Hardware startups are nothing like software businesses; they lack the glamour and are expensive, time consuming and laden with several hiccups in manufacturing and supply chains. The field is still raw and there are not many players in the market and those who create the best gaming keyboards are a few. If you are not cautious, you will end up making costly mistakes.

To be successful in this field one must avoid the four costly mistakes stated below. If you are a single player you will be responsible for sourcing, manufacturing and distribution; that is a lot on your plate. It is advisable to have a competent team with duties assigned to each individual.

Lack of clarity in handling the supply chain

As a beginner you are already under a lot of duress but certain things like logistics should not be neglected. You must assign a team player the responsibility of communicating and conveying your requirement to the supply chain. Often miscommunication at this level leads to severe loss for the startup. You can opt to sub contract but there is no guarantee that this will work.

No knowledge on COGS (Cost of Goods Sold)

Invariably all startups make a blunder in the pricing of their new product. As is often the case, they overestimate the demand for their product. Make a note that all hardware components sell only 4x or 5x times the cost of the components used.

The best way to handle this is to open an excel sheet and list down all the items and the prices up to the last dollar. The sheet should include everything right from raw materials, transport, utility bills and any unexpected hikes in prices. This method will help you form a healthy margin that is not foolishly high nor is below cost price.

Not in tune with customer expectations

There are several hardware startup failures like Kreyos, which had failed to live up to its customers expectations. This is a sad story of relations going sour between the manufacturer and the owner; as a result the end product was a failure.

It is important to stay on course and stick to the deadline but NEVER at the cost of the quality of the product. Do not deliver substandard products to customers or you will be history in no time. Always keep your customers updated of any delays in the production. Remember customers may forgive delays but not poor quality products that do not match up to the initial hype.

Select a reliable manufacturer

You will receive offers from several companies to manufacture your product, but do not be hasty. Do not be taken in by the initial offers by the manufacturers. Do your research and ask the online community for recommendation. Collect sufficient quotes before you narrow down on the ideal choice. You must keep in mind your design and the ability of the company to deliver the same.

Once you have the manufacturer ask them to give you a detailed DFM (Design for Manufacturability). At this stage you can make any changes to your design if you deem them necessary based on the DFM.

The time is ripe for starting a hardware startup; just keep the above points in mind and avoid the mistakes to achieve success and profit in your venture.

You can always use easy_install to download and install or upgrade to the latest version from pypi:

easy_install -U Glashammer
Source Code

Alternatively, you can get the source code from version control, instructions are here: Source code.