You are ready to move your idea forward, great! Now it is time to select a design firm to help you with your prototype. This is a super important decision, and one that should never be taken lightly. Here are 4 key things you need to look for in your design company.
First, demonstrable expertise and success in the EXACT discipline, seems obvious. Too many individuals and organizations throw money away by selecting a firm or individual based on only surface knowledge of the requirements of the project. A firm with outstanding sales and marketing can fool an unsuspecting prospect by showing expertise that only appears to apply to the project at hand.
Second, they must provide numerous references and testimonials with contact information! This is a simple request and if they refuse to provide references and testimonials under a non-disclosure agreement, then walk away. Contract firms and consultants gain new business through referrals. If they will not provide names of satisfied clients… Buyer beware
Third, do they have an internal QA process? How does your component supplier ensure your factory receives quality components? They probably have a quality assurance (QA) department responsible for quality control. A good factory also has work procedures they must follow, especially if they are ISO9000 certified. Doesn’t it make sense that your design team should have work procedures and formal peer reviews of designs and test results? Um yes it does.
Lastly, do they guarantee their work quality and schedule? So your prospective design firm made through the first 3 steps so they are probably technically qualified and honest enough to share their documents and clients. Now the real test, will they guarantee the schedule and cost targets in their proposal? Development projects are expensive but missing a launch date is much more expensive.
Inventing is a fun, and costly venture. However, following some solid advice will help you curb unnecessary spending, and to avoid future headaches.