Software as a service (SaaS) startups are everywhere, but what about hardware? If you’ve come up with an innovative hardware idea, whether it’s aimed at individuals or companies, then you’ll need to make sure that you know how to move fast to get your idea off the ground. Making a hardware company just as lean as a successful SaaS startup is often an entirely new experience for even experienced entrepreneurs, so we’ve put together some top tips to help you jumpstart your brand.
#1. Lean Startup Rules Still Apply:
The rules and guidelines applicable to lean startups still apply for hardware companies. Begin with making the easiest and quickest prototype of your hardware product and get user feedback on it at the earliest opportunity. Once you have got the type of feedback you are looking for and can prove that you are on the right path, you should iterate as quickly as possible.
#2. Use Reference Designs:
Sticking to reference designs means that you’ll be able to avoid issues with hardware bugs much easier. You can expect every good manufacturer to release documentation with their ICs containing a section that includes a reference design. This will give you an idea of all the other components that you will need in order to support the IC. It’s best to stick as close to that design as possible. You can find community uploaded hardware designs and more at Upverter that you may find useful. The ability to use open source can dramatically improve both learning and productivity, as most software developers will know. And, the same applies to open source hardware, which is becoming increasingly more popular. You can adapt the designs for your device saving both time and money.
#3. Get Validation Online:
Driving traffic to the website for your hardware product is essential for gaining early awareness of your brand and validation of your product. It’s important that you are able to put the value of your product across successfully with words and describe it in such a way that compels the user to learn more and try it out. Adding other interactive elements to your website such as a device simulator, a demonstration, or simply a video of it in action can help you give users a clearer picture on what to expect and earn valuable insight.
#4. Use Crowdfunding:
For the past few years, crowdfunding has been completely revolutionizing the world of startups, particularly when it comes to hardware companies. It allows businesses to not only eliminate the need for startup inventory but also gauge interest in the brand and provide valuable data to use for improving the product. Bear in mind that crowdfunding these days isn’t so much a means of making money on your finished product, but rather to get a better idea of how many people will buy it and who they are, plus how many people wouldn’t buy it and why.
If you’re developing a hardware product, these ideas will help you keep overheads to a minimum and get your device in front of potential customers as quickly as possible.