A lot of people assume that the product development cycle involves R&D, outsourcing to a Chinese manufacturer, and then selling the finished product. It’s almost ingrained in our heads that once a prototype has been developed, the next step involves a visa and airplane tickets. Here is a guide that will explore a few other options, and why outsourcing may not be appropriate for everyone.
First, let’s talk about goals. We’ll assume you’re not a large company, and that you don’t have a huge budget, and that you’re just getting started with your product and don’t have big volumes; a startup trying to sell a kit or breakout board, or a consumer electronics product. Your goals are the following:
- Validate your product in the market. Build a minimum viable product and get it in the hands of lots of users
- Get the most bang for your limited bucks. All money should go towards getting products out the door
- Reduce risk to your company so that any single failure doesn’t crater the whole operation and you can safely grow.
With that in mind, what are your options?