Abraham Lincoln used 272 words when he wrote The Gettysburg Address. A speech that has been integral to history lessons and quoted countless times. Another speech was given right after this address by keynote speaker Edward Everett. Lincoln’s was only  the dedicatory speech, yet has such renown. A significant difference was Lincoln’s address only took few minutes and Everett’s more than an hour long. Everett later wrote to Lincoln, “I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”  Simple things sometimes have the greatest influence.

A Minimum Viable Product is one of those simple things. It can benefit both startups and established businesses when trying to get product to market. This product is your first version, or your prototype, and has just the core features necessary to make it work. It sounds simple, but it can be difficult to strip down the bells and whistles of your product to just the bare minimum. Once here, ask yourself these questions- Does my product solve a problem? Does it function well? Will people use it?

Some successful businesses I have seen thoroughly understand how to apply constraints to their own products and concentrate on simplifying the process. They see adding every possible feature can sometimes complicate the manufacturing process. That is the last thing you want. As you create your Minimum Viable Product, begin with the end in mind. Streamlining this process will help speed up production and prevent unnecessary back and forth.

The best approach we at Blacksmith have seen involves starting with a simple idea or need, and slowly creating the best product from feedback. Start with your Minimum Viable Product, nail down the details, then proceed to further develop your product. Remember, continued development isn’t always about adding, it’s about improving.

Here are some production tips to keep in mind when developing your Minimum Viable Product.

Research readily available materials

When looking to make your product, do your research on different materials. The material you want may be very expensive or difficult to find. Consider looking for suitable materials that might be more readily available.

Prototyping and Tech Packs

Starting with a detailed Tech Pack can save you a significant amount of time. The Tech Pack will provide a clear blueprint for manufacturing the product. We highly recommend you produce a Prototype to accompany the Tech Pack. Prototyping insures there is no confusion about form or function of your product. Taking the time to make a Tech Pack and create a Prototype in the beginning will save you time, money, and unnecessary headaches down the road.

Deadlines and Time-frames

When beginning a new project or moving an existing one to manufacturing, give yourself plenty of time. Whether you are making products overseas or constructing them yourself, allowing adequate time will save frustrations and errors. Manufacturing has countless variables and needs a flexible timeline. Delays and unforeseen occurrences can be out of your control, but with patience, diligence and support, we can get through this.

Understanding these strategies will put you on a path to a successful manufacturing experience.