3 Tips For Taking Your Electronic Product From Concept to Reality
So you have a great idea. In fact, it’s the perfect idea. Following hours of market research, coffee-fueled brainstorming sessions and more than a few false starts, you feel like you’ve finally landed on a concept that could connect with an audience, solve a problem, or fill a niche…but now what?
Taking those ideas from concept through to reality, however, requires a very specific set of skills. Ideas? They’re a dime a dozen. Whether those ideas are worth more than the paper they’re scribbled on depends entirely on your ability to execute on these concepts.
This process can be intricate, sometimes expensive, and oftentimes time-consuming. Are you in a position to manage the design and manufacturing process? How about prototyping and testing? More than that, do you know how to pitch this concept to investors, or sell the finished product to your target market? You’re going to face challenges and hurdles every step of the way, so you need to be prepared to evaluate, address, and move past these as they come up.
Whether you’re designing a commercial electronics product or an in-house solution, you’ll require creativity, smart business senses, and an entrepreneurial attitude in order to take this concept to reality without breaking the bank. With the right electronics design company working with you, as well as some of the tips we’re outlining today, you should be able to make it through the process unscathed.
1. Crowdfunding is the future
Even the smallest project requires a substantial financial investment, especially if you’re planning on bringing it to market. The journey to securing this funding was one littered with stuffy boardrooms and business suits, but nowadays the product development landscape looks a little different. Projects are no longer solely reliant on the large investment of just one, but rather the smaller investment of many. We’re talking, of course, about crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is fast becoming the revelation of the modern product development era. With it, businesses, product developers, and even lone wolf creators like you are able to skip the middleman and take your concepts directly to the people you’re trying to sell them to.
This form of funding hit the headlines back in 2012 when videogame developer Double Fine kickstarted a revival of one of their most beloved genres to the tune of US$3,300,000. It hasn’t looked back since. Countless new inventions, technologies, and everyday devices have found success through Kickstarter and other online crowdfunding platforms like RocketHub and Indiegogo, without a traditional investor in sight.
Do you have an idea and the ability to sell it? Then chances are you could harness the power of the people who want your product to market. Some popular crowdfunding platforms include:
2. Prototyping is important
Research, theory, and hastily-scribbled sketches are all well and good, but they won’t tell you everything you need to know about your project. This is why the prototyping phase plays such a vital role in the success or failure of your concept.
How so? Prototyping gives you the opportunity to go hands-on with your product in a way virtual models and mockups don’t, and allow you to catch – and react to – any issues that could cripple a product that finds its way to store shelves without thorough testing.
If an idea isn’t going to pan out? You’ll want to know sooner rather than later. The former grants you the opportunity to tweak, adjust, and, if need be, return to the drawing board with minimal outlay and limited risk, while the latter sees you investing time and money into a project that could fail.
It’s important to note that prototyping differs from production in a few key ways, namely in outlay and cost. A production-level product may feature lavish materials and high-end finishes, but prototypes forgo this form for function.
Remember, this is the testing phase; no one cares what it looks like. In fact, many of the world’s leading electronic products looked surprisingly bare-bones and dare we say ugly during the prototyping phase: a mess of wires and cheap plastic. And at this phase, that’s all that matters. You need to know it works, long before ensuring it’s presentable and marketable to consumers.
Prototypes of electronic projects, for example, often make use of breadboards, PCB boards, microcontrollers, and various other prototyping equipment for quick, easy iteration without costly outlay on expensive hardware that just isn’t required, before advancing to a final design with production quality materials and mass-market production. Getting the prototype right can and often does determine the viability of a new product. It doesn’t, unfortunately, guarantee success. Do it right and the product might succeed. Do it wrong, however, and the project will struggle just to break even.
3. Marketing matters
The design, prototyping, and development phase all present their own hurdles, but even as tools are downed and production ramps up, you’re not necessarily in the clear. The success or failure of your ability to market a product can mean the difference between bringing it to store shelves, and then ensuring it leaves those shelves just as quickly.
In order to give your product the best shot at success, you require a marketing campaign that’s tailored to your product, its strengths, and its target audience. This includes everything from television and radio advertising, online and social media, as well as trade shows and conventions.