Manufacturing – A Beginner’s Guide to Making Your Own Products
Coming up with a product that you think will sell is only half the battle for a startup. The second half of the battle is actually manufacturing it. If you’re not able to buy wholesale or dropship, then you’re going to have to make the product yourself. But where on earth do you start when it comes to manufacturing?! It might seem like a minefield right now, but our beginner’s guide is going to show you exactly how to manufacture your own product.
First of all, you need to make sure that your idea has been tested. Have you done your market research? Do you know if it’s worth investing time and money in? If you haven’t put together a business plan yet, now is the time to do so! Make sure you include the market research within your plan and a detailed explanation of your idea. You’re also going to want to draw up your product, with as much detail as possible. What is it going to be made of? What are all the different components? You don’t need to be an engineer or artist, but include as much as you can.
Next up, you need to create a prototype for your new product. This doesn’t need to be a working product, it can simply be a 3D model of your idea. There are two options when it comes to making a prototype. The first one is to make something yourself which is the least expensive way to do things. It can be pretty basic and use materials you find around the home; as long as it shows what it should look like and how it would work.
The second option is to find someone to manufacture the prototype for you. There are professional prototype developer and designers, who can help bring your idea to life. 3D printers may also be an avenue you want to investigate, as it has become increasingly popular and more cost effective. If you decide to go down the professional route, making your own rudimentary prototype by hand could be a good starting point to show the developers.
Finding a Manufacturer in the UK
So, you now have a working prototype that you can show to potential manufacturers. Your next step? Finding a manufacturer you want to work with. There are plenty of ways you can do this, depending on the product you are making and where you want to make it. If you want to make something in the UK then you’ll want to look for domestic manufacturers. A simple online search of your industry and manufacturer or factory should bring up a list of options available in the country; be prepared to travel, however! You can also try directories such as Free Index to search for potential manufacturers.
Finding a Manufacturer Overseas
If you opt for the overseas route then it can be a little more difficult. Especially when it comes to communicating exactly what you want! Of course, getting a product manufactured overseas can work out cheaper in the long run. Look at a site such as Global Market to find a list of manufacturers and suppliers from across the globe. Then arrange a meeting – this is a vital step! Don’t assume you’ll be able to organise it all from the comfort of your living room. Meet up with the manufacturer where possible, to show your prototype and discuss your idea.
Manufacturing Your Product
Once you have found your manufacturer, it’s a good idea to invest in a trial run of products first. You don’t want to order 10,000 coffee cups only to find out they get a hole in the bottom when they’re hot. Ask your manufacturer for a few samples that can be put through their paces. You may also need to ask for outside testing, particularly with something like an electrical product. You need to make sure your product is safe, before manufacturing more of them! If you find any issues then feed this back to the manufacturer and ask them to resolve it. Keep testing the product until it’s up to scratch!
You can now order as many new products as you like, but be careful! Make sure you have some interest and potential orders before forking out for thousands of a product that might not sell. While manufacturing may be another hurdle in the life of your startup, the next challenge you’re going to come across is selling…