I am all about the value of building a personal brand. And one of the most important parts of building a quality personal brand is learning how to both provide people a ton of value, and understanding how to properly monetize yourself so that you can turn what you love into a full-time gig.
Lately, I've become very interested in the manufacturing and shipping of personal products--since the margins are far better than if you are simply an affiliate to someone else.
Since this is a new endeavor for me, I reached out and spoke with Nathan Resnick, the CEO of Sourcify, a platform that enables entrepreneurs to quickly find the right manufacturer. I wanted to better understand the process behind finding the right supplier or manufacturer for those looking to launch their own products through their personal brand.
Before speaking with Nathan, I started a initial search on Google and quickly became lost in databases like Alibaba, Global Sources, and the dozens of others out there. Knowing what to look for was a challenge and understanding what each manufacturer actually did was even harder.
As I quickly learned from Nathan, before you can even start launching your own products, you need to spend a considerable amount of time to find the right manufacturer or supplier for your business.
Below are three tips that I learned from his explanation of Sourcify's due diligence process:
"When searching for the right manufacturer, never trust one source," said Nathan. "If you've found a manufacturer that seems legitimate, start searching the Internet to learn more about the company."
Online you should find out if the company has its own website, has a email at their own domain, has positive profiles on major manufacturing databases, and more.
Check the trade shows for your industry to see if that company has attended and investigate if it is listed on outsourcing websites. If everything adds up, perhaps you have found a reliable manufacturer. If not, it's time to start searching again.
Nathan said, "When working with a supplier, you are primarily looking to build a relationship. Though trust definitely needs to be strong, it is also essential to send over contracts and non-disclosure agreements to your potential supplier. This will build their credibility."
He went on to explain that after you send contracts and NDAs, to be sure to note their turnaround time -- you're most likely talking to a sales rep. If they can have your document signed in under five minutes you should know something fishy is up: Would you ever let your sales rep sign a contract or NDA for your whole company?
Manufacturing a proprietary product does not need to be complex. The key to protecting the intellectual property of your product is to divide up the parts between suppliers. Though this does involve additional steps of due diligence, if you have parts being made in two separate facilities, neither should know how the full product functions.
Nathan explained that, instead, you will have the parts made separately and either find a assembly facility that you trust, or establish your company's own assembly facility. This protection process is vital to ensuring your product does not get ripped off.
Finding a manufacturer or supplier for your business can be a headache. You'll spend countless of hours scavenging the web, and even then you may not find a manufacturer who you trust.