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The complete guide on how to find a manufacturer for your product idea

a bunch of colourful fabric roll storage in rack from a manufacturer to use product idea
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To start a business, first, you need an idea. The moment that you get this, you need to set out a plan about how to find a manufacturer for your product. Before you find a manufacturer for your product, you will need to have developed the idea up to a certain stage. And developing it involves a lot of essential elements. This post teaches you all you need to know about turning your ideas into products and how to locate manufacturers.

1 – You need a solid and marketable idea

People often think, “How can I get a product made?” Your product begins with a simple idea.

This idea has to be a solid and marketable item that will help create a solution in its chosen market.

Before money and time get invested in your product.

You will want to make sure that it is something that can generate enough revenue to cover up its initial investment.

Anything you sell should help solve a unique problem.

Additionally, it should also have a unique and distinguishing factor from other similar items in the market.

You should conduct a competitive analysis to see how it measures up against other similar offerings in the market.

To stand out pretty much, you should think of your customers or end-users as unique people who deserve something exceptional from what you are selling.

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Before you think to yourself, “Who will manufacture my product?

You should develop it to the point that it can be sold.

2 – Carry out some research

If you need to find a manufacturer for your product, conducting research is a very good strategy and path of the right step to getting a suitable one.

Whether you have been producing the goods yourself for a while or you are creating one from scratch.

You need an extensive level of research to get the right information on the proper path to find a reliable manufacturer.

Two people are speaking about the current demand for their finding a manufacturer for a product

Try checking if this demand has changed with time, or if there is a new demand.

You can discuss with people in the industry to get some valuable insights from their experience.

Ask to check if people will buy what you are offering.

Furthermore, you should ask yourself why should they buy it and at what price should they buy it?

Moreover, there is a great research tool that most new brands use to find a manufacturer.

They usually check shows or exhibitions where similar items are being displayed.

For instance, you choose to create your beauty brand, it will be great to find beauty or cosmetic expo or exhibition.

This allows you to meet important players in the industry like key manufacturers, distributors, market influencers, industry experts, and potential customers.

Attending a single event hosted by the industry stakeholders will certainly get your idea off the ground and help you move to the next level.

3 – Deciding on whether to license

After researching the market appeal of your idea, you would want to decide on the licensing for your idea.

This stage involves deciding on whether to make and sell them on your own.

Or whether to grant the license to another company with the capacity and resources to handle the entire supply chain of your goods.

If they were to cover up your entire supply chain, this means that you give them the license to manufacture, market, and distribute it.

They can then pay your royalties for products that have been sold.

When you license or outsource the entire production and selling of your goods, you do not need any upfront investment.

If you are thinking of licensing your goods to a third-party company.

Then you are not alone as lots of major corporations license out their ideas to companies.

With the leverage and capacity to make more revenue from their goods and services.

4 – Plan on protecting your idea

While you hope to find a manufacturer for your product, you need to have your idea protected at first.

Your idea at this stage of infancy is still at the developmental stages.

This makes it more prone to getting stolen by your competitors.

This means that you will need to create an NDA or a non-disclosure agreement before you bring in larger enterprises and more people to the production process.

The NDA is technically a trade agreement or a legally binding obligation that prevents other organizations from stealing your idea.

It provides you with a degree of legal protection and bars other organizations from stealing the idea and making it theirs.

Most creative entrepreneurs consider this intellectual property law as the center of their evolving businesses.

They usually consider different options to help protect their ideas.

To do this, you will need to consult an IP lawyer.

The lawyer will help you look into patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

He might even explain the benefits of the intellectual property law to your business.

You will need to ask yourself if anyone can copy your business designs.

Protection plan

You will also consider trademarking your business logo or brand name to avoid it from being copied and registered first by somebody else.

5 – Prepare a prototype for your product

A prototype is a developed model of an item like an idea that is meant to be sold or used.

First-hand idea with some papers and tools for that

A prototype is often a useful tool to find the manufacturer easily and quickly.

If they like the look and feel of things, then you get signed on at the spot by a good manufacturer.

Furthermore, the prototype which is usually cheaper to produce can be used to gauge the interest of buyers.

Since it is pretty much the first draft, you do not expect it to be perfect.

You could miss out on numerous opportunities if you try to perfect your idea instead of developing them into a prototype.

Prototyping can be used to get constructive feedback from potential partners.

There are different programs like AutoCAD that can help you create simulated versions of your product.

How to find a manufacturer for your product?

It is crucial to find a manufacturer for your product that will work with you for the long-term.

Before you set out to find a manufacturer for your product, you should check if you need to produce overseas or domestically.

Where to find a manufacturer for your product depends on your budget and preferences.

There are resources for cheap manufacturing facilities as well as that for the big boys.

Each of these will have its benefits and drawbacks.

You need to think about whether you will like to have control of things as the product is being produced.

You need to know that when you produce locally or domestically, you will be able to visit the site of production.

Factory's logo to monitor the production process.

This might not be possible if your manufacturer were located overseas.

On the other hand

Most international manufacturers usually offer lower prices, but then again, if you are looking to go international, you will have to consider timing, taxes, and other customs duties.

You need to consider certain international factors that can lead to delays and negatively affect the sales of your product.

You could try contacting viable international manufacturers through your local business and economic development agency.

One more great resource when to find a manufacturer is to contact small business networks of your industry in your locality.

These are the organizations with the most useful resources to help you find a manufacturer.

You could get referrals from other business owners through online forums and social media.

This is usually an excellent starting point plus a good way of getting useful feedback about certain suppliers that you have been considering.

Industry experts recommend that to find manufacturers and suppliers, you check useful directories like Oberlo, Alibaba, Kompass, MFG, Maker’s Row, and ThomasNet.

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These are some of the greatest resources that you can begin with when finding suppliers and manufacturers.

They have the tools to help filter and be able to find a manufacturer for your product.

People looking to source for suppliers and manufacturers for their business from the Asian market can use the Shopify business guide on how to source from Alibaba.

Then, in the final analysis, you may want to link up with the local association of your business niche.

You could check the carpentry association of your furniture and woodworking businesses.

The local chapters are usually connected to the national branches.

Both of these resources are enough to help you find a manufacturer for your product.

Selecting manufacturers:

Once you find a manufacturer for your product, you may begin to narrow down the options on your list.

Now to do this, you will have to compare production processes, timelines, and prices.

There are several key questions you need to ask yourself like what minimum order of quantity does this manufacturer for supplier use.

Percent logo for selecting manufacturers with the best offer

You will need to know their turn around time.

Furthermore, you need to try and get their available payment channels.

This is the right time to also prepare a checklist for quality control to help set the acceptable levels for your items.

Here you could include such unwanted elements as unacceptable significant delays in shipment or minor flaws in your products.

Make sure to set terms and conditions to help guide you at times when there are liabilities like late shipments and defective items.

When you are done ticking all the right boxes for your chosen manufacturer and supplier, you can go ahead and contact the suppliers.

Do not hold back when trying to contact the supplier.

Differences between domestic and overseas suppliers

Now, depending on where you are in the world, you could be thinking of a domestic or an overseas supplier for your goods.

This analogy will be limited to both the American/European markets and the Asian Market.

If you are somewhere in South America, Africa, or the Middle East then both markets act as overseas options for you.

But, within this context, you can still choose which one is best for your products by way of comparing their benefits and drawbacks.

Most markets in the western world are located in either the US, Canada, or Europe, while those of Asian markets include India, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

It is often less expensive to source for producers in Asian markets which are usually called overseas markets.

However, there are other decisions you need to consider instead of unit costs and upfront investment.

We will go ahead to compare both the western and the eastern markets to give you a rough sketch of their Industry.

The western market – The USA, Canada, and most parts of EuropeBenefits

Benefits:

  • High-grade labor standards lead to high manufacturing quality.
  • There are no language barriers which means that communicating is easier.
  • You get good market appeal if your goods are made in North America and major European countries like England, Germany, Italy, Finland, Switzerland and so on.
  • You could easily check and verify trustworthy suppliers.
  • Shipping time is fast.
  • They help protect your intellectual property rights.
  • You get excellent payment security.

Drawbacks:

  • Higher costs to manufacture your goods.
  • You get to choose from fewer manufacturers since most goods are no longer made in North America and Europe.

The Eastern Market – China, and most of eastern Europe and lower Asia.

Benefits:

  • You get minimal manufacturing costs.
  • Numerous available suppliers to select from.
  • You can use services like Alibaba to help choose among suppliers.

Drawbacks:

  • Customers usually perceive Asian goods to be of lower quality.
  • Usually has lower labor standards which leads to lower quality goods.
  • Minimal protection of intellectual property.
  • Difficulty in navigating the time zone, communication, and language barriers.
  • Costly and difficult to visit and verify manufacturing sites.
  • Shipping takes a longer time.
  • There are lots of cultural variances that affect the way business is done.
  • You need customer clearance to clear the imported goods.
  • Lower payment security.

Risks to be aware of when choosing a supplier:

The moment that you find a manufacturer for your product, you will want your goods to be delivered to the market as fast as is possible.

Then again, you need to ensure that the business with which you are work reflects both the goals and values of your business.

Before you get into a manufacturing agreement, you will need to consider the following potential risks.

Avoiding companies with poor labor practices

Though in more professional markets where competition is tough, it is not easy to see a company with poor labor standards.

However, you may still want to guard against this unruly practice.

If you have a high-level labor practice, then it is natural that you would want to extend this to your manufacturer.

When you fail to check their labor practices, this could lead to a PR problem for the company which may eventually diminish the sales of your goods.

Since this could result in perceived risks you may want to choose your company carefully.

See how well they compensate their workers, check to see if they have safe working conditions, and also ensure check that they obey existing business regulations.

Protect your business against fraud

In trying to look for low manufacturing costs, you might venture into a territory where there are fraudsters.

We have numerous affordable manufacturing facilities in countries with rampant corruption, so you might want to do your homework based on this.

You can decide to inspect the finances of your potential partners and see if you can get references from their various partners.

When you look for only professional manufacturing companies and conduct audits regularly.

You can see whether your partnering supplier can be trusted or not.

Theft of intellectual property

The intellectual property of your business is central to your existence.

This is what makes your goods and services and make you stand out from other competitors.

Unfortunately, we have incidences of other foreign companies that are using the IP’s of other companies improperly.

There are different ways to guard against this.

Things to look out for when choosing a supplier:

Demonstration of experience and knowledge

You should find a manufacturer for your product that can answer all the questions you have and help guide you throughout the whole process.

The company should be able to influence the supply chain by optimizing its resources.

For instance, if you make foodstuffs, the company should be able to recommend an exceptional food chemist for your business.

Likewise, if you were in the clothing industry, they should advise on material sourcing.

Technical capabilities

By technical capabilities, we mean that the factory should have some experience in producing goods that are similar to yours.

This means that they are familiar with your chosen market and know some of the best practices for success.

Reputation

It is important to get a trustworthy manufacturing company.

Do they help major retailers and brands to produce their goods?

Does the company have any regulatory infractions or fines?

If you have chosen an overseas manufacturer, you need to know its labor practices, plus the rate of labour turnover.

Monitoring the quality of your goods

This is one of the drawbacks of seeking an overseas manufacturer.

If you have your local manufacturer within miles of your location, then you can check in on the quality of goods from time to time.

However, if your goods are being produced from a different part of the world, then you are going to run into problems with logistics.

When the quality of the goods deviates from your agreed standards, this can cause lots of problems.

If you are in Africa and your suppliers are either in North America, Europe, or Asia, you may want to keep an eye on quality control.

Numerous entrepreneurs have suppliers in China or Turkey.

And keeping an eye on quality can be a tough problem when you are in Africa.

It can become pretty expensive to visit a manufacturer that is far away from your business location.

There are lots of logistical challenges that come with manufacturing your product overseas especially in China and other Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

This is as a huge number of factories in the US have closed within the last decade.

Additionally, it can be difficult for a North American manufacturer to get their plants to suit your specification.

But in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, you can get companies who would readapt their operations to fit your standards.

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