Purposeful Prototypes: What You Will Unearth From The Process

4 Mins read

What’s your purpose in business? It’s to make a product or service that changes the world somehow. It’s not whimsical to think this way at all, because some of the best products ever to be created do just that, they change the way we all live. Some of the best-known products are of course the automobile, the computer, the hand watch and the smartphone. All of these things had to have a long arduous journey to the frontline for the consumer to purchase. These ideas had to be tested over and over to make sure they were as every inch as good as they could be. Sometimes, it is a matter of life and death if you don’t do your due diligence. Products of all kinds have to go through a testing phase whereby they are prototypes to begin with. Many small business owners don’t see the need for this, and others that do tend to get the whole process wrong. Maybe you have never really thought about it, but ask yourself what is the purpose of a prototype and what could it do for your business?

Mind over matter, or not?

The ideas we have in our minds only exist in the square of our imagination until we make them a reality. If you have worked in business for a long time you will know that preparing yourself for a less than ideal first attempt of your product is prudent. What you have in your mind of how the product will work and look like, stands a high chance of remaining just a thought. There will be multiple flaws in your initial design and it won’t pan out like you think it will. So when you see your product come to life for the first time, you can see how it will fit into the real world, how consumers might use it, what kind of weaknesses it has and what about the product you like best. So, one of the main reasons why you should produce a few prototypes is to examine and find any flaws that are inherent before you go for the redesign of final phase of production. You’ll also learn about your overall approach to product design as well so you won’t make the same misconceptions and mistakes next time.

Evaluating the performance

Prototypes are a brilliant way to gauge the performance levels of your product. For example, you are creating a hand cream for people with dry skin. You have decided on the chemicals and natural ingredients that you’re going to be using. This could be because you want something unique and you believe in your formula as it has showed you previous results in your own experience. However, what if you don’t have the amounts of the ingredients right, and one chemical or natural ingredient is too strong or too weak, then how can your product be of good use to the mass market? This is why conducting tests of your product is key for making sure you are performing as expected or possibly better.

You would do this by hiring voluntary test subjects such as members of the public who are looking for a new brand to try for their own needs. By conducting interviews and assessing the how well their hands have cleared up of eczema and dry patches, your research and design department will be able to adjust the product to get better results.

Finding better options

The prototype phase is incredibly complex. It’s kind of like doing all the work of the real product before anyone even knows about its existence. Even then, a lot of changes can occur between the finished prototype to the final retail product. That’s why you need to tick off as many boxes as possible to make sure you don’t have an elongated period of no new releases. One of the many fruits that can be laid at your feet as a reward is finding better options for your product. For example, if you’re in the tech industry you will want to have any kind of edge over your rivals, such as making a product that can withstand heat better. Consider engaging with a company that offers electronics prototype development which can use unique industry knowledge to give you the options for better materials. It’s a custom development service so they work directly with you at all times. Not only does the company take into account your blueprints and wishes, but it will use its past knowledge to guide your business in the creation of superior designs and quality.

Unearthing the true costs

It’s all about drawing the true picture of the overall costs of the product that will go into final production. That’s why prototyping has another benefit to this endeavor as you will be shown the eventual costs of making the product when it comes to finally filling the shelves of your retail store distributors and warehouse inventory storage. Your own expectations might drastically change themselves. As aforementioned, you might have wanted to make a product in copper, but after the testing and evaluation of the performance, you had to go with iron instead. This will inevitably change the costs of your overall material acquisition. However, it’s not just about the costs of what you need because what about the company that you will choose to manufacture your product? Because the costs have either increased or decreased, this will need to be worked out with the manufacturer as they will foot the bill for the production initially. Time is money, so knowing how long it will take to manufacture a product that is made from iron as opposed to copper, is also going to be crucial to your business.

Prototyping is all about learning about what you’re capable of and what your product is capable of. Evaluate and test the performance of your product so you can see if there are inherent design flaws or material choices that don’t cut the mustard with regards to quality. You’ll also therefore be better placed to find better options and perhaps work with a company to help you understand where you’re going wrong.

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About author
Ryan Kh is a big data and analytic expert, marketing digital products on Amazon's Envato. He is not just passionate about latest buzz and tech stuff but in fact he's totally into it. Follow Ryan’s daily posts on Catalyst For Business.