After you have evaluated and validated your idea and found yourself a co-founder, you need to start building a prototype, the next step to the proof of concept. While a POC is for internal validation of the idea, you need a working prototype more for external validation.
Let us look at what we mean by that and see why you need a prototype before deciding on a business model for your product.
Why Do You Need a Prototype?
You need a prototype for:
Presenting to Investors or Licensees
You will have investors wanting to see how your product works and if it is worth investing in it. You might be interested in licensing as a business model and an interested licensee might want to test your product. They might want you to develop a proof of concept. They might want something for getting opinions from their senior management. You would want to have a working prototype ready for these stakeholders so that when the time arrives, you have something to present to them while you keep fine-tuning the product for the actual release. People take you much more seriously when you approach them with a working prototype instead of vague ideas.
Intellectual Property Protection
It is very difficult in today’s world to protect your idea without the Intellectual Property(IP) laws. With so much riding on your idea, you would not want your competitors to get a hint of your product idea and then using it for themselves to gain first-mover advantage. A prototype helps your patent lawyer understand what your product actually does or will do and grasp what it is actually about. Building a prototype also helps you test out different variations of your product, making the patent you file much stronger.
Remove Kinks in Manufacturing
There are many problems that you would face when you actually start mass-production of your item. Since a prototype is almost similar to your final product, it has to be built in the same fashion too. Building the prototype helps you understand the manufacturing process and how to make it leaner and smoother.
Testing and Refining the Product
A prototype is not just a visual guide to your final, finished product. It helps you and your development team to understand how to refine the design and functionality further. On paper, everything might seem straightforward and easy. It’s only when you start building the product, do you realize the latent intricacies of the process. You can even test out various materials for your product to minimize your costs or to improve quality.
Every design and development team begins with a prototype, even if it is just on paper. Prototyping is required for both internal and external validation of your product. A prototype does not need to be as perfect as you intend the final product to be but it should be built keeping in mind for whom you are building it for. You might want to show different aspects of your product to different stakeholders. But there are no reasons why you should not prototype. It integrates very smoothly with the rest of the stages and helps you to refine your product as much as possible before it is live or it goes for mass-production. So now that you understand why prototyping is important, let us find out how to develop one.
The Startup Process
We know how important your dream business is to you. Therefore, we’ve come up with an all in one guide: The Startup Process to help you turn your vision into reality.
Now that you know Why Do You Need to Develop a Prototype?, let us now move on to How to Develop a Perfect Prototype.