A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Product Manufacturing

There are around 30 million small businesses in the US. One of the best ways to differentiate yours is to have a great product idea.

You may have explored sourcing products but found they don’t meet your needs. Manufacturing is the only way to create the exact products you want.

Yet it can be a daunting prospect to figure out how you’ll go about manufacturing a product.

That’s why you need this guide. Read on to learn more about product manufacturing for your small business.

Will You Make Yourself or Find a Factory?

Your first decision is if you’ll make products yourself or find a factory. It depends on what you’re going to make and the quantities you’re going to need. You may also need more equipment and storage space to handle production.

Working with a factory can solve some of these issues. They already have the capacity, expertise, and technical know-how to make your products. Speed and efficiency are just two more benefits.

Keep in mind that domestic manufacture may give you higher quality products. Yet they may also cost more to make.

That said, international manufacture may be cheaper per unit, but shipping takes longer. Customers may also notice a difference in quality.

Find Your Manufacturer

Next, you need to find a manufacturer. Gather referrals and recommendations from other small business owners. Facebook groups or business forums can be helpful here.

Otherwise, check Google and online directories.

Once you’ve found a list of potential manufacturers, you can approach them. Ask them questions to make sure they’re a good fit.

For example, find out if they have a minimum quantity for orders. Check how much they charge for samples. Ask if they discount their pricing if you order in bulk.

If a manufacturer’s minimum order quantity is more than you’d like, see if you can negotiate. Find out why that’s their minimum before you ask.

Review the answers you get from your chosen companies. If they fit your needs, then you can ask them for a quote. 

Get Prepared for Production

Before you send designs to your chosen manufacturer, make sure they’re protected. Are your products worthy of a trademark? If so, get one.

Consider using a non-disclosure agreement. That makes sure your manufacturer can’t share your designs with others.

Once you have these in place, you’re almost ready! Create a specification sheet that details every aspect of your product. If you have prototypes or CAD designs, send those to your factory.

At this point, you can work with your manufacturer to start production. Check your samples to make sure they’re what you want before you authorize a full production run.

Then prepare yourself to start selling!

Product Manufacturing Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Product manufacturing can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. Yet it offers a great opportunity to create ‘must-have’ products for your customers.

Find the right manufacturer and they’ll become a trusted partner in your process. Soon you’ll start planning the next product range to add to your business.

Keen for more tips and advice? Check out our business articles for more great guides.