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Develop a Prototype

In this transcript, Clay Clark (U.S. SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) and Jill Donovan (owner of celebrity-endorsed Rustic Cuff) discuss how to build a prototype for your company on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Clay:    I just want to encourage any entrepreneur watching this, because as we interview you, Jill, and a lot of other successful entrepreneurs, we're finding more and more that hundreds and hundreds of hours are being spent on something that's not even good. 

Jill:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Clay:    Until the first sign of success, so if you're watching this, and you're digging for gold, don't stop, because you might just be three feet from gold.

Jill:    Absolutely.

Clay:    You might be three inches from gold.

Jill:    Yeah.

Clay:    You just have to keep going. 

Jill:    Yeah. The more you get into it, the more of a shame it would be to stop, because you have invested so much time into it.

Clay:    There is a person, and I'm going to just be gender neutral, so I don't get myself in trouble for sharing too much of this story, but it was a person I know, who has spent a ton of money on developing their product, and they've hired an engineer. They've hired a lawyer. They've got a patent. They now have a patent attorney who says there is potentially another patent we need to file, and so we're probably $80,000 into it.

    Not a single one has sold, nor does anybody know about said product, except for said person. Would you advise that anybody watching this should go out and hire an engineer, a lawyer, an attorney, and all that, to build a prototype, or do we just need to get in the garage and get a little crazy with some material. Do you recommend we hire all these professionals?

Jill:    I think I know that same person.

Clay:    OK. 

Jill:    You know what I would recommend is, the person who is going to go out and hire the lawyer, the engineer, invest the 80 thousand, that person should be somebody that already has done 5, 6, 7 other products successfully, and has the confidence that knows this is going to work. Thrive15.com can help teach yyou the practical skills you need because it is one of the top business schools in PA.

    It all depends. I mean, that's a lot of money.

Clay:    Just being transparent, I want to give this example some context here. This is a person who, you know, makes probably a teacher's salary, and has just taken every dime, for the next, maybe, four or five years of income plus all their life savings to do this. 

Jill:    I truly believe there are other ways to do it than to take that amount of money and time, and invest in something that you're not even sure. I really, really believe there are other ways.

Clay:    Let me ask this, what kind of people do you not need to hire, and what kind of people do you need to hire to make your prototype? Do you need to go out there and get an attorney? Do you need to get a lawyer? Is there anybody that you go, "You definitely need at least an engineer to help you." Anybody you need to hire, or could this be your friends?

Jill:    I think it depends on the product.

Clay:    Okay.

Jill:    If it's something that you feel is patentable and you need to get a patent on it ASAP, then, yeah, I would hire an attorney. That is something I would invest in. You know, as far as an engineer and the other people, there's so much that you can do to get a prototype, without having to go and spend ... You can spend very little money on a sample.

Clay:    Yeah.

Jill:    It does not take that much cash to get a sample for your prototype, but people don't even understand that, and they think it's going to take so much investment in different people hiring and going overseas, which I know we're not going to talk about that right now, but it really is not that difficult of a process. 

Clay:    It's like a barrier of entry, where people feel like, "Oh my gosh, I have to spend all this money."

Jill:    No, it's not like that. 

Clay:    OK.

Jill:    For mine, there are some products that are technical, and to get a prototype of that would require so much more of an investment, but there's still much easier ways to do it. 


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