You have a great idea about a hardware device that can solve a problem that many people have, but you don’t have the budget or the expertise required to build the product – so where do you start?
This is a common problem that a lot of hardware startup founders have: lack of resources to test out their hypothesis. Whether it is not having enough time, money, or talent – entrepreneurs often have to be creative and learn to be scrappy with the limited resources they have to build their product.
The key to achieve product market fit as a startup is to run many lean experiments, apply the learnings, and rapidly iterate the product development cycle. However, it is harder to be lean when you are building a physical hardware product. Building hardware is a more complex process than software development, and you can’t just release a new software update to fix a hardware problem. Therefore, knowing how to build a good hardware MVP (minimum viable product) is essential to a hardware startup’s success.
We spoke with Akarsh Vinod, founder of Dio, to learn about how he developed his hardware MVP. Dio makes simple and affordable multi-room speakers that aim to make listening to audio easy and convenient.
There’s a stark difference between software and hardware development and why people say dealing with hardware is hard. Not only is it more costly to achieve product market fit, but the hardware development process can take 4x longer than that of software development.
With software development, you can start coding immediately on your laptop after downloading the necessary applications. In contrast, the hardware development process requires coding the system, determining which components to purchase, connecting these components, and ensuring that the code runs correctly on these devices. On top of that, even if you were to determine which components to use, ordering parts can take weeks to months.
If you’re looking to start your own company, it’s important to spend your time wisely – because time is money when it comes to running a business.
For starters, if you’re focused on building or leading the direction of your product, you can conduct a copious amount of market research to understand the lay of the land. However, without speaking to users, you will likely fall into the trap that many startups face: developing a product that doesn’t fulfill an actual need.