The cart before the horse October 16 2013

the cart before the horse

Like I said before, I do not have a degree in business or entrepreneurship, so everything I learned and did was a direct result of what I thought I should do, not what I knew I should do. My next step was prototypes. I was smart enough to realize that while I was in the prototype stage, I also needed to get manufacturing quotes. And I really thought I was "forward thinking" when I ordered ten prototypes instead of just one. This I will call Big Financial Mistake #1. (Yes, calling it mistake #1 means there are more to come.)

So I paid an engineer friend to do professional CAD drawings in order to start the prototype and quote request process. I originally envisioned the handle as all stainless steel, but I learned instantly that this approach would be way too expensive to manufacture. I wanted it to have a rounded handle to keep it compact, and I thought running metal into the handle would make it attractive and durable. So off I went! Prototypes came along nicely, and I quickly ordered ten with the intent of sending some out as samples to potential buyers. In theory this was perfect. In reality, I should have just started with one and could have saved myself about $3500 if I would have. 

After receiving all of my prototypes and fine tuning my manufacturing quotes, I learned that the tolerance required to perfectly match up the steel and the handle would be almost impossible to maintain in manufacturing. That's right – my ten prototypes were expensive and totally useless. And back to the drawing board I went.

Lesson learned: Never order more than one prototype at a time unless you know – without a doubt – that you have a final design.