In the first three articles in this series you’ve learned to solve a customer pain with a bike product, build prototypes, and hunt for a quality contract manufacturer (CM) to build it in volume. If you’ve done well in steps 1-3, you’ll have 3-5 viable CMs.
Now you get to choose one and mass-produce your dream product, the success of which will ultimately hinge on your ability to navigate myriad landmines. Watch out for these 5 in particular:
Landmine #1: Your CM Isn’t Excited About Your Company
You’re not IBM. You’re a tiny company no one’s heard of and your CM doesn’t care about your $100K first order. They do care, however, about your big, future orders. You MUST start by selling the big vision of your company and show them the product roadmap with their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In our case, every CM knows our vision: we are on a mission to protect city cyclists and “while we’re only placing this small, 5,000 unit order now, next year it’ll be 25,000 bike lights plus three new products.” And it’s true.