It seems like just about everybody is trying to start a personal business lately. Entrepreneurism is at an all-time high, and people are trying everything from arts and crafts to websites as ways of making some extra money. But occasionally a personal business is a little bit more complex – such as if it involves the invention and manufacturing of an original product.
Plenty of people have terrific ideas for new products, but when it comes to putting those ideas into physical form, things can get difficult. Even a prototype can be very difficult to develop if you don’t have engineering experience and access to special equipment. But if you’re in this camp, there’s no reason to be discouraged! Many inventors before you have had to stop and figure out how to manufacture their products, and many have succeeded.
The first step is probably one you don’t think about when you’re considering the actual manufacturing process. But before anything else, you need to secure legal services that can help you through the process. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably only ever relied on a lawyer for personal issues – traffic problems, family situations, personal injury, etc. But in this case you’ll probably need a patent lawyer or someone with experience in this realm. You need to make sure you have the rights to your product even before you actually attempt to get it made. (For those who may be interested, the film Joy actually teaches this lesson pretty effectively, telling the true story of an entrepreneur who nearly lost everything because of patent complications.)
Once you get the somewhat dry first step of securing a patent out of the way, you need to look into the different ways to have your product made. Naturally this depends to a large degree on what kind of product it is. If you’re selling handcrafted items, of course, you’ll merely need to find the fastest possible ways to keep making them on your own, on a scale appropriate for a business. But if your product is more involved or involves metal or plastic material, you’ll probably need to have it professionally designed. The first step might be to look into designing cast parts, which can effectively serve as lasting molds through which your product can be mass-produced. This is often a step used for industrial equipment, but depending on the company you trust with the job you can sometimes have smaller, more specialized molds designed as well.
The molds tend to be best if you’re then going to set up your own production plant or factory to start designing product on your own. However, it’s also an option to look directly into professional manufacturing, where professionals are used to handling different machines to put together fixtures, complex structures, and even their own quality molds. A lot of manufacturing facilities you’ll find will be engineered specifically for the production of a given type of object, but if you look around enough you may just find one that can handle your design, either setting you up with the materials you need to start production, or simply making your product themselves.
The downside of all these ideas is that they do cost money, and there’s really no way around it. Again, if your business revolves around a handcrafted product, you may not have to mess with these options. But if you need to have something mass-produced, you’ll probably need to explore possibilities like these to get the job done.