If you are adept at making things, you might have dreamed of starting your own manufacturing business at home. While the idea of manufacturing might bring to mind the picture of huge factories and long production lines, the truth is that manufacturing almost anything can be done on a much smaller scale and there are plenty of product ideas that you can produce and sell, either to other companies or directly to consumers, from the comfort of your own home. From woodworking to making candles and bath products or hand-sewn clothing and fashion accessories, if you’re good at making a certain product, you can easily turn it into a successful manufacturing business idea with the right strategies.
Choosing a Product to Manufacture
There are many products that can successfully and easily be manufactured from the comfort of your own home with a little space and the right equipment. You may decide to manufacture a product that you are already skilled at making, or look into learning and developing the skills required to make something that you know there is a high demand for. Most importantly, think about what you enjoy, as you’ll need to dedicate a lot of time to making the product over and over again, therefore, it’s important that you have a genuine passion for it in order for your business to succeed. Some products that can easily be manufactured from home include:
- Wooden products
- Bath products
- Textiles; such as clothing and soft furnishings
- Greetings cards
- Wall art
- Enamel pins
- Custom furniture
- Baked goods
Once you’ve decided on the product that you are going to manufacture, you should check the local regulations for home-based businesses in your area. You should also check any laws and regulations that are relevant to the type of business that you plan to start – for example, if you are planning on manufacturing food products, there may be regulations that would apply that would not be relevant to a woodworking business.
Bear in mind that in order to run a manufacturing business from your home, you may be required to get permission from:
- Your mortgage provider or landlord
- Your local council or governing body – usually required if you need a license to run your business or want to advertise outside of the property
- Your local planning office, if running your business will require you to make major alterations to your property such as adding an extension
You will also likely need to get permission to run your manufacturing business from home if it is likely to create excessive noise, fumes, or increased traffic in the local area.
Creating a Dedicated Work Area
Depending on the type of product that you have chosen to manufacture, you may need to come up with a dedicated workspace in your home. This is especially important if you need ample space in which to produce the product, or if the production process is likely to create some mess, which can be contained to your dedicated workshop. Depending on the type and size of tools necessary for manufacturing the product, you will also likely need to ensure that you have ample space to store them.
Creating Samples and Market Research
Once you’ve got the basics covered, you’ll want to make sure that putting any extra work into starting your business is going to pay off. To do this, make samples of your product and present your idea to your target market in order to generate a level of interest and get an idea of the people who are going to be willing to buy your products. You should start by defining your target audience – consider asking questions such as:
- What age are my ideal customers?
- What do they work as?
- Where do they live?
- How much do they earn?
- What are they interested in?
The more specific you are about your ideal customer, the easier it will be to make sure that you get your samples out in front of the right people. You can then gauge the level of interest through a range of methods including:
- Focus groups
Planning the Manufacturing Process
You can choose to manufacture your products in two different ways. You may want to create a bulk number of products and keep an inventory, or you could make them as they are ordered by each customer. The method that you choose will depend on the type of product that you are planning to manufacture and how much you have to spend. Manufacturing products in bulk means that they are available immediately to customers, whereas making to order takes a little longer, but also works out cheaper for you since you are guaranteed a sale and it also gives you the opportunity to make custom, personalized products at client request.
You should put a plan in place that allows you to manufacture your products as efficiently as possible. Cost-effectiveness should also be taken into account; determine exactly how much of each material you need to make products so that you can reduce waste. Lean manufacturing principles can be very useful; originally designed for automobile production lines, they can be applied in almost any manufacturing environment including working from a home workshop. If you want to explore more about lean manufacturing, you can do so at Kettering University Online. Their online degree programs are ideal for home business owners who need flexible learning options.
Marketing Your Products:
Finally, you will need to create a brand and start marketing your products to your target audience. You will need to come up with:
- A brand name
- A logo
- Brand colors
- A brand ‘voice’ or personality
Once you have created a brand, you can then apply it to your website and other selling sites, social media profiles, and any printed marketing materials that you produce, like flyers and posters. Use social media to post high-quality photographs of your products and engage with your customers; you might want to consider posting videos of you creating them to let customers behind the scenes and forge a relationship with you and your brand.
If you enjoy working with your hands and making products, there are many fantastic ideas for starting a manufacturing business from home.