We’ve all heard – many start-ups fail, let alone hardware start-ups, which are harder yet. So why even try? Well, if you are addressing a real problem – someone has to do it. Well, that and taking a product to market can be extremely lucrative.

So why do people give generic advice like “passion will get you through the hard times” and “persevere in the face of hardship” – well, it’s because tangible advice is long-winded, boring, and often relegated to libraries and university courses.

But today, we will talk about some tangible and focused advice for product development. Let us look at five common hardware product development mistakes, along with strategies that could help you in the development process.

1.     Unforeseen Product Development Costs – Sometimes, it so happens that despite having a good projection plan with a well-defined scope and set of requirements, product design & engineering teams face deviations, roadblocks, or unforeseen challenges that lead to additional development expenses. This could result from decisions made along the development process so far or design issues that were overlooked.

These are easier (read: cheaper) to deal with when they arise earlier in the development cycle; however, early changes can lead to significant deviations in the end product – make sure to check how this affects your original scope and don’t lose track of your target. However, don’t be too stringent with your initial plan – things change. Dealing with challenges effectively early on can mean some added costs but often far less than putting off issues or leaning on a band aid solution until later in the process.

Having a strong product development team is a blessing as they will be able to forecast unique and uncommon issues – and plan/budget for them.

2.     Over Designing a Product – Having an unclear end-goal for your product can mean either too many features or an ever-improving design. Yes, your product could probably be better – most, if not all, products can be.

Don’t let this happen to you – create a clear set of requirements and scope. With a clear target, you will know when your product is ready for launch. There will always be time for future versions; if it is a good product, customers will expect a version 2.0!

3.     Missing Deadlines – Failure to stay on your project schedule can happen for many different reasons: underestimating project complexity (overestimating the team), over-ambitious timelines, scope changes, unexpected results (analysis, testing, etc.), and a slew of uncontrollable reasons (Covid-19 being a perfect example).

An experienced development team will include time for review and iterations in the project plan. Hurdles in the product development process are to be expected but should not catch you off-guard.

4.     Not Using Feedback Effectively – This is a significant topic and has been discussed from many perspectives, including minimum viable product (MVP), iterating quickly, lean product development, fail fast and often fail, launching early, having an embarrassing MVP, etc. Yes – your idea might be great, but you need to make data-driven decisions in transforming your idea into a market-ready solution.

Put your product in the hands of real people (ideally people you don’t know, so they don’t give you a biased response) and get their feedback. The feedback is your data; use it to make your product better.

5.     Trying to Do Everything Yourself – Consider how much learning and time it takes for a team to be confident at what they do. Is learning something new the best use of their time? This happens to founders and entrepreneurs that are hyper focused on getting things done. They are often effective, but at what price – could it have been done faster/better/cheaper by someone else? Whether it is someone on your team, a freelancer, or a design firm, it is important to be realistic. Just because you can, does not mean you should.

Keep in Mind

There are many hurdles in the product development process – these are five common mistakes anyone taking a product to market should be aware of. Depending on the product, these challenges will change in significance and priority.

If you aren’t confident identifying and addressing these issues, reach out to someone that is.

About the Author

Ventrify is a product design and manufacturing firm that helps entrepreneurs bring product ideas from concept to market. We take in fledgling ideas and bring them through our iterative design process to create products our clients can be proud of. Then, we work with manufacturing facilities worldwide to bring our clients the highest quality products at competitive prices.

If you have questions or unsure about addressing these issues, reach out to us through our Website, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

How Did You Get Here?

Whether you intentionally made the decision or simply had a great idea and now find yourself on the journey, starting a company is a big step.

You may be excited about the flexibility it will bring. Or answering to no one but yourself. There are many reasons why you should, or shouldn’t proceed, but the mentality you have going into this journey is critical.


There are many challenges to overcome, but today we are going to discuss the mindset – the mental framework you have – when setting out on this journey. We will look at 2 sides of a scale – The Lean Startup and The Field of Dreams. Depending on who you talk to, you are going to have very different answers on how to pursue your adventure. But first – what are they?

Field of Dreams

The Field of Dreams mentality says, “if you build it, they will come.” If you have an idea to solve a problem, there are other people out there experiencing this same problem and they are going to want your solution. Whether you are a programmer coming up with a genius piece of code, a tradesperson that has put together a game-changing prototype, or a researcher that has found ground-breaking formula – if you have a good product, there are people out there that will find you.

Why & Who

This approach is often taken on by the most innovative people – they believe in what they are doing and are consumed by their solution. It is often someone doing groundbreaking research or someone that is truly passionate about a solution. The Field of Dreams mentality helps these people leave their jobs, and pursue an amazing opportunity.

The logic behind this mentality makes sense, to a degree. If you have something interesting, people will naturally hear about it and be, well, interested. If you have the cure to cancer, the people will find you. If you have the solution to procrastination, you will be rich. In marketing, this refers to a product-focused market and simplified greatly, comes down to what is “interesting.” Does interesting mean it’s different? Does it mean it’s better?

Lean Startup

The Lean startup is another approach, and caters to a customer-focused market. The Lean Startup mentality says, our assumptions about our solution are often wrong. And the way to deal with this is to take an iterative, experiment-based approach to validate these ideas. Rather than focusing on the product, the lean startup methodology looks to test the market as quickly as possible.

Why & Who

This mentality is held by a lot of entrepreneurial minded individuals. Testing assumptions as a scientific hypothesis, they gather data, analyze, and make decisions based on the conclusions. This type of person is often seen as opportunistic, but often needs to recognize opportunities far before they are acknowledged by the early majority.

The logic behind this consumer-focused market makes sense as well. There are a lot of products/services out there, so for yours to succeed, it needs to fill a gap in the marketplace. This type of person claims that if you have the cure to cancer, people will not come to you “because you have discovered and created a fantastic product,” they will come to you because “they have cancer and no one else has the cure for cancer.”

So Which is Better?

This is a polarized argument, and the truth is people must understand the necessity for both sides. You need market pull regardless of how great your product is – but if your product is truly great, the people will come!

It comes down to the market you are servicing. With early stage markets that are still developing, the Field of Dreams approach makes sense. Think medications to terminal diseases: Chemotherapy has a mediocre chance of cancer mitigation but comes with a slew of terrible side effects on top of being extremely expensive – people still line up to do it.

What about over serviced or mature markets like T-shirt sales. If you make a T-shirt that is not unique and servicing a very specific need, it is extremely difficult to beat out the market leaders in price and quality.

Our Recommendation

Both approaches have their space, but with globalization making products and services available across larger geographical areas, we are moving towards a consumer-focused market. If consumers don’t like what is available locally, they’ll often find something online that is better suited to their needs. As markets mature, and the world becomes ever more connected, the Lean Startup methodology becomes more prevalent.

As such it is important to understand the market you are entering before you found your business.

About the Author

Ventrify is a product design and manufacture firm that helps entrepreneurs bring product ideas from concept to market. We take in fledgling ideas and bring them through our iterative design process to create products our clients can be proud of. Then, we work with manufacturing facilities across the world to bring our clients the highest quality products at competitive prices.

If you have questions about taking your product through the manufacture phase, connect with us through FacebookLinkedIn, or our Website.