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
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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
Hardware startups sometimes overlook getting their product validated Unfortunately, hardware startups are sometimes doomed for failure without the proper validated learning processes put into place. That’s one reason why we’re so passionate about lean hardware. For the most part, the purpose of lean hardware is to maximize learning by gathering feedback from your customers, backers, or investors through a series of processes. The only problem with gathering feedback is not a lot of people really know where to start. Among the hundreds of questions that an average aspiring entrepreneur would have, we’re often asked, “How do we ask hundreds of customers for
Marketing your hardware startup is usually never second nature. Hardware founders and product guys get so carried away by all the fancy technologies and sweet features we desire that they forget to share it with the right audience. On top of that, they’re never really sure where to start. To remedy this, we put together 3 pre-prototype, pre-production, power strategies that you can use today so you can get started on marketing your hardware startup. The beauty about these strategies is that they are independent of each other. Although, some may seem like they go hand in hand, you can