This decade would be long remembered for the boom in entrepreneurial activities. If the last decade of the 20th century and the first one of the 21st were all about the development of technology, this one has surely been one where entrepreneurs have turned technology into an enabler and problem solver for the masses. What is also true is that there is intense competition in the entrepreneurial ecosystem where new ‘light bulbs’ are getting lit every day. Entrepreneurs have to fight hard to attract the attention of VCs and Angel Investors. With failure rate high it has become extremely important for entrepreneurs to show the value and potential in their ideas while seeking investments.
In the past most entrepreneurs focussed on developing MVP or minimum viable product while pitching for investments. But the economic slowdown along with the surge in number of start-ups entering the ecosystem has made investors sceptical. They want to get a clear picture before investing their money. This is where it has become important for entrepreneurs to showcase a complete product to raise funds and also identify the shortcomings in their ideas. Most of them have turned towards app and web designing prototyping to address this challenge.
As the name suggests prototyping is the process of building a working model of an app or a website without going through all the stages of developing the actual product. There is now a popular saying in the industry “don’t build it, prototype it fast”. This allows entrepreneurs to play with their ideas and concepts and pitch it to investors and seek vital inputs before building a fully functional application or website. You may be asking yourself – why should you opt for prototyping instead of building the actual product? Let’s walk you through some of the advantages of prototyping and why it is beneficial for entrepreneurs.
We have mentioned this earlier in this piece as raising funds is the most important part of your entrepreneurial journey. You have to sell your vision to the investor to bring in the much needed capital. You need to show them a working model of your app or website and how you are planning to take it to the community. Prototyping lets you display all the macro and micro aspects of your product to the investor. This improves your odds of finding an investor instead of pitching an idea on paper or a presentation.
While you may have a conclusive idea in your mind the same can’t really be said about the UX and UI of your app or website. In most cases you are likely to go in for trial and error or A/B development. It is here that app prototyping tools let you experiment with your idea. You can create mock-ups and test all the micro-features such as navigation, scrolling, gestures etc. to identify what’s cool and what isn’t likely to cut ice with the end users. Prototyping lets you identify the downsides of your app or website and fix them before launching it into the market.
In the past most technology products went through Alpha and Beta testing phases. In a competitive business environment you can’t present a half-baked product to the market and plan to improve upon it based on feedback. It is bad for reputation and can kill the product. With Prototyping you’d kick start the feedback cycle prior to the actual product being developed. The flaws with the product can be identified earlier with this development model and this improves the quality of the product.
It goes without saying that involving the investors into product development refines it. As entrepreneur you’d be short on one count – experience of turning a product into a successful business. This is where the Angels and VCs bring their years of experience to the table. Prototyping allows you to involve the investors into product development. This would make sure that the final product would be in line with the vision that you and your investors want to embody and differentiate it from others existing in the market.
Last but not the least prototyping helps you cut down the development costs. As we have mentioned above you will be able to identify the downsides and fix them at the prototyping stage. It also cuts down the turnaround time from concept to the final product. In short it is better to identify the downsides in a prototype than in the final product.
To sum up prototyping app and websites allows entrepreneurs to launch market-ready apps and website. They help in streamlining the whole development cycle and let you choose the most favourable option among the many you’d test during the UX/UI designing. Finally prototyping validates the market readiness of a product and results in more valuable products.