Should You Build a Prototype First?
I've seen a lot of people who are building their ideas without testing it, and spending a lot on marketing in a hope that people will come to buy it. Some have been successful with this 'Build It and They Will Come' tactic. Then, there are those who build prototypes of their ideas first and share it in popular crowdfunding sites to get supporters/backers. We also see some who have exceeded their funding goals with that approach even if the product is still a work-in-progress.
Which option do you think is better?
Let's say you want to build this fancy mobile app. Gartner predicts that over 268 billion mobile downloads will generate $77 billion this year. It sounds promising if you dream of developing the next shiny app out there. In reality, it can be a mousetrap. Just because you are building a better one doesn't mean the world will knock on your door. You might even get inspired by the Pokémon craze or dream of coming up with the next Facebook.
It can be any product really... so, it's a choice between:1. Build it first and work hard on marketing the final product, or
2. Build a prototype with a few functions and test how people will respond to it, then improve some more before selling it in the market
Both will cost time and money. It's a tough choice, I believe. Thoughts?
@Gaston Thanks for your thoughts too. I guess, it's all about testing the market response until you come up with the product that your customers will love.
I like Derek Sivers' example of the person who wanted to build an app to suggest music to people. Derek suggested he start by simply suggesting music to people. That's a prototype that takes no software whatsoever.
If you want to go one step further, you might try a Wizard of Oz prototype in which your prototype looks like the final automated product, but, in the background, the work is actually done by hand. If people are willing to pay for that, you have the capital to build the real deal. You can build the software and plug it into what you already have making the transition seamless to your users and taking the manual work off your plate.
All that to say, a prototype or some form of customer development is essential. Investing a bunch of time and money into launching a business based on a hunch and then trying to market it to success is a losing battle.
Thanks @Cora Williams for the feedback
Thanks @CurtisMLee that's a smart advice. Thanks @Tom Adams that makes sense too! I think what's tougher is if you have the same budget to spare for both options, then, we're now voting for which one will yield a better product at a faster time... and hit more sales. Business is a gamble, I guess.
Enjoy Summer for now! (Feel free to add more thoughts)
I'm in my interview phase right now, practically forcing myself to not do other things, :D
I thinks you heard about approach for build MVP without coding?
For really first version you could use free account in invision or other tool.
You can build simple interface (few days your time) , buy super simple landing (50 bucks on evanto) for get leads and spend few hundred bucks on fb ads.
For first validation you need only 1-2 weeks, and 200-300 usd. 10-15 test users will be enough
After you move forward with more investment for sure