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October 14, 2022
October 14, 2022


Why You Need a Viable Product (and/or Prototype) Before Launching a Startup Business

New startups pop up almost on a daily basis nowadays and it’s not hard to see why. More and more people have a disruptive, innovative idea of how to solve issues. But an idea is just an idea until you can prove that your idea works and then get funding for the big leagues! But what is it that you need to impress your potential investors to pour money into your idea? Why, a prototype, of course.

Today we will discuss how to make a product prototype for venture funding.

Table of Contents

• Prototype Concept and Benefits

• Why You Should Start Prototyping

• What are the Fundamental Principles to Build a Prototype for Funding?

Prototype Concept and Benefits

What is a prototype? A prototype is a physical example of a planned product for mass production and sale that has the approximation of all the functions and features of the matter in question that would be developed in the future. To put it simply, a prototype can include a powerpoint slide presentation that demonstrate the interaction between the user and the product, and a real life example that can be used to demonstrate how it actually works and how people can benefit from it.

The visual presentation of your prototype is meant for the conference rooms, where you explain the mechanics of your soon-to-be developed product in order to make an impression on them. But you will still need to build the bolts & nuts actualized version of it – depending on its size – you may need a warehouse, hangar or an open field to do the actual tests to demonstrate its capabilities to the investors.

As a result, you get a chance to deliver a viable and proper product that fits your target market.

Why You Should Start Prototyping

Before we dive into the details about the principles of prototyping, let us first learn about the critical benefits that it brings for both startupers and investors.

The first reason is that it enhances your business idea and design validation. You still have time to change and improve your business offering while your prototype is still in the factory being built. Plus you’ll also get an additional benefit of giving your design team enough time to run tests and determine the most workable user flows and design as a whole.

The second reason is that it reduces costs and time to market. Having a working prototype will help you unnecessary costs in changing the specs or features of it while in the design and building process, which also advances the release date of the product. The IBM report about programming development is on point and they determined that it cost them 6 times more when they attempted to fix the bugs during product release than fixing them during the design phase.

Reason number 3 is that your team is on the same page. Prototypes serves as reference points for designers, it gives them a clear knowledge on every detail on the product operability. They can provide you the information you need to make presentations about product concepts and you avoid any miscommunicating them to your investors. Fewer meetings means more money saved and more products sold.

Reason number 4 is you will get earlier feedback. Usually, in the design phase your team will bring in random people to test the product and give their feedback. This feedback can help designers tweak the product and improve it before building the final product for launch.

The final reason is it gives you a solid way of investor engagement. The prototype is actually your ticket to success and a way to the pockets of investors. Leverage on the features and benefits of your product and show investors your vision for your company and you’ll get their attention real quick.

What are the Fundamental Principles to Build a Prototype for Funding?

You must first learn some of the basic principles and best practices of prototyping before going into the design process. Below are some of the important principles in designing and building a prototype.

1) Define your Target Users and Intent

The first thing to do is to clearly define what the goal of your prototype is, who is it for, and what problems will it solve. Take note of this because these are the things that investors want to know about your prototype. Once you’ve considered all of this, then make the presentation to the investors and get that much needed funding.

2) Start with Paper for the Very First Iteration

Bringing your ideas to life should be done as cheap and as fast as possible, and using paper or cardboards just to rough out the basic principles on how your prototype will work is the best way to do about it. Paper prototyping also allows you to quickly modify your design and features without all the hassles of something made of denser materials, which can be expensive and takes a longer time to assemble.

3) Prioritize Product Features and Ditch the Details

Your design team should focus on the product features more than the aesthetics of it (which can be worked on a later time once all the features are incorporated into teh design). Remember, people will only buy your product if it does a significant deal to ease up or improve their lifestyle, anything less than that will not sell at all. Your prototype itself is your business pitch, so eliminate color, typography, and other design elements. Test your ideas through the process of elimination. Keep what works and do away with the rest.

4) Use the Right Tools

Your prototype is only as good as its designers and your design team are only as good as the tools that they’re working with. So provide them with the best tools available in the market in order for them to build you a kick-ass prototype. You may want to consider the 2019 Design Tools Survey, as they mention some of the best tools for prototyping.

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