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Philip Piletic

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A guide to starting a small manufacturing business


People might have a notion that the manufacturing industry is dwindling in the United Kingdom. However, manufacturing still makes up sixth of the country's economy. Though it may be true that cheaper operating costs have damaged some opportunities in the United Kingdom, it remains a significant hub for innovative ideas, which creates plenty of room for success in the United Kingdom's manufacturing industry.

For those who are innovative by nature and have product ideas, as well as the financial support to get it going, launching a small manufacturing venture is something to consider. If that's the case, what should one know and where should they start? What is manufacturing for a small business?

Establish a partnership with like-minded individuals

Oliver Wendell Holmes, a poet, and philosopher, once stated: "Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up."
Numerous entrepreneurs have credited much of their success to having a great team or partnership. Furthermore, it's reasonable to assume that few successful people got there without others guiding or helping them along the way. In addition to that, partnerships can bring more to the table other than ideas; they can also be a source of additional funding, have good connections in the industry, or possess characteristics the other doesn't have.

For example, John may have a brilliant, inventive mind but has trouble connecting with others outside his circle, while his partner is an excellent salesperson with a charismatic personality. Without his partner, John may never be able to sell his inventions to investors or a market. While some may be a very hands-on person, there are many situations in the business world where it's best to leave specific tasks to others.

Take it one step at a time

When an individual experiences one of those eureka moments and feel they have come up with an industry-changing product, it's easy to act hastily. Even if the fresh idea eventually reaches "go time," the newly born business still has many hurdles to overcome, trials to pass, and a long journey ahead before it's smooth sailing.

Building even a small manufacturing business can be a bit time consuming and costly, which means one literally can't afford to fail. Unfortunately, 4 out of 10 small businesses in the United Kingdom don't survive the first five years. Moreover, while there are many reasons for a company to fail, maintaining a steady cash flow seems to be the leading reason for failure. Thus it's vital not to purchase space and brand new equipment straightway.

Instead, rent the space and equipment in the beginning as to get a feel for how things should operate and what aspects need changing. Invest more in manual labor and low-investment equipment where applicable.The last thing a new company needs is over-stretched lines of credit, as well as expensive equipment and tools that turned out to be unnecessary for the time being.

Know and understand the full scope of things

Understanding the full scope of things encompasses a wide array of things, such as legalities, logistics, zoning regulations, and so on. However, probably the most important thing to know is the market in which the product will sell best.

What are the demographics of the consumers in that market? Does the invention make a previous product better or is it something new and revolutionary? Lastly, a choice will have to be made as to whether the product will be designed and manufactured by you, or you rather outsource the manufacturing.

If outsourcing one, you will need to know how to find the best manufacturer for your particular product. Are they willing to help you make a prototype as a part of the process as well? If it’s decided to have the manufacturing outsourced, it’s very important to conduct a good amount of research about the manufacturer one plans to use.

Many business owners can attest to the fact that it’s difficult to find a good, trustworthy manufacturer. And unlike a lot of other companies in other industries, manufacturers don’t focus much on an online presence. Before getting in too deep with manufacturers of any kind, a thorough look at all of their references should be done. Find out who their recent clients were, contact them, and ask how their experience was dealing with the manufacturer in question.

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Philip Piletic

Blogger, writer and editor

Read more from Philip Piletic

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