6 Steps to Developing a Product Prototype
Do you have the next best-selling idea? Perhaps you have a concept you’ve been mulling over for a while that you’re ready to take to the next level. If that sounds like you, it might be time to develop a product prototype and get your idea off the ground.
Developing a product prototype is a great way to see if there is interest in your idea and generate buzz around your potential product. Get the ball rolling and learn how to develop a product prototype in six steps right here.
- Start with a Product Concept
The first step towards developing a product prototype is to come up with a solid idea for your product. As much as you might be tempted to go straight from a potential idea to a prototype, it is much better to flesh out the overall concept first. Get as detailed as possible with the idea so you have a strong foundation off of which to work. Think about the problem you’re looking to solve, the gap you’re looking to fill, and why your product will be different from similar ones on the market. Then get specific and outline everything as clearly as possible. Consider design, functionality, look, feel, form, purpose, and use. All of these will impact the product prototype you eventually develop.
- Assess the Potential Competition
After you come up with an idea for your product, the next step will be to assess the competition and see what others in the space are doing. By carefully analyzing competitors, you will get a better perspective of the market you plan to enter.
You can get information about your competition and their products from websites as well as trade magazines, online forums, trade shows, and other platforms. When reviewing your competition, take note of everything, including packaging, price points, and advertising strategies. Also be sure to focus on market trends so you know how to create a product prototype that not only serves the current market but also the ones forecasted for the future.
- Understand Your Target Demographics and Customer Base
Your customer base will be made up of a selection of people who love and repeatedly purchase your product. Learn about these people so you can better understand them and serve them what they’re looking for. Find out what parts of the country or world they are from, what kinds of jobs they have, and how much they are typically willing to spend on products similar to yours. This will help you create an effective branding and advertising strategy after the product prototype is complete.
- Develop a Conceptual Design
Developing a product prototype means having a strong conceptual design. It is advisable to work with a seasoned industrial designer to help show you the way. The industrial designer will work with you on all aspects of design as well as the product specifications. This is where you will ideally connect the functionality of the product to market requirements.
- Create an Initial Prototype
Prototyping happens in multiple stages and is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some designers and entrepreneurs choose to model the first prototype by hand with sketches, mold clay, or even cutouts. Others prefer to go the technology route by bringing in CAD software and 3D modeling to develop a prototype. There is also the option to explore rapid manufacturing and injection molding. When creating a prototype, make sure you’re specific about your goals, protective of your IP, and only work with a designer and manufacturer you can trust. East West Basics can help with this.
- Test Out Your Prototype
Once the prototype has been created, you’ll now need to test it out to make sure it does what it is intended to do. Not only is it wise to put your product through your own testing, but it may also be advisable to explore third party testing for a more objective perspective. Additionally, testing will provide the necessary customer feedback you’ll need to make any tweaks in future iterations.
- Fine-Tune Your Product Prototype
Developing a product prototype is a multi-step process that requires patience, a willingness to stay flexible and agile, and an open mind. It may require several tries until you get it just right, but don’t let that hold you back. Once you develop a strong product prototype, you’ll have the perfect foundation for taking your product to market and turning it into a profitable success.