Prototyping

August 17, 2018

So you have an idea for a product, but don’t know what steps to take next. The most important thing to find out is if anyone would be interested in buying your product. You may think you have a great idea, but talking to potential customers can help you discover if and how they may use your product. What I recommend is to start by creating an online survey. The goal of the survey is to determine if there is a problem with how they are currently using a similar product or making up for a lack of a product and if they would use your solution.

The basic information you always need captured in your survey is demographics. Including these types of questions will help guarantee your market, show you a market you may have forgotten about, and confirm you are reaching a diverse group of individuals in your research. The goal of how many responses you should get should be based on your product.

If you plan to launch an international e-commerce brand, you’re looking at thousands of responses, but if you have a niche product idea, hundreds is a good goal so long as you are getting responses from different demographics represented by your target market. Once you have verified your product idea through surveys, I recommend talking to 100 strangers as well as setting up focus groups.

This is when you really dive deeper into what products they use now and how they would utilize your product if it were created. I don’t recommend telling them exactly what you’re designing or giving away your idea, but asking questions that would either validate or negate your idea for creating a product. Once you have validation from customers, putting your idea on paper is the next step to take.


Create sketches of your design or work with someone who can take what’s in your mind and draw it out. If you have to, use any sort of shape art program on your computer to draw it out. This is where freelancers can come in the handy. Fiverr and Upwork are just two freelancer platforms where you can post a job and get a quick turnaround from a professional. From here, use a CAD program to take what you drew and turn it into a 3D model. This could be Fusion 360, OnShape, or Solidworks. Again, turning to a freelancer to do this work may be the best option for you. If your product isn’t something that can be 3D printed, think of using clay, fabric, wood, or other tools to create something tangible of your idea.

The next step is to take your 3D model and have it 3D printed. There are a lot of websites where you can put in an order online and have it shipped to you. Once you have your design, it’s important to have potential users or customers test it out.


Give your 3D printed model to them without any guide to see how they react to it. Do they understand how to use it without any instructions?

Does it simplify their life? What would they change about it?

Would they use this over your competitor? How much would they pay for it?

These are all questions you can ask them after testing it out. Once your product passes the user experience test, the next step is to find a manufacturer. Find several options that will print a prototype of your model so that you aren’t stuck with a large order of defective products. From there you can approve your prototype and place your first order of products. Social media influencers are changing the way companies market products.

Look for an influencer who would be open to working with you to help sell your product. Influencers look for several options when working with a company so have an open conversation with them about what they would like and what your goals are for your company. You can offer to give an influencer a free product in exchange for a review video. You can offer a monetary amount for them to post a photo of your product on their social media platforms. Some influencers accept discounts on your products in exchange for regular advertising.

Affiliate marketing is also another option where influencers only get paid when someone uses their personal link to purchase a product. For more information about social media marketing your product, visit our page _______. Once you have actual sales and proof of concept, you can start looking for an investor if that is the route you choose.

Some companies create products to get acquired by a larger company. Whatever your decision, don’t forget to keep listening to your customers. Don’t remain stagnant. Ask for feedback, send more surveys, ask questions, and make iterations to your product. Continue to improve upon the design and implement the changes your customers recommend. Congratulations on visualizing, prototyping, and manufacturing your product!

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August 17, 2018