A Guide To Prototyping

Why do I need a prototype?

A prototype is an early version of the product you are aiming to build.  It can be anything from a hand-drawn plan to a fully functioning completed product, which can be thoroughly tested by stakeholders and potential users. You ensure the product you are developing does what you are hoping it will do. The ability to collect any feedback and make small adjustments to improve your product, with minimal expense, is presented

Is it worth me spending time on a prototype? Yes. The risks involved with prototyping are much lower than those involved with the release of a fully-fledged product. A prototype is your last chance to make any changes so that you know your product can be a success.

What are you trying to achieve by prototyping? 

Your main aim is to make your product the best it can be. It is a test to see your ideas become something tangible, where feedback and opinions can be discussed.  The main thing you are trying to achieve by prototyping is to test the  success of the product If the product isn’t quite ready, or there are faults, the prototype will highlight this and allow you to fix it, before the product even reaches your customers. This will save you a lot of time, money and stress.

What are the risks involved with prototyping?

When it comes to prototyping, you will be making a completely scaled back version of the product so the production costs will be lower. This greatly reduces the initial risk, especially where funding comes in, with a large set of options available the risk can sometimes be zero.

NB: If you would like to understand the most accessible funding options then please feel free to get in touch as we have been through the process many times and have a strong network of people who are on hand to give advice for your situation. One useful place to look is within your local commerce support hubs, along with Research & Development Tax Credits which can make development very attractive

Is an investment needed?

Often when creating a new product, people start to invest in a lot of other expenses. Try to keep costs to a minimum, until you have launched your prototype and received feedback and are ready to progress to the next stage. Where possible, use resources and contacts you already have to make your prototype,

Prototyping allows you to prove that your idea could work and helps you persuade colleagues and customers that your development fulfils their needs. It can help you generate a revenue stream quickly so that you can fund more development because you may receive interest that will help support you to produce and scale up your product. 

What are the steps needed to get a Minimum Viable Product?

A minimum viable product is the first version of your product which is made as a result of the feedback you’ve had from your prototype. To assist you with your product development you need to follow a clear process to ensure that it reaches the stage where it is a minimum viable product, to be able to see if your idea is something that works. 

 1. Understand the users needs vs wants 

This is very important, as it will help you produce a product that your target market genuinely require and will invest in once it’s launched. 

2. Analyse your competitors

You don’t want to get too caught up on your competitors, you must analyse what they have to offer. It is also worth considering what your unique selling point is, and why your customers will come to you over them. 

3. Prioritise and develop 

At this stage of the process, you should have a good idea of what it is you want to achieve and where this will sit in the market. This is the time where you should develop a prototype.

4. Test and learn

Once your prototype is complete, get in touch with stakeholders, customers & colleagues to receive as much feedback as possible.

Remember to take any comments on board, making adjustments to your product where required. Critical feedback is the most valuable insight you will ever get, no matter how hard it is to hear, it is worth writing down and absorbing.

You can then be sure that it Will be a success when it comes to taking the big step when releasing your product into the market.

What next?

If you would like any advice or help bringing your idea closer to a prototype, we are more than happy to chat through your concerns and the unknowns so you can extract information from our team. We’ve been there before, so get in touch either via phone or e-mail and we will be more than happy to help.

Our main aim is for you to be informed and come out with a clear path forward. This stage is completely free, you will be armed with valuable knowledge enabling you to take your idea forward with whichever method & company you see fit.

Hopefully this article got your creative juices fired up, apologies if you now cannot sleep tonight because of a racing mind, but this is a good sign!