Congrats, your entrepreneurial spirit has concurred and you are ready to act on your new invention idea. You’ve started your homework and realized you are going to need a prototype, which simply put is a three-dimensional version of your vision. Building a prototype will likely be one of the most rewarding steps you’ll take. That’s because developing a prototype gives you the opportunity to really unleash your creativity, using those skills that inspired you in the first place. No matter if you’re making your prototype, or hiring the shop to build it for you, it’s truly exciting to see your idea transformed into reality.
Now what exactly should your prototype look like? That depends on your idea and your budget and goals. Word of caution though: Do think your arts and craft project you did at grandmas is going to cut it. No matter how much glue and rubber bands you used, it will unlikely impress a licensor or manufacturer. If it works for your initial demonstration purposes, okay, But don’t limit the potential of your idea by limiting the production value of your prototype.
A prototype provides several key advantages, such as:
- You are able to test and refine the functionality of your design. Sure, your idea works perfectly in theory. However, It’s not until you actually start creating it, which will expose any flaws in your thinking
- Your are able to test the practical usage of your raw materials. For example, you may be set on using metal–until you test it and realize plastic performs better at a lower cost. The prototype stage forces you to discover the best materials.
- Your will be be able to describe your product more effectively with your team, including your attorney, marketing buddy, engineers and potential business partners. I wise person once said, “there are no bad ideas, just bad presentation of them.”
- You will make others to take you more seriously. When you show up to any type of product meeting, instantly you separate yourself from the wannabes who’ve done little more than show up a sketch, or a patent on an unproved and undeveloped idea.
The value of your prototype is undeniable. All to often we see way too much emphasis put on the importance of patenting. Which, ironically can cost more than the production of a prototype of that same idea. Time and time again we hear stories of great ideas that died due financial capabilities being consumed in patent pursuit. Why? Just ask yourself how many products got to market without a patent (many). Now ask yourself how many got to market without a prototype (none).
So please don’t limit yourself or your idea. Prototype it, have someone help you prototype it, or pay someone to prototype it. When you walk out of a room after presenting your idea to a potential buyer, who are you going to trust to speak on behalf of your idea. A sketch on paper, or a patent? Nah, a prototype can speak for itself!