1. Ask the Question: Will people want this?
Why would someone buy my product? That’s the first question to ask of any hardware project and will drive your communication and marketing. Discover how you can use bilateral and effective communication that will help you create the PULL (selling something that people need) and not the PUSH (selling something that you think will fit in the market). One way to test this is a well design landing page. Design your page to increase interest and curiosity in your product, and create channels to build focus groups and connect and communicate with your potential customers. These tools will help you become fully informed about your market and will give you data to define your potential “Early adopter”.
Definition of “Early Adopter”: The customer who is willing to try, test, and buy new products before the market is mainstream.
Some great examples of online platforms for free landing page development:
How do you create “Pull”? By Simon Sinek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4
2. Now you have some user validation, it is time to go define what you do next.
Does this sound familiar to you? “I want a first version of my product, but I do not know anyone who can help me develop it.” Let me raise the following scenarios to help you understand possible starting points:
- You belong to an entrepreneurial team that understands the hardware ecosystem and has the required technical skills to design a prototype but are looking to take your idea to the next level.
- You know someone who from what they have told you seems to be able to create a first approximation of the idea, a friend, a freelancer or even a member of your family that are willing to help you.
- You find a traditional company through the internet (like an engineering consultancy), but you find their proposal too expensive for the development of your first prototype.
- You are new to product development, have a good idea, but do not know how to develop it.
Look at the scenarios above, do you fit into any of these profiles? No matter which profile you fit into, it is time to take into account the 3 critical pillars of product development. Development TIME, COST, and QUALITY. Here is the challenge; Traditional companies can be expensive and take a long time to offer good quality solutions, while freelancers are often more flexible and cost-effective but can lack horsepower to develop your product quickly.
Before selecting a partner, define your project roadmap, and that roadmap will help point you toward the most ideal partner for your project. At LastBasic, we advocate for product development beyond a simple MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to a MAP (Minimum Adorable Product), which is a functional prototype designed to convince your early adopters (EA) and investors to trust and get excited by your vision. Understanding the technical feasibility and getting market validation early is critical to your project success and the steps must be repeated during the whole development process. An attractive and functional prototype will help you, your team, and early adopters envision the future and better demonstrate the value your prototype provides.
3. I’ve made it this far, how do I grow?
RESOURCES! Where can you find them? How do you find someone to trust and bet on your project? Here are 3 common and effective funding sources.
- The famous (FFF): Family, Friends, (and Fools), are the basis for most early stage investment in product development. These investors look for quality teams and look for potential in your product. Don’t be afraid to ask them! Taking the chance with an investor is a tricky process but can be critical to your project’s success. Your relationship with them is important and they may ask you for a lot. It is your job as the product owner to make the final decision.
- Business Angel circles (private and professional investors). Try and approach them and be ready to be educated in the fundraising process. These professional investors will ask more from your team as they will be doing more due diligence to understand the complexity of your product.
- Crowdfunding: A wonderful combination of early adopter investment and validation. If your project fits the type of product on crowdfunding platforms, why not give it a try? A crowdfunding campaign requires effort, money, and marketing resources, but will help you understand your customer, set your product price, and give you early sales traction. We recommend you do not underestimate these platforms, as they are powerful tools, but make sure you analyze and understand them upfront in order to make the most of the crowdfunding moment for your product.
Examples of product crowdfunding platforms:
4. Where can I find a great technical team to help me develop my final product?
Beyond the initial recommendation of creating an effective and attractive prototype, your team will need to grow. It is time to think strategically and access what your product team needs are. Do you want to subcontract out your manufacturing? Do you want to develop your product in-house? Answer these questions in order to define your team.
In the early stages of your company, find people who align with your mission and vision of the company. These employees will be linked in a deeper way than just economic reasons, and will create a more sustainable workforce as the company develops. For this purpose, use recruitment tools that take into account these characteristics and the start-up community in general.
Example of this would be: https://angel.co
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1. Ask the question: Will people want this? 2. Define what you do next. 3. Think, how do I grow? 4. Find a technical team to help develop my final product?