Converting Ideas to Prototypes

Do you want to create a great industrialized business which has huge potential to grow and sustain with profits? It is possible if you have understood the prime characteristics and stages of entrepreneurship. But understanding the roles and processes alone won't help you build a working sample of your idea; you have to act accordingly with all the resources and plans. Most frequently I've heard from my students and other entrepreneurs in query raising sites (like Quora or StackOverflow) that "What is the prototype design cycle and what needs to be considered? How long it usually takes to come up with a working prototype?" In this chapter, you will learn about all of these terms, cycles and the various components that are required for an entrepreneur to come up with a working model.

What is a Prototype?

A prototype can be defined as a physical and incomplete (or in progress) test version of an idea, product, service or a package of processes that is intended with the plan to develop, test as well as communicate with the actual concepts or ideas. In entrepreneurship, designing and structuring the prototype is an extremely dedicated work and business which needs a huge deal of edifice and adequate knowledge as well as ability to bring effort on various mediums. In other words, it is the first sample model designed (as a physical version of the idea) to test and make changes for bringing the actual version of the idea.

Advantages of Prototyping

There are a lot of benefits a prototype has for an entrepreneur. These are:

  • Prototyping gives the entrepreneurs an advantage to test their ideas in a tangible way.
  • It also helps in easily unfold the actual plan and debug during the early stage for issues and fix it, thus saves a lot of resources in parallel before actual implementation.
  • Prototyping also helps entrepreneurs to take iterative actions in refining the idea or plan after visualizing the live product and change ideas concurrently. There are cases where entrepreneurs reveal new aspects of ideas from the prototype stage of an idea.
  • During collaboration within different groups of the same idea, prototyping helps stakeholders to visualize the physical representation and connect the groups to a common framework and understand the concept and entail as well as experience the idea.

Prototyping Components

Now, since you've understood the meaning and essence of prototyping, it is time to know the essential components that as an entrepreneur you need to see in you or within your surroundings. And, then create a Venn diagram of these and scrounge for them accordingly.

The primary three components that an entrepreneur should need are:
  1. Expertise
  2. Passion
  3. Opportunity

Expertise: For starting a company, you need to be very strong and sound in the idea you're planning to give birth. It tells the world what you can do with your idea, and what is the thing that is different in this journey.

Passion: This gives a push and focuses towards what your idea is all about. It tracks you to chase your dreams, bring resources and people who are like-minded and will become a part of this journey to make an idea to prototype.

Opportunity: If you are interested in doing something, you and your co-founders have expertise in different domains, but what if there is no opportunity! What if nobody cares about what your idea can bring next? So, you have to look at your surroundings for opportunities also.

The intersection that you can see in the diagram above is the area where entrepreneurs should concentrate - precise yet unlimited. Just remember, having some "idea," or "coming up with a new idea" is the easy part of entrepreneurship, the hard part is "implementing the idea." So, building a prototype to see how your idea is actually working in the arena, i.e., the market is the big bang. There comes the graph of failure and success, and how to resolve issues and fix them to make the ultimate consumer product. At that stage, the entrepreneurs need to have discipline, hard work, and sacrifice, work with limited resources to implement the idea. Prototyping is where you indeed implement for the first time your idea.