Starting a business is a complex and challenging job. From idea to production, marketing, customer service, and financing, you must diligently plan out and realize every aspect. That is at least what many new entrepreneurs are doing. However, working hard to get your business off the ground and focusing too much on planning, constantly improving, and perfecting every detail can actually be ravaging your chances of starting with your company and ultimately succeeding.
Constantly pushing off to launch your big idea or anticipating until you have that ideal final product can only mean waiting an eternity to start realizing your dream. That said, there is an easier, faster, and more effective way to quickly and successfully start your business – rapid prototyping.
What is rapid prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a technique that helps quick and continuous creation and scaling of a model of a product by using computer-aided technology data (CAD). It is one of the most significant trends not only in the manufacturing and prototyping industry but also in arts and design.
Rapid prototyping (RP) allows businesses to test and modify products in the early stage of their development and easily present new concepts and ideas to clients or investors. Moreover, it saves time and resources and increases a company’s productivity, so it is easy to see why so many businesses have included this technique as a fundamental part of their design and marketing processes.
RP covers several manufacturing technologies. The most known is additive manufacturing (3D printing). Still, prototypes can also be created with subtractive (milling, grinding, or turning) and compressive (casting, compressive sintering, or molding) production methods.
Can rapid prototyping be the answer to quick start your business?
Rapid prototyping can play an essential role in every business stage. It provides critical product insights on design and functionality, making the process of product development more efficient. But RP is also helpful in pitching an idea and presenting it to team members or investors.
That said, RP’s essential purpose is to help you make a quick prototype of your product and immediately put yourself on the market. Because the reality is that you do not need a perfect product before you can open your business—you can perfect and change it after opening. This way, you can save money, time, and other resources that would have otherwise be lost on perfecting your product before the launch. Making your product visible through a prototype means being able to look not only for prospect investors but also for clients right from the start.
How to launch a business when opting for rapid prototyping?
Once you do your research on RP, there are many different ways you can launch your business. However, if you need a place to start, take a look at our four-point checklist:
#1 Design a prototype
The first step towards turning your business idea into reality is putting it down on paper. To help you visualize your product in greater detail, draw it. After that, make sure you create a digital sketch. For this purpose, a standard digital design tool is AutoCAD. Once you have a virtual prototype, you are ready to build a physical prototype. If you have the skill, you can create one yourself.
Another way is going to a professional prototype designer or prototyping company to build your prototype. Remember, the goal is to make it fast and straightforward, but do not bypass required licenses and all of the safety measures.
#2 Make a website and pick a launch date
While you are working on your idea and making a prototype, take time to make a website. As first impressions count, even a simple website will allow you to make a strong impression and introduction for your business. Having a functional website where you can showcase your product will help you better position your business from the start.
When it comes to launching your business, plan, set a deadline, and stick to it. On an actual day, remember not to be hard on yourself because not all will be perfect. But that is OK. Building a successful business takes time.
#3 Start looking for clients and begin marketing yourself
As you are somewhere in the middle of executing your business idea, you probably already have a sense of who your potential clients are and how you can get them. Still, because you now have a prototype, after launching, you will quickly get an idea of whether or not there is a market for your product.
Rapid prototyping allows you to either abandon the idea entirely or refine it while increasing your customer base. There is no better way to test, improve and validate your design than having paying clients. The best part is, once you start building relationships with them, they will help you develop and improve your business.
And when it comes to marketing, for a start, keep it simple and effective, but make sure you are present at the right places and connected with the right people.
#4 Embrace change and be willing to learn and adapt your business
As starting and building a business is a process, prepare yourself to embrace every success and failure on the way and learn as much as you can. Keep an open mind, and be ready to adapt to meet new opportunities as they come. If things do not go as you planned, adjust and try again. Every entrepreneur will face failure at some point. But successful business owners choose to learn from their mistakes before quitting.
When starting a business, the goal is to save as much as possible available resources finding the right solution (or business model, product, or approach). Instead of perfecting all the planning and preparation, you need to focus on preparing a prototype of the product (or concept) and putting it on the market. From there, you continue to test, assess, and make refinements until you find the best solution.
Rapid prototyping is essentially just a simple yet powerful tool that can help you start with your business. In reality, this is how many businesses can get products and ideas to market faster and with less risk and capital. Be smart. Be one of them!