Not knowing how to start a manufacturing business might be the only thing standing between you and your dream career. Do you have an idea, a plan, a dream but have no idea how to get started?
I think every entrepreneur, ever, has faced that same roadblock and most successful business owners will advise you to “just start… just jump in with both feet and go for it.” With that said, it’s still a question of where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide — to help you get started, one step at a time.
Whether you have an idea for a better mousetrap, a new organic face cream, or a line of sustainable bamboo products, this article with guide you, step-by-step, through the basics of how to start a manufacturing business.
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How to Start a Manufacturing Business in 7 Steps
Yes, starting a manufacturing business can be boiled down to seven steps. Of course, you’ll want to dive deeper and learn more but this is an excellent place to start.
1. Do market research
Knowing how to start a manufacturing business is all about knowing what the market needs and how you can deliver that. And every successful manufacturing company has to start with some market research. This is when you start learning about the manufacturing sector and the industry as a whole.
If you don’t know what you’ll be making yet, but you have an area of interest, i.e. you want to make something related to kayaking but you don’t know what yet, or you want to work with wood, but you’re not sure what you want to make, this is where you’re going to be spending most of your time in the process.
During this phase, you’ll want to find any gaps in the market. This means a missing product or service that customers have a clear need for which you could, or can, provide. Sometimes this even means a product that they don’t know they need yet, but they’ll need it when they see it — think of any invention, ever.
You’ll also start learning about how different manufacturing companies operate. Where and how they advertise and market their business. Problems or setbacks they’ve encountered (and potentially how you can avoid them). And likely you’ll find a great deal of other information — expected or not — that other manufacturers share via their online marketing channels.
2. Determine your niche and business idea
A niche is the category or industry that you’ll be set up in.
During step one, you should have figured out what you’re going to make. And hopefully, you now know what niche your product is going to fall into. For example, making and selling kayak paddles would land you in the kayaking niche. And, your business idea is that you’ll make and selling kayak paddles.
During this stage, you’ll determine a few things:
- What you are making
- Who you are making it for
- Why they should pick your product
- Where you are making and selling your items
If you’re creating a product that already exists on the market, now is the time to figure out what makes yours special. Is it less expensive? Does it have more features? Is it higher-quality? Does it introduce a new-age solution to an older product?
What is the best manufacturing business to start?
The best manufacturing business has a large demand, small entrance cost, and good room for margins. This usually translates to consumer goods.
Some examples are appliances, utensils, phone cases, clothing, and beauty care. In any of these niches, you have an already-massive customer base. You just need a way to stand apart from the competition.
Which manufacturing business is most profitable?
Profitability has to do with two factors: the margin between what it costs you to make and what you can sell it for, and how many people are looking to buy your item.
If you draw a Venn diagram of these two factors, the middle section is what you’re looking for. Looking at the largest manufacturers in the US, you’ll find a lot of clothing, appliance, furniture, and natural products being made.
These items typically have a lot of room for profit and a large market.
3. Pick a name and create a logo
Now it’s time to start legitimizing your business. When it comes to manufacturer branding, your name and your logo are going to be part of what defines you. In the world of business, together, your name and logo make your dream venture into a “real business” — it authenticates you.
Your name should be easy to pronounce and easily readable. Your logo should stand out with simplicity and perhaps creativity. Your logo and name don’t have to directly relate to your business, but it will work better for brand awareness if they do.
4. Write a business plan
If you want to move on to the next steps of how to start a manufacturing business, you need a business plan. This essentially tells people what you’re going to do and how. And it includes a good amount of information.
If this is your first business plan, using this guide for making a business plan could help.
5. Fund your manufacturing business
You’re almost ready to go, you’re just missing something: money. In the world of manufacturing, you’re not going anywhere without funding. Even if your items are low-cost and don’t take a lot of money to get started, you still need funding to get off the ground.
Through your business plan, you should have determined, roughly, how much money you need to start your manufacturing company. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to get funding for your business — savings, family or friends, a bank, or even crowdfunding.
How much does it cost to start a manufacturing company?
Getting money to fund your manufacturing business comes with a lot of variants. The costs depend on your market, product, and scale that you want to get started with.
If you’re going to manufacture candles, you can start a small-scale operation for just a few hundred dollars. If you’re getting into custom-made furniture, the equipment could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you’re not sure, then you’ll need to do some more research and polish up your business plan. Maybe even reach out to businesses that do the same thing sort of thing that you want to do and ask them.
6. Start making product
This is where the rubber meets the road. In this step, you’ll start your operation.
What goes into this step varies widely from one company to the next so we can’t tell you how to do it, just to start doing it. Make the jump and learn as you go.
7. Market your manufacturing business
To help build demand, you can market your manufacturing company. And, thanks to the internet, you have a few options to do this.
Build a strong manufacturing website
As early as you can, you should build a manufacturing website. This website will generate buzz about your company and tell the world about what you have to offer. Not sure where to get started? Use this free website building tool that does most of the work for you.
Don’t forget about social media
Don’t forget to put together social media accounts for your business. Social media marketing for manufacturers is a free way to get connected with the right people. All of the followers you gain can be viewed as leads and potential customers.
Use email marketing
Another form of online marketing is email marketing for manufacturers. You can roll out email campaigns to people who signed up on your site. With one of the highest returns on investments (ROIs) in marketing, a good email marketing campaign can lead to a lot of business.
Learn more about SEO
Whenever you create content, you should use search engine optimization (SEO) practices. While it may take a little bit of time and effort to learn how to effectively implement SEO for manufacturing into your marketing efforts, SEO practices can lead to more followers and more customers and it’s another free option.
Talk to people in your industry
Within your industry, people are going to know people who are interested in your product. This is especially true in more niche-y categories where the following isn’t as large.
Simply telling people about your business might help spread the word to potential customers.
At this point, you should know the basics of how to start a manufacturing business. For more help on how to market your new business, you can view this step-by-step marketing guide for manufacturing businesses. It goes into more detail than was covered in this guide. Additionally, reach out to Constant Contact for a marketing advisor to help you during your journey.