January 29, 2022

10 Steps to Make Merchandise as a Small Producer

Designing your first product can be tough. Manufacturing it is even harder. With this article on how to create and manufacture your first product as a manufacturer. We’ll show you the basics of what goes into designing a new product and getting it ready for production. We’ll also, provide some insight into what kind of products are most marketable, and talk about four important concepts that every new entrepreneur should know when it comes to developing their first product:  

  1. Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel  
  1. Pick Your Market  
  1. Know When to Fold them  
  1. You Can’t Please Everyone  

With that, here are 10 more ways you can start making your own products. 

1) Make the product and find your customers and let them tell you what they want next     

When you make an engineering-driven product like a car, hardware like iPhones, or software like Facebook, it is very hard to get feedback from your customer while developing. People are impatient and want everything now, they see no reason to wait for something better. So how do you do it? You produce something good enough and then start understanding what could be made better by asking people about their experience with it. It is not just talking to them but observing their behavior too. If they choose to leave after two days using your service, there must be something wrong with it even though you can’t quite understand what. 

2) Produce your products locally in small batches           

For many makers, the end goal is to get off your dependency on large suppliers and distributors, have better control over your product’s lifecycle, and keep more value in your business by making additional revenue locally than you currently do by selling wholesale. Here is what you can expect if you decide to produce locally in small batches:  

  • You will sell small batches of the product locally at the same price you currently sell your products wholesale 
  • You will be able to use fewer resources, less space, and smaller supplies than when making large batches  
  • The maximum size of your production batch can increase or decrease depending on how many orders you take in a given period. You control this yourself by varying how much you produce based on demand for your product during different seasons and times of the year, giving you more flexibility  
  • You will need to work with multiple suppliers rather than one centralized factory that produces all your products in bulk, making communication easier when there is an issue that needs resolving  
  • If there are problems with any part of the supply chain, local issues can be resolved faster and more easily than if they were located elsewhere  
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Small business manufacturers use scalable MRP software to help them manage their inventory and batches.  

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3) Find an “easy” target market that’s easy to enter         

First, let’s define what your perfect target audience is not. It is not “everyone.”  

By definition, if you target everyone, nobody in particular will care about your product. Here are some more things to avoid when thinking about who you want to buy your product: 

  • People who do not have the ability or capability to buy your product need money to make money, after all! Focusing on people with disposable income may raise issues for you later down the line, but it is worth considering now  
  • People that don’t fit into your customer demographic at all  
  • You must narrow down on the market, whether it be by geographic area, age group, or other criteria. If they don’t fit into any of your market segments, they’re not useful 

4) Create a unique approach to marketing and sales      

Targeting people who would be interested in your product but wouldn’t normally use it. For example, hipsters are typically stereotyped as flannel-shirt-wearing, beard-sporting DIYers who enjoy irony — but even hipsters have social lives. If there were a simple way to keep their facial hair looking sharp, they’d probably use it. 

5) Build a brand image and not only a product           

Effective marketing strategies make a brand stand out from its competitors. One of the core components of developing a strong brand image is creating a graphic identity representing your company’s vision. But what exactly is a brand, and how does it create customer loyalty? 

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A brand is the customers’ total experience with your product or service. In other words, it’s not just about how you describe yourself; it’s really about whether or not people believe you. In general, marketers see their role as responsible for building up revenue by making money from existing products and services, plus those still in development. 

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6) Make your startup unique in the market       

The way here is differentiation. The easiest method to guarantee success is to create something different from everyone else’s — change the game completely by doing the opposite thing most people would expect you to do. You must go against the current so much that no one could predict how customers would react in advance.  

7) Don’t be afraid to try new things       

Many products fail, but when you have a small business, you can afford that more than when you have a large corporation. 

Improving the odds of success for small companies requires nearly everyone involved to think like an experimental scientist. They must use their imaginations and subject them to rigorous experimentation. This may sound cheesy, but there is no other way to truly understand how something will perform outside of actually putting it to the test. And when you are developing a new product or venture — perhaps even one your company has never done before — this can be extremely difficult if not impossible without conducting some preliminary experiments that test different aspects of demand for your idea. Without these tests, you’re left with nothing more than assumptions about what might work based on someone else’s experience. 

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8) Be creative in marketing to stay ahead of your competitors in the future       

This is where things get a little more complicated: it all comes down to understanding what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to. And, let me tell you right now – that’s no easy task by any means. You have to understand everything about your product (what makes it special?), how it relates to other products (how does yours compare, if at all?), and the audience (who are they? why do they need this?). Once you can answer these questions, you’ll find yourself in a much better position when trying to predict which path your product will take into the future — and that’s exactly when creativity takes center stage in terms of marketing.   

9) Build an app or website        

First thing first, let’s look at how that works. Businesses can target customers with ads based on their interests and location. Apps give businesses the ability to track their business data, including live sales numbers, customer segments, average order values, conversion rates, etc. 

It’s not just about keywords anymore. Having a mobile presence is also key if you want people to find you when they search for products or services that you offer! Otherwise, guess who’ll be on top of the list? Yup, your competitors. And it won’t even be close. This means that whatever services or goods you offer will then start disappearing into the hands of other businesses. You don’t want this to happen, do you? No. Because I personally know what happens when someone finds a better version of what you’re offering. It’s not pretty… 

10) If the money runs out, don’t give up!         

Go for side jobs instead of giving up before starting another product that everyone will love!