Experienced inventors and many entrepreneurs are highly familiar with the process of prototyping, but those with a new product idea coming to the game without experience may find the process a bit confusing.
Developing a prototype is all about working out the kinks in the original design and acquiring honest feedback from potential consumers so you can tweak the final design to make it more marketable. They are very much like mock-ups since you are building a working model of the product, but prototypes are made with a broad range of motives in mind.
Prototypes allow you to determine the costs associated with manufacturing the product, helping you determine if it’s worth the time and money spent developing it and putting it on the market. In some cases, a prototype ends up costing more to make than it’s worth, and that means going back to the beginning to see if certain materials or designs can be changed to make it more feasible to produce. In other cases, a prototype may prove difficult to manufacture, so buyers may not want to deal with the hassle.
An experimental prototype comes as close to the final product as possible, but it all begins in the concept design stage. Modern technologies allow for concepts to be created in 3D CAD programs rather than the old fashioned pencil and paper, giving you a more accurate version of the final prototype before it’s ever even sent to manufacturing. CAD drawings are accurate and affordable, so it’s a vital step in the planning of any new product.
The manufacturing design and actual prototyping stage are the most confusing to new inventors, and should mostly be done by a professional prototyping company. These companies have the resources, expertise, and skilled staff on hand to do the job correctly, giving you the highest quality prototype possible.
Once the prototype is completed, a good prototyping company will offer additional services like branding, manufacturing, marketing, and consulting. Useful services throughout the process include demonstrating the prototype to focus groups, having access to customized metal and plastic bending, and video marketing. Using a variety of these services from start to finish may give you the best chance to sell or license your prototype to a buyer. In many instances, a prototyping company can give you access to trade shows, PowerPoint demonstrations, sales letters and emails, and provide you with contacts you may not have been able to attain on your own.