Starting a Business

How Do I Have a Prototype Built?

I want to build a prototype of my idea, which would resemble an Apple iPod or Microsoft Zune. I'd like to speak with a manufacturer about my idea and have them create a prototype in my vision. How can I find the right manufacturer? What do I need to keep in mind?
Guest Writer
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You'd probably need to get the prototype built before you go to a manufacturer, unless you have a previous relationship with a company who is willing to work with you.

There a lot of opportunities overseas for these types of projects, and you can also find "freelancers" who could take on the project. You can go to elance.com and see how that portal can match your request with people who are willing to take on these types of jobs.

Before you do that, however, my question would be: What's your overall plan for your product? How is it competitively different than products that already exist? Is there a market for it? Who'll buy it?

If it is a viable product, how will you sell it?

These are questions you'll need to answer anyway, even if you found someone to produce your prototype, because you'll need to create a business plan -- not only for yourself, but for any potential investors, banks or even venture capitalists.

Better to sort that out before you start spending valuable time and resources (namely, your money) on making something the market already has, or a startup product that will compete against some of the most established and biggest brands in the world -- both of which also have a couple of the planet's largest marketing budgets.

Related: Creating a Product Prototype
Related: How Do I Design a Prototype?
Related: How Do I Produce a Prototype While Protecting My Idea?

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