A prototype can simply be defined as a functional sample based on a product design. There are many reasons for producing a prototype, but one of the primary and most important reasons is that it is used to gather feedback from potential investors and targeted consumers. Prototyping is without a doubt a significant part of new product development, and here are five reasons why.
1. Helps with Early Detection and Fixing of Errors
When it comes to business, there is a risk of failure, but this can be reduced with a good prototype. By prototyping your product, you can catch mistakes early on and fix them before moving on to another stage in the development process. This is extremely important because mistakes that are discovered later on are more costly to fix than if they were discovered in the prototype stage.
2. They are Good for Convincing Investors
If you want investors to buy into your idea, having something that they can visualize and interact with is a great way to get them on board. This is what prototypes are particularly good for. The prototype does not need to be perfect, considering that investors will not look at it as a full representation of the final product. As long as the prototype is functional to a reasonable degree, it should increase the chance that investors will want to buy in.
3. They Simplify the Process of Filing for a Patent
Although a prototype is not particularly necessary when filing for a patent, it is a great way to demonstrate the functionality of your concept. This has the added benefit of increasing the chance that your patent application will be successful. Just be sure not to waste time on making a prototype with all the bells and whistles since, when it comes to prototypes, the general rule is that the first one to invent it is the one who will get the patent.
4. Can Minimize Costs
Every business would love to minimize costs and increase profits. Luckily, this is something a prototype can help with. By manufacturing a functional sample early on in the new product development stages, you can figure out which steps can be removed, improved or streamlined during production, saving you a lot of time and money in the process.
5. Can Help Gather User Feedback
As mentioned earlier, this is one of the main reasons why prototyping is very important – getting user feedback. You can then use the information you have gathered from users to update the product accordingly. If you do not take into consideration the input of your target consumers, you will end up designing the product for yourself, which can decrease the chances that it will resonate with consumers once it hits the global markets.
These days, with the way prototyping is becoming more and more inexpensive, no successful new product development project can do without it. Prototyping smoothens the road into the local, national or global markets, allowing companies to launch products that have been perfected to the best of their ability.