You might normally think that starting a manufacturing business will require you to rent a warehouse in an industrial neighborhood to produce and store your product. But these days there are other options that allow you to start on a smaller (and more affordable) scale. If, for example, you have started selling something you make locally, to neighbors or through boutique stores, and you want to expand your business, you might want to think about starting a website in order to reach a larger audience and sell your wares online. But taking your business to the next level might require you to set aside more space for your manufacturing operation, as well as hire on some help. So here are just a few ducks you’ll want to get in a row when you launch or expand your home-based business.
Before you spend any money launching a website, converting your garage to a workshop, purchasing equipment, or hiring workers to help you meet orders, there is something else you need to look into, and that is the legal aspect of your home-based operation. If you’re planning to start a business in a residential area, you might have to jump through some hoops first. For example, you may need to obtain a permit or at least inform the neighbors, especially if you’re going to be sending and receiving deliveries frequently, as you probably will. You should also know that your homeowner’s insurance is unlikely to cover any business loss, so you’ll want to get extra coverage for materials and manufactured goods in your home at the least. But if you’re going to have workers in your home you should also get liability insurance so you’re not on the hook for any injuries that may occur.
Now you’re prepared to launch your online operation. You’ll probably want to start with some pre-production, just in case you happen to be successful beyond your wildest dreams. And this could mean beefing up your at-home operation, including upgrading to professional equipment that will help you to streamline and speed up the manufacturing process. From there you’ll need to address the web-based component of your business. And you’ll need more than just a website. Although creating a website that will act as a portal for customers is important since it provides their first impression of your business, you also need to spend some time on SEO efforts in order to spread your name, as well as create an online store that is functional and user-friendly. Whether you’re posting new products on your store or creating links on blogs that urge consumers “visit our website for protective plastic caps“, you need to do whatever you can to check and double check that everything related to your online operation is functioning properly and creating the message you want to send.
You also need to make sure the suppliers you work with are willing and able to scale deliveries of materials to coincide with an uptick in orders as a result of expanding your operation. And you might have to set up accounts with shipping outlets (FedEx, UPS, etc.) and perhaps even arrange for a regular pickup schedule for drop shipping. There are several logistical matters you’ll have to attend to when your business extends beyond your immediate geographic region. But so long as you have a basic understanding of the steps you need to take in order to launch your home-based manufacturing business on the web, you can learn the rest as you go.