Prototyping like a Pro! The unsaid rule of building a prototype
Student Entrepreneur: ‘We are currently making a prototype of our product!’
Friend: ‘Oh! That’s exciting. What are you planning to include in your prototype?’
Student Entrepreneur: ‘Oh we plan to include feature A, feature B, Feature C, Feature D and maybe even feature E! ‘
Friend: Umm. But didn’t you say that you are building a Prototype?
Student Entrepreneur: ‘Yeah well, it is a kind of a prototype!’
* Awkward Silence *
Every student entrepreneur starts with a great idea, and its desire to build and bring it as quickly in the market as possible. But with the desire to build it and bring it quickly into the market, they also start to realize that their quick product isn’t going to be the best looking and efficient one. And here is that exact moment where priorities start to change. Rather than building a product quickly and enter the market, the entrepreneur starts focusing on making the product look good, be stable. And thus begins the loop of procrastinated release. This is the point where suddenly an entrepreneur who is craving market validation turns into a psycho-perfectionist. Where he/ she thinks that it ought to be a perfect product before it enters the market and spends time perfecting every screw of the product. This transforms into delayed launches, the curse of speaking to a lot of people and getting diverse suggestions and ultimately a lot of frustration.
We have put together a list which can guide you to Prototype like a Pro!
- A Prototype is the fastest path to experience :
You are building a product to solve a customer’s problem. Now imagine, that you care about your customer’s woes, you want to solve it real quick! You don’t want to waste time to perfect a solution, but just frugally make something and deliver it. Think about it as the last time when you were really hungry, headed to the kitchen and cooked something real quick! Taste, appearance and aesthetics of the food were secondary. What you needed is the stomach-filling experience. The same approach needs to be developed for making your PROTOTYPEs
- Release quick, Release Often
Once you have started building the first cut of your PROTOTYPE, ensure that the second cut is released within a few weeks. The first cut of your PROTOTYPE, the second cut of your PROTOTYPE and the third cut of your PROTOTYPE should not be delayed as your customers might think you have a limited set of features. Line up your features in the descending order of impact.
- Maximum time spent in Learning, Minimum time spent in a building :
Most entrepreneurs wish to be on the computers or in their garage busy building the product. But unfortunately, that is the last place they should be. The most amount of time should be dedicated to observing your ideal customer personas, their behaviours and market conditions. Less time building, more time in the market!
4.Effectiveness of your Prototype: New learning per rupee spent :
The objective of building a prototype should never be earning money but market validation. When you arrive at your entrepreneurial idea, you have a few insights about the market. You need to start validating those ideas into and seek new insights. A prototype is a fishing rod which is used to fish new insights from your market. The way to measure the effectiveness of your prototype is how many new and unknown insights you have gathered from your market using your prototype
- The prototyping attitude: learning by doing
Learn about the market not by buying expensive market research documents or by conducting surveys. Market research is expensive and surveys reveal the opinion of people ( Which might be inconsistent with the behaviour of people!) Think about your prototype as a tool to validate/ invalidate your market which is far more powerful than a survey question.
Overall, building a prototype has to be a fast and agile process. Romanticizing with your idea is one of the inferior ways to build a prototype. If you care about your customer happiness and success, you would not waste time in developing a perfect product and waste a lot of time before you arrive at the market. The objective is to go lean, niche and once you get market validation, you can blitz-scale!
At ISME, we provide you with a comprehensive PROTOTYPE management course where you learn how to validate your idea with a prototype, how to observe market behaviour, seek feedback and then plan your version 2 and version 3.