IN2 International, an industry leader in manufacturing, gave a talk at our Crowdfunded Summit about how to prepare for a successful crowdfunding manufacturing experience. Founder Ken Buras’ insight is invaluable, and we want to share it with everyone. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when planning out the manufacturing process!
Know your product
The first and arguably most important step is to know your product. Understand why you’re developing it and what problem it will solve. How big is the market, and what competition do you have in that space? Don’t just think about the product itself; start thinking from the outset about how it will be packaged, too. How is your product produced, and where do you want to produce it?
Know your process
Figuring out the process behind your product is the next step. For this part, you’ll want to identify your target audience and do some market research. Now is a good time to complete your design and then build and evaluate a prototype so you can identify what needs to be tested and how much it will cost to produce. Once you know your production cost, you can begin to figure out what your retail cost should be.
Know your schedule
Understanding your schedule is one of the biggest keys to crowdfunding success. You’re responsible for setting your backers’ expectations, and meeting those expectations is part of running a successful crowdfunding campaign. Here’s a list of things to consider when thinking about your schedule:
- How much time have you budgeted for manufacturing?
- Have you thought about factory holidays and how they will impact your schedule?
- Have you considered regulatory requirements and how long it takes to perform the required testing / certification?
- Do you have an estimated or firm release date?
- What are the drivers for your release date?
- How do you plan to ship your product and how long will that take?
Know your manufacturing partner
Your manufacturing partner will be a key part of meeting the schedule you set up. Find out if they have experience making the type of product you want to build and ask about their manufacturing approach to see if it’s compatible with the product and service you’re looking to provide. Carefully review the agreements you have in place to make sure that you know what to expect.
Another key thing to ask is whether they’re going to build your entire product in-house or not. Some manufacturers subcontract parts of projects… and some subcontract out every part of the process. Know what your manufacturer is going to do for your product.
Know your own capabilities/limitations
Understanding what you bring to the table is key in the manufacturing process. If you’re a subject matter expert for your product or market, then you’ll be more aware of whether or not someone is leading you down the wrong path. You should also understand your financial situation: do you have the financial resources to deal with unexpected costs? Have you planned for contingencies? What will you be able to deal with if it happens during manufacturing, and what would pose a real problem?
Know when to stop designing
While designing your product is obviously important, it’s just as key to know when to step back from the process. You don’t have to incorporate every possible feature into the first release of your product; it’s more important to release something than to release something perfect. Releasing the minimum viable product means that your backers will have something in their hands, and it opens the door to future versions with more bells and whistles.
Know what comes next
Once you have the product in your possession, what happens next? Manufacturing is a huge step in the process, but it’s not the end of the line! How will you distribute the product you have, and will your plan change for future orders? How will you address customer feedback, and how long will you wait before starting to work on version 2?
Planning for the future from the outset means you’re less likely to run into problems, and if you do face any issues, you’ll be more prepared to handle them. Having a successful manufacturing experience makes your entire campaign run more smoothly, and it can increase your backers’ confidence and turn them into loyal lifetime customers. Take it from IN2 International: planning ahead for a successful manufacturing experience can make all the difference!
We’d love to talk to you about manufacturing… or any other part of the crowdfunding process. Get in touch today!