of these projects, there is a high degree of uncertainty and therefore, product profiles established themselves as methodological support for product developers. However, it is not possible to give developers a straight and always equal process to follow for developing these product profiles. Based on this problem, this contribution investigates context-independent process steps to develop promising product profiles. Thus, this work provides a possible reference process to develop product profiles to support product developers in the early stage of innovation projects. Therefore, 631 process steps of 16 innovation projects were analysed and 100 process steps were derived from literature. Based on an expert workshop, 48 of these process steps were identified as relevant to consider in a context-independent reference process model. In a further empirical Live-Lab study, process patterns were investigated and the usability and relevance of the process steps were evaluated as positive.