The majority of entrepreneurs who are breaking into the hardware scene are often focused primarily on building their product, but that inevitably means they’re spending less time on building a profitable and sustainable business. The problem isn’t just the fact that the business model of a startup is too often neglected, it’s also the fact that it’s designed too late and designed ineffectively. Before you head down the road to taking your product to market and devising profit-building business models, it’s important to understand what the word sustainable actually means. By definition it means, “able to be maintained at a
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Not many people take the time to actually explain what a PCB is, and for good reason. It’s fundamental to all electronics! Or at least all but the simplest products. So what exactly is a PCB and what does it have to do with hardware? Before PCBs were created, circuitry was constructed through an elaborate process of point-to-point wiring, which by definition, allowed two devices to directly connect. But as wire insulation began to age and crack, circuitry began to fail frequently and short circuit. Then came the 50’s when Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) were introduced. They’re made of glass
Startups don’t become successful by a single iteration of the Lean Startup methodology or some variant of it. Successful startups are created through experimentation. While your quality assurance plans equally protect you and your customers, it is also building your reputation. Most people are familiar with the startup quote, “move fast and break things.” And for the most part, it makes sense to do just that. The faster you understand how something works–whether it be prototyping, marketing, or even software development–the closer you’ll be to success. In hardware, however, you can only rush certain aspects of development. Prototyping and customer
Coming into the hardware startup industry doesn’t just mean that you’ll be building a physical product and marketing it to a few handful audiences. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes of launching a hardware startup. In fact, one of the most important reasons why HW startups fail is because they neglect getting the proper cost estimates. If you fail to get accurate estimates, you might just find yourself filing bankruptcy. So let’s talk about one of the most important methods of tracking costs. A bill of materials. First up, what is it? A bill of materials is
Many hardware founders come into the industry usually as some sort of engineer or designer (product or industrial) but while they possess the hard skills necessary to create a physical product, most don’t have the softer skills such as crowdfunding, media, SCM, and even marketing. Because of this, transitioning out of building your startup’s product to launching your startup has created a barrier, or a knowledge gap. Unfortunately, learning these softer skills is already out of the picture. But that doesn’t mean you won’t learn a thing or two when your startup starts a new SMM or crowdfunding campaign. It
Almost every new hardware product has some possibility of technical risk. That inevitably means there’s a chance that your hardware startup won’t be able to deliver a product because of some type of malfunction, engineering issue, or even a manufacturing complication. I’m sure many of you have been in this situation. Maybe a charging module began to overheat, or perhaps you needed to cram 10 different components into a 0.76mm thick PVC. Managing technical risk is one thing, but to mitigate it? That can be a totally different beast. Successful startups manage and mitigate technical risk very well. But a
For years now, we’ve seen a massive shift in which verticals people are seeking out. They’ve gone from business and law to engineering and technology. And while it’s great to see the masses shifting this way, it’s not great to see the majority of people fail. But the sad truth is, not everyone understands or follows through with the process of building hardware. To be more specific, not everyone sees the need to build prototypes, but the fact still remains. You can’t skip prototyping your hardware. At a fundamental level, prototyping benefits you in more than a couple of ways.
Building the right MVP for your hardware startup should not be rocket science. For the most part, people understand that. But some people are sometimes reluctant to give up their perfectionism. I can understand that. The thing is though, MVP doesn’t stand for Most Valuable Player (at least not for hardware startups). MVP stands for minimal viable product for a reason. You know? The entire goal of an MVP is to test assumptions about a business idea and learn from those tests but only delivering the least amount of resources. That means you need to spend the least amount of
Developing a hardware prototype is one of the most valuable stages for hardware startups. Well, for any startup really. And that’s for a couple reasons. #1 – you see your product come to life. #2 – you learn extremely valuable insight about how your product could be used, how it holds up through wear and tear, and how it can be improved. But maybe your hardware startup is still in the early prototype stages. Maybe you’re pressed for cash and you don’t have the time and resources to ship out a final product. So instead of trying to raise investor
We’ve written about everything from building an MVP to acquiring your first customers, but what we have yet to discuss is preparing your hardware startup for production–perhaps the least fun part about hardware. The complicated part about making a physical product and getting it to ship on time is that it involves too many suppliers and vendors. That’s arguably the worst part about having your product manufactured abroad. Working collaboratively and on your timeline is a lot harder. Of course there’s no right way to preparing your hardware startup for production. There only seems to be a logical sequence of