A prototype can essentially be described as a 3-D vision of your product. These days, prototypes are absolutely crucial when you’re launching a new business. Entrepreneurs are putting more and more focus on prototype development!, and a compelling prototype can be incredibly advantageous, especially when it comes to attracting investors.
Prototype Design Tips
A good protype design shows what works and what doesn’t, helps to generate feedback, and can facilitate an emotional connection between potential investors and your vision. Ultimately, if you want to get funded and gain traction in the business world, you are going to want a compelling prototype. So, what’s the key to a successful protype development? Take a look at these five essential tips.
Before you start pouring your time and money into a prototype, you need to have a specific plan of action. What is your overall plan for your product? How is it competitively different from other products that already exist? Is there a market for your product? Who will purchase it? What is your target customer like? How will you sell your product? The answers to these questions should absolutely be taken into consideration throughout the design process. After all, you need a clear vision of what you are selling and who you are selling it to in order to make a compelling prototype. Furthermore, make sure you can clearly explain the specifics of your prototype (including specifics about functionality, aesthetics, use, etc.) as well as your overall business plan to anyone who might have an interest in it, from your attorney to venture capitalists to potential company investors.
Talk to potential manufacturers
At some stage of the prototype game, you are absolutely going to need to identify potential manufacturers. The sooner you can hone in on potential candidates, the better. Once you’ve made contact with a potential manufacturer, ask for its manufacuring and design portfolio. You want to get a good idea of what kind of work it has done in the past as well as who the prototype has worked well for. Pay attention to its manufacturing capabilities and expertise, as well as its signature aesthetic. If you’re planning on creating a cutting-edge alarm clock but a potential manufacturer doesn’t have any experience in electronics, it probably isn’t a good match. Similarly, if you are going for a sleek, futuristic design, you probably are not going to want to choose a manufacturer that typically produces retro-looking products.
Perhaps your heart is set on using metal for your product, but you test it and realize that plastic actually performs better for your application and at a lower cost. What to do in this situation? Go with plastic, even though it might deviate from your original vision. When you take your idea from theory to physical reality, you need to be realistic. It is crucial to take a pragmatic approach and be willing to make changes when necessary. Flexibility really is the key to success.
Create an emotional connection
A good prototype should always help foster an emotional connection between your product and potential investors. Remember, when you show up at business meetings with a prototype in hand, whether you’re meeting with a venture capitalist or a potential licensing company, you immediately stand out from the vast crowd of other investors who have likely approached these professionals with nothing more than a vague idea in their heads. If you have a prototype that these professionals actually connect with, you gain an even bigger advantage over the competition.
Pay attention to feedback
A physical prototype is an excellent way to get feedback and input from potential investors and customers alike. A prototype is especially useful when it comes to exposing weaknesses or flaws in your idea (products tend to sound good in theory, but once you get a physical model going, it is a lot easier to detect flaws). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it helps investors understand what additional resources are needed to develop your product to its fullest potential. But make sure you listen to what these investors have to say. There is no use in accruing prototype feedback if you’re not going to use it. The bottom line? Even if you think that your prototype is perfect, there is always room for improvement. Pay attention to what people have to say.
Pivot International is a product design, development, and manufacturing firm with extensive experience in the medtech industry. If you are interested in engineering a new product or updating an existing product, contact us at 1-877-206-5001 or request your free consultation today.