How Should You Validate Your Hardware Idea
When it comes to hardware development, or entrepreneurship in general, a lot of founders get caught up in an assumption that their product is what the market wants. They then spend time and money to coordinate the launching of their product only to realize that its not something the market wants. Before you ever take your idea a step further, knowing ways to validate your idea is an essential part of becoming successful in your entrepreneurship journey.
1: Market Demand? Or Your Own Demand?
First and foremost, you have to seriously ask yourself the basic questions about your product.
· What problem does your product solve?
· Who’s going to buy your product? (Make sure to get down to the details about who they are)
· Why will they buy the product?
· What is the convention right now?
· Why is this the right way to solve the problem?
· Why should people change the way they normally do things for your product?
These questions may seem basic, but these questions should also be answered from the perspective of your target users. If your product does not address a need that the target user wants, you are creating something only you want. And we all know the fate of those kinds of products in the end.
After the basic questions are answered, it is important to go after your potential users for interviews, focus groups and surveys to narrow your audience and results even further. The more information that you posses, will make it easier for you to decide the validity and the initial features of what your product should have. Remember, always go after what the people want, not what you want.
2: Prototype, Prototype, and Prototype
Prototyping after significant market validation is the next most important step. During this stage you should be interviewing potential users and seeing their interactions with your prototype and make changes upon such findings. This is perhaps the most important stage before scaling up and spending a large sum of money on manufacturing.
Beginning with your rough prototype, what we call a functional prototype, is the first step to validating whether if your idea is worth pursuing or not. This should have been developed through the data that you received from your target customers and should not be focused on anything outside of functionality. Don’t get too caught up into making things perfect, as long as the main functions the product is trying to deliver maintains a delivery
Each generation afterwards will and should be an iteration based on feedback from users, and this will be the core of a successful product. If the foundation is set up right, the chances of mistakes (expensive ones) in the future is less likely going to happen.
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Brandon is the Founder of LYNKD, a new age product development firm that helps hardware startups with their manufacturing processes.