How to Start a Manufacturing Business & A Guide to Manufacturers Branding

February 17, 2024 by
How to Start a Manufacturing Business & A Guide to Manufacturers Branding
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How to Start a Manufacturing Business & A Guide to Manufacturers Branding


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.

Most manufacturers already have a reputation. The one you go to for short-run, high-quality manufacturing. The one you use for high volumes, fairly quickly, with a clever, quippy approach. The reliable one you use when you just want to be sure you get it done.

 If you’ve ever thought of starting a brand-new line of products, I’m sure you’ve wondered how to start manufacturing a product when it comes to it. While the technical side of production is something that experts can have a better take on, let’s talk about the ideation process and how you can go about deciding on different factors in order to get your manufacturing business started.

Steps to Start a Manufacturing Business

Here are some streamlined steps to organize your ideas a how to start a manufacturing business from scratch:

1. Target Products and By-Products

The first and obvious step is to narrow down what exactly you want to manufacture and sell. If you’re reading this, you most likely have a product or niche in mind already. Even if you’re dead sure about your product or range of products for business, consider a logical alternative for by-products or add-ons you could include. These include additional products that can be created with the raw materials or waste products of the same production line.

2. Brand Value

It is also important to have a unique brand value and product identity in mind before you get going. It is fair to expect that tens of brands already manufacture the product you’re looking to manufacture. Some existing brands could even be super popular, making your business just another alternative. Think about a unique brand value and aesthetic to represent your product.

3. Manufacturing Processes

Moving to the manufacturing process, there are several things to keep in mind before discussing the technical bit with professionals. You need to ensure an efficient assembly line is set for the product and the raw materials are used to the maximum potential. How you’re going to ensure quality control and uniformity of production and packaging is another element you need to think about. The manufacturing process should be easy to follow and maintain in the long run as well.

4. Sales and Marketing

How you are going to market and sell the product in consideration is going to have a huge impact on your manufacturing business. Certain sales and representation aspects need to be incorporated within the manufacturing machinery in terms of labels for packaging and other design and aesthetic elements. A major part of the manufacturing, product designing, and creation process will depend on how you want to sell and market your product. Thus, the marketing strategy needs to be in place beforehand.

5. Assembly-line and Equipment

Finally, the equipment and machinery to form the assembly line for your product need to be considered. This could be manual assembly elements as well as the factory setup for product manufacturing. It is important to plan the exact assembly machinery in advance so you can ensure all equipment and personnel requirements are taken care of way before the setup process.

6. Formulate a Business Plan

With a distinct vision and supporting ideas in mind, what you would require is a rock-solid business plan. There are several uncertainties and alternatives that can be observed during the execution of any plan, so, your plan should consider all possibilities.

A succinct business plan must contain everything, right from ideation particulars to your brand image and marketing approach. A stable business plan must have a detailed strategy for every phase of the business. This not only gives you and your team members a clear plan to refer to at each stage but also proves to be an important piece of documentation for other business integrations.

Especially if you’re looking to collaborate with various investors or take a loan for your manufacturing business, a well-drafted business plan can be a great catalyst. You can also clearly define target roles for team members and allocate clear lists of tasks for different aspects, so everyone can be on the same page. A common problem with business plans is not being able to understand where to start and how to be thorough. Have a look at Upmetrics’ manufacturing business plan template to formulate a foolproof plan.

7. Budget and Finances

Planning your finances and setting a budget is relevant before you can allocate resources or hire a team for your business. Often business owners gauge their requirements and expand their budget way beyond the expected profit ratio. The spending budget should be predicted to keep a safe margin with expected profit in the first few months/year of the launch of your business. The budget plan should also consider the payouts, team salaries, and maintenance expenses. Having a secure budget plan helps resolve any unexpected finances for the smooth operation of your manufacturing business.

8. Market to the right people

Last but not the least, any product in the lines for manufacturing needs to be marketed well. This has to be done to the right audience for the business to start on the right foot. Assess your competition and understand your target group well before you decide on a suitable marketing campaign. Think of how you can make your product stand out amidst the competition while also deploying an innovative marketing tactic.

Targeted emotional marketing techniques for your audience sector can be constructed depending on demographics. These requirements also need to be considered during product designing and rendering processes. Thus, the target audience can be catered to in minute aspects of the product. The right marketing strategy, during and after the manufacturing process can really make or break your manufacturing business.

How to Start a Manufacturing Business in 7 Steps

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.

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?  

A brand is a business persona — it’s how people think of you. With some thought and planning, your manufacturing business can do a lot to influence that.

What we’ll cover

  • What is manufacturer branding?
  • How and where to implement your brand
  • Your manufacturing brand has many uses

What is manufacturer branding?

More to the point, what does branding do for a busy manufacturing enterprise? 

Your brand is a kind of container that holds all the experiences customers or prospects have with you. The more consistent those experiences, the easier it is for them to think about you.

And the easier you are to think about, the faster you will come to mind when someone needs the product you manufacture or the manufacturing services you provide.

There are a few relatively simple steps to figuring out your manufacturing brand.

Know who you are

This is your first, essential step. But it isn’t some kind of deep, philosophical analysis. It needn’t involve a lot of company listening sessions or customer surveys.

Just ask yourself the following questions:

  • What business problem do we solve for our customers?
  • What keeps our customers coming back to us?
  • How are we different from our competitors?
  • What about us would be most appealing to the customers we want to acquire?

The day-to-day responsibilities of running a manufacturing business can cause you to neglect how you appear to your current and desired customers in a changing market. This is particularly true if you have been in business for some time.

You may find some interesting differences of opinion in your own organization about how to answer some of these questions.

Clarify what you offer

Branding is mostly a matter of editing. It’s as much about what you take out as what you leave in.

It’s a natural impulse to think that, if you do a lot, your brand should say a lot. But consider the last résumé you received that listed every single thing the applicant had ever done, since their high school lawn-mowing job. Did that help you understand what would make them a good hire?

Being heard once is not enough. You have to convey your message clearly and consistently over time for it to properly resonate. Branding questions to consider include:

  • What do we still do that is not core to who we are now?
  • What topics do the more junior engineers and managers — and our customers — ask about that senior people never mention?
  • What do customers say is the one highest-value thing that we do?

Come up with a tagline

The simplest way to ensure your message is clear? Create a tagline — a simple phrase that says what you do. For example:

  • Durable submersible pumps for remote locations
  • High-speed conveyor belts that protect fragile contents
  • Self-reporting, high-capacity batteries that prevent unexpected outages

Coming up with a tagline is fun, frustrating, and enlightening. Don’t say, “We’re so much more than a tagline.” Of course you are. But a tagline will keep your focus on how others see you — not just how you see yourself.

Express your brand visually

Design is where a lot of people start when they think about branding. And design is immensely important in ensuring your brand has a clear, visual identity in the heads of people you want to reach. But leave this for near the end of your branding effort.

Why? Because there is nothing easier than having opinions about colors, fonts, and layout, and everyone will. But it’s easier to choose these things once you have a clear vision of what your brand is. So save it for near the end, when it won’t hold things up.

How and where to implement your brand

Building your brand is a slow and steady process. While there are many different methods and places to make your brand more visible, for a manufacturing brand it’s best to focus on providing useful content, clarifying your website, and ensuring that wherever you appear, your brand identity is clear and consistent.

Show your brand’s value with your content

The best way to reinforce a brand that conveys competence and understanding is to provide useful content.

Content marketing consists of things like blog posts, videos, long-form white papers, and podcasts. But don’t start with those details. Start with a few questions:

  • What do customers often not understand about what we offer?
  • How are our devices or our service underused or even misused?
  • What should customers outside of engineering know about us?
  • What do various customers want to learn to advance in their careers?

Manufacturing brands have a lot of information to convey. Many people may not be interested, but your potential customers have the interest, background, and incentive to learn more.

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