Why prototyping is essential for a business manager

Richard Budding

If you think that prototypes are an unjustified design tool, then hold on because you’re about to see how powerful this tool is for business managers, especially with tough competition and tight budgets.

What is prototyping?

In general, prototyping is the process of creating a functional version that can be in all shapes and sizes, and for almost every kind of industry. It is used in real-world scenarios to share, communicate, and get quick feedback on an idea that will help you validate the product.

Questions like “ How and will this work?” in markets changing at lightning speed can be frustrating. A successful business manager will have to learn to adapt to new ways of working as quickly as possible. Here is why prototyping is an indispensable tool for tackling business problems and improving customer experience.

Prototype: a visual representation

Not every idea fails because it is not good enough. Many products or services might seem perfect and well-thought-out, but upon production or implementation, difficulties arise. For that reason, prototyping allows you to see the kinks in your idea and address them appropriately.

Prototypes Vs. Business Plans

What are the chances of misunderstanding from reading a paper document? Pretty high, right? Imagine unifying all parties around a shared vision, where no imagination or any degree of interpretation is required. This is the second advantage of prototyping. Investors want to see the effort you’ve put into extensively reviewing the possible causes of product failure and minimizing them. It allows you to show upper management what exactly you will produce with no “fill in the gaps”; as well as this will encourage stakeholders to take you more seriously than a business manager who approaches them with just a unique idea.

Another powerful, cost-effective reason to create a prototype is to have a tangible product that you can test. Users will be able to identify problems early when fixing them is still inexpensive.

Even after you’ve done your extensive market research, you might be considering including a particular feature that turns out to be unnecessary. Instead, you might have missed something that customers consider essential and would have been expensive to add later. Validating your assumptions is an extra primary step that prototyping allows so you can be more confident while creating the right thing.

Is prototyping right for small businesses?

Even if your business is just starting up and exclusively focusing on a niche market, you will still benefit from prototyping. Prototypes will help your business gain the customer base it needs, and you will be able to direct your time and resources to move one step closer to success.

While prototypes can be applied to all kinds of businesses, digital projects are the easiest. Extensive planning is crucial in traditional projects because changing direction once the project has started can be restrictive. However, in digital projects, experimenting is easy and affordable, and you can always build, test, and improve ideas as you move forward.

10 Steps for successful market testing:

  1. Assign a person in charge: If you are not the person in charge, assign a member with strong management skills to coordinate the product development and delivery process. Ask for an informative schedule and project plan with all steps involved in creating and running the market test.
  2. Work with specialists: Consult an expert to help you simplify the process and avoid costly mistakes.
  3. Make sure to protect your intellectual property before the test run
  4. Create the prototype
  5. Test the product: Identify the essential characteristics of your customers and test those attributes repeatedly.
  6. Run focus groups: Gather feedback and opinion from as many informed people as possible.
  7. Make improvements: Use this opportunity to make changes based on feedback and then retest your product to evaluate your changes.
  8. Industry testing: Try to get feedback on your prototype from industry-related events.
  9. Develop a marketing strategy: Set clear marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics for your market segments.
  10. Develop a marketing plan: Organise and implement the marketing tactics, plan your sales and marketing activities.

You cannot afford not to prototype

You no longer need to miss deadlines and lose opportunities due to a lack of clarity. Prototyping reduces time spent in meetings trying to agree on a direction and resolve misunderstandings, resulting in fewer changes and amendments-associated costs. Don’t rush into a project; start with a prototype, and we guarantee it will save you time and money in the long run.

Why prototyping is essential for a business manager was originally published in Levarne Cloud Software Services on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.