3 Beginner Mistakes When Contacting Manufacturers

Many factories and service providers often get a bad reputation for not responding to startup inquiries. Yet, those that take the time to respond, are too often perceived as rude or difficult to work with. While bad experiences do happen, I’d like to examine the talking points that end conversations before they begin.

It’s a Secret:

We receive many inquiries about our design services from people that are not willing to divulge their brand direction. The problem here is that, we can’t help you if we don’t know what you’re trying to do, let alone give you pricing. Even signing an NDA can be tricky. Creating something truly new is rare, which is probably why it’s difficult to patent anything in this industry. Much of what makes your brand unique is you, and no one can steal that!

Ask for Partners/Backers:

I’m sure there are situations where the stars align, and brands find the perfect partner to help fund their startup with little to no introduction. Asking for money right out of the gate is no way to start a relationship with potential partners or investors. That’s what you should really be looking for, a relationship. There will be costs, but you’d be surprised how much we invest in your businesses with our time, education, and counsel.

I have a Low Budget:

While we appreciate the stresses of a cash strapped startup (considering most of us started there), we are businesses too. Having a mutual respect for someone else’s business is the fastest way to gain trust and establish a long term mutually beneficial relationship. You might even be surprised by the ideas we have to save you money. Once we’ve had a conversation, and know you’re serious about putting in the work to make your brand succeed. The partnerships and low budget requests tend to go hand in hand, and we see them come in many forms.

Related Reading:  Bringing It Back to the Bay

A great example is an initial email asking for us to accept a small payment now with the promise of a larger payment if the brand is successful. At this point you haven’t even learned about what our services entail. You can’t negotiate price before you understand what you are buying. See above points for the other reason it’s not a good way to start a conversation.

These words may seem harsh, but are truly written in encouragement. The more emerging brands that succeed, the more we all will succeed. Don’t stunt your growth by alienating those here to help you.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at these:

› A Checklist for Your Next Meeting With a Manufacturer
› 3 Tips to a Successful Business Partnership
› Planning Your First Meeting With a Manufacturer