Do you have a business idea that is on your mind? Would you like to be able to discuss it with your team or present it to clients? If you are in that initial phase in the development of an entrepreneurial project or a new line of business for your company, you need Prototyping . But before launching to build your prototype or product demo, I would like to tell you about some Keys to develop a good prototype that I always keep in mind .
But before even launching to prototype your idea, you need to know my 11 Keys to prototype a business idea
11 keys to keep in mind to Build a Good Prototype
These 11 points or keys to a good prototype are the result of my entrepreneurial experience. If you see that there is one more that should be, don’t hesitate and leave me a comment explaining the reasons for adding it.
Here are mine:
1.- prototypes must be visual.
I speak specifically of product prototyping. In this case, the shape, texture, weight or size will often be important. Other times they will be design features that we will add later.
Imagine that you want to prototype a protective knee brace for skaters, based on your experience as a skater.
Imagine that this knee brace is made up of a plastic part and a fabric with Velcro to be able to hold it to your knee. It would be very interesting to be able to feel, try on or touch a prototype, right?
2.- prototypes Atleast have the basic functionalities
If we talk about software, for example, the typical thing is to add functionalities as they occur to us. It is very difficult for an entrepreneur to launch a first version of their product or service with only one main functionality. The reason is that it gives the feeling that it is unfinished.
Adding more account features to a prototype just messes with the customer you present it to. When doing an interview for a solution , what is important is to extract a lot of information from the main functionalities and leave for later those that do not add much value.
Also, in a good demo, customers are sure to miss features that you had not thought of and they are not even worried about some that you would have launched to add to your product before consulting with them.
In summary, the basic functionalities and the prototype to the clients as soon as possible.
3.- Keep an Fresh mind to comments, new ideas or prototypes that are out of the ordinary.
Keeping an agile and alert mind will help you improve your business idea. If you listen to your team, customers and analyze what is moving in the market, it is very possible that you will find ideas that allow you to improve your product or service.
Do not persist in your original idea just because. Most companies, large and small, improve their products quite frequently. In the case of a Startup or an entrepreneur with even more reason, because the great advantage of a small project is the agility, speed and ease of testing (in general) of its products and ideas.
Sometimes thinking crazy can give rise to functionalities or services that you had not thought of at the beginning and that deserve a testing opportunity.
4.- The prototype is built to be iterated and modified as necessary.
Sometimes it seems simple, keep an open mind to new ideas, but it is not so easy.
One of the biggest mistakes as an entrepreneur is to think that your idea is so good that you do not accept the comments of your potential clients. I no longer speak opinions of your team or other people. I am referring to comments from people who understand the subject, who have the problem you want to solve and therefore people you should listen to.
Keeping an open mind to changes and modifications will improve your product or service . It will allow you to iterate your idea or business model to adapt it to the needs of your clients and thereby build a winning business.
But not everything is as easy as it seems because many times, not even the clients themselves really know what they want or need and that is why it is necessary to filter as well.
5.- The prototype in general does not need details, it will be perfected over time
Refining the initial prototype over time is something you will have to do. That is why it is important to launch it with only the basic functionalities that we saw in point 2. Sometimes we think that the details mean making a sloppy prototype or without design. But it will depend on the market in which you move.
In certain sectors, design is important, so if it is an important value for your product, you will have to include it from the beginning.
A prototype is not synonymous with something that looks bad. I never get tired of remembering that a prototype allows you to validate or reject hypotheses. A hypothesis to test with your prototype can be the design, shape, weight, size or many other physical characteristics, for which having a good design in the prototype matters a lot.
6.- Show it quickly to your Early Adopters. See how your customers interact with him, Look for criticism.
Another point that is not easy for an entrepreneur. Many times it happens that when you present your prototype or your demo to clients, you think that you already have the final product. It often happens when you have spent too much time building it or it has too many features. And it is not easy to accept criticism of your product. It is normal.
Therefore, the key is to develop a rapid prototype that allows us to test the most important value proposition for our Early Adopters. And for this reason, it is key to have previously located these Early Adopters , to have carried out problem interviews , to know them well and to have a very well defined problem or need that we are trying to solve.
7.- The prototype must be as cheap as possible, and provide the greatest number of data. you will likely have to build several.
Validating hypotheses of our business model involves developing experiments and tests. Sometimes it is necessary to prepare several prototypes with which to test different hypotheses. Sometimes a prototype will help us determine if a functionality is key or not and other times to see if the usability is what we think.
Other times, we will need a rapid prototype to test materials and physical properties of the product itself. But what should always be a priority is to have hypotheses to test and to do it as quickly as possible. This does not imply being careless or sloppy. Each experiment must be planned, it must be measured, to know if it has been successful or not and, above all, it must provide relevant information for the project.
8.- Use creativity to develop it
Creativity is something that every entrepreneurial team or company that wants to innovate must keep in mind. Sometimes we think that only some people are creative, but the truth is that anyone in the right environment and with a good guide or professional who manages the session correctly, can be creative.
The different creativity techniques used well and with method, allow us to find solutions to complex problems.
9.- Measure, learn and iterate based on validated knowledge
Measuring everything that we are experiencing is the only way to make decisions based on data and not on more assumptions. If we want to test hypotheses, that is, assumptions that we believe to be true but that we do not know, we must try to obtain data that allows us to make decisions and not create new hypotheses.
Sometimes there is no other choice. New hypotheses emerge from an experiment, but we must try to extract facts from each prototype that help us move forward with our project.
10.- Ask users for a second date to show the next iteration
Another very important point is to leave a product or service demo with a commitment from customers or early adopters with whom we have been. The commitment does not have to be a purchase or pre-purchase of a product, because perhaps we are not yet at that stage. A commitment to a new demonstration may be enough, when the prototype is more advanced, when we have incorporated a new functionality or simply when we can already commercialize it.
Without a doubt, another interesting point as a commitment is to ask clients to put us in contact with other potential clients or people interested in our project.
Getting a commitment like this is a good sign that your project generates interest.
11.- Enjoy the Process of Creation and Iteration of your Prototype
The iteration process of your original business idea, product, service or business model is an exciting path. But like everything, it is not an easy road, it is full of risks, of difficult decisions and for this reason, the success rate of an innovative project is usually low. But it is also true that the path is exciting and if you do not enjoy it you will not come to fruition either.
Sometimes persevering is the right thing to do and other times abandoning that path and taking another is the right thing to do. But like any path is hard, better if you are passionate about what you do and have fun because it will be easier for you to face difficulties with better spirits.