You’re ready to build your product, but how do you make a prototype?

My name is Chanel Lindsay and I’m founder of Ardent. We’ve created a decarboxylation device that helps cannabis patients make accurate medicine and various cannabis products. When you’re moving into the building stage, the first thing you need to do is make a prototype. A prototype helps you shop your idea around to people who would invest in your company and helps you get feedback from your early customers. The prototype is also an incredibly important part of the product-building process.

Identify a Source for Your Base Components

The first thing you need to do when you’re building your prototype is figure out the company that is going to source and provide the base components. So when you’re building a prototype, you’re most likely going to start out buying individual components for your device and then having somebody assemble them or put them together for you. It can be difficult, though, to find your product and the pieces of your product without spending a ton of money. So you really need to make sure that you have a budget for your prototype because it can get very, very expensive when you’re buying small quantities of the particular items you need.

Make sure that you are partnering up with companies that specialize in prototyping or producing small runs. That will help you save costs while you’re moving through the process and will also set you up to have relationships with other vendors. The great thing about the vendors that you’ll go to for your small runs is that they often have relationships with vendors that do large production. This means you’ll be able to move quickly from the prototyping phase into the larger scale production phase.

Set a Generous Budget for Protoyping

Remember that the prototyping phase is going to be hard and it’s going to take a lot longer and cost a lot more than you originally predict, so be prepared. When you’re building your prototyping budget, build in a little bit of extra cushion so that you can make sure that you’re at least able to get to that first proof of concept stage before you run out of money and need to get more.

Movimg into Large-Scale Production

After you’ve built the prototype and the customers see what an awesome product you’ve created, you’re going to get more orders. When you get more orders, you’re going to realize a couple of things. First of all, if you keep making small batches of items, it’s probably going to cost you quite a bit, and while you’ll have more sales, your company really won’t be making any money.

You’ll need to move from making small batches of units into making large batches of units. You’ll move from prototyping into large-scale production. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re moving into large-scale production: whether or not you’re going to own the factory and your production facility or whether you’re going to contract with a facility to produce your goods.

Another big consideration is how many units you’re going to make at a particular time. It is really advisable when you’re moving into full production to still make a kind of small purchase order for the first batch of units, because  there are always things that get lost in translation or need to be updated when you’re moving from doing things in small batches to doing things on a grand scale.