The entrepreneur is still the master of the modern business world but ingenuity and genius often have meager beginnings. Having a cost-effective product development plan in place is often vital for any novice inventor seeking to prototype the next big thing. Genius often confounds public opinion so those blessed with a creative spark can’t always count on the recognition of investors or the backing of lending institutions. It’s already a tough task to sell an idea in today’s overstimulated and underfed marketplace where ideas are many but risks are few. Decent product development is key in turning heads in the fast-paced business world. So how does someone put together the perfect prototype on a budget?
Research Can Save You a World of Pain
The initial step in frugal product development can also be the most painful, depending on the results. The silver-lining is that what brings you a bit of pain at this level will save you a world of pain at the next. Before you even begin product development on your prototype, it’s integral that you check and cross-check to make sure someone hasn’t already beaten you to the punch with the same idea or one too strikingly similar.
As you may imagine, the internet is your best resource in determining whether a similar invention is in any stage of product development before you spend a single cent on prototyping. This seems basic enough but you’ll need to vary your searches, possibly even using a thesaurus for synonyms to keywords that describe the specific details of your invention. Your searches should be thorough and exhaustive as you don’t want any nasty surprises shattering your budget in the midst of the active product development stages.
Foresight is Integral to Product Development
This may be a good time to hit up the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well to give you a heads up on what to expect beyond the prototyping phase. This may seem like jumping the gun, but the first step in product development is all about foresight. The information you research at this level can have a direct impact on decisions made in the prototyping stages.
Find Aid Within Your Budget
Ideally, if you have the support of investors or a sufficient loan, you will want to work with professionals that specialize in developing prototypes. But for many investors working from the bottom, product development must be accomplished in the most cost-effective ways possible. Check Yelp for conveniently located tool-and-die shops that may be open to assisting in the prototype phase of your product development. The results may not mirror what you’d see from professional companies but the dip in quality may not be drastic. The savings could be integral to your project’s budget at this point.
This could also be a great opportunity to test out your ability to sell others on your dream. You may be asking craftsmen to bypass their job functions by helping you develop a prototype so you’ll want them to share in your enthusiasm. You can also offer them a cut of the profits once the mass product development is underway but even then you’ll need to get them excited about the product. You can even approach local learning institutions and universities about lending or affordably renting their labs to aid you in creating your prototype.
In some cases, you can bypass craftsmen altogether and create the prototype yourself. This will require you to not only have the skill to create the prototype but also the tools, machinery, and materials necessary for product development. Mold putty, sculpey, and hand-moldable plastics are ideal materials for use in DIY product development. You may even have access to higher end technology like a home 3D printer.
Avoid Loose Lips During Product Development
One of the easiest ways to hold onto your wallet during product development is to keep your mouth shut. Details should be provided to those helping you on a just-enough-education-to-perform basis. Loose lips in the product development stage can result in a brilliant original idea making a lot of money for a plagiarist. If you have to give away a lot of details to those aiding you in prototyping, ensure that confidentiality agreements are signed.
An ingenious idea should be the toughest part of product development. If you’ve made it that far, then stick to these tips like glue to make sure your work is fruitful. Brilliance shouldn’t cost you a fortune. It should make you a fortune.