You’ve launched your first CPG product!
This is an amazing first step at getting your product into the market. Depending on how long ago you launched your product and how your sales are going, you may be trying to figure out how to begin scaling. Outsourcing production to a contract manufacturer is a common next step for brands as they enter Phase 2, so let’s help get you there.
Continued Product Development
Now that your brand has taken its first steps into the market, this early stage provides a unique opportunity for refinement and optimization. Sensory analysis and consumer testing are invaluable tools during this phase, offering insights into how your product resonates with your audience. Engage with your existing customer base to gather feedback directly from those who have experienced your offerings. This direct interaction not only fosters a sense of community but also provides authentic, firsthand perspectives on your product's strengths and areas for improvement.
Consider conducting surveys, focus groups, or even organizing tasting events to gauge reactions and preferences. The data collected from these initiatives can guide you in making informed decisions about flavor profiles, packaging, and overall presentation. Pay attention to both positive feedback and constructive criticism—each comment is a valuable piece of the puzzle in shaping your brand's identity. Moreover, utilizing your current customer base as a testing ground establishes a foundation for loyalty, as consumers appreciate brands that actively seek and respond to their input.
Based on the feedback you get, your product may need some minor formulation changes, or you may need to do a development overhaul if it is not functioning as you anticipated. That is completely normal and all part of the process. Head back into the kitchen to make your refinements.
- 🧑🔬 Hiring experts
In addition to leveraging your existing customer network, think about expanding your insights by bringing in external expertise. Hiring external consultants or engaging with specialized agencies can provide a fresh perspective and a more comprehensive understanding of your product's strengths and weaknesses. These professionals bring a wealth of experience and a diverse set of skills, ensuring a thorough evaluation of your brand. Their objective viewpoint can uncover blind spots, validate your current strategies, and introduce innovative ideas that align with market trends. Investing in external support at this juncture can be a strategic move, propelling your brand towards success and long-term sustainability in a competitive market.
We’ve compiled an ever-growing list of recommendations. If you have any companies you’ve successfully worked with, please reach out to us and we’ll add them on the list!
If you did a small/soft launch at something such as a local Farmer’s market, you may or may not have worked on a go-to-market strategy. When looking to scale up to work with a contract manufacturing, it is critical to have some kind of a plan before you begin those conversations. It can still be in the works, but you need to be familiar with the elements and have thought through what you are or are not considering.
Explore where you intend on selling your products by determining which sales channels fit your brand.
- 💲 Pricing
While you may not know exactly how much your product will sell for just yet, it’s critical to have an estimated MSRP before you speak to contract manufacturers. Familiarize yourself with the elements that go into pricing, so you can provide your future co-man a price range you’re looking to target. That will better allow them to gauge if they are able to manufacture your product within your target price bracket.
Scale up to a Contract manufacturer
If you’ve done your R&D and have been selling your product out of your home kitchen for a while, you may be looking into contract manufacturing. Brands often jump into co-man conversations too early and don’t get the responses from co-mans that they were hoping for. In order to avoid that, we want to make sure you’re fully prepared.
One of the first things we consider when seeing if a brand is ready to scale up to a contract manufacturer is volume estimates. Before you begin gathering all your documents, ensure you’re in the ballpark of manufacturer’s MOQs. These numbers can vary greatly depending on the co-man as well as the product, but this article will give you an overview, as well as a list of examples.
Once you’ve confirmed you’re in the ballpark of volumes a co-man will need you to hit, review the checklist containing everything you should have before you begin conversations with a co-man. While you may not have final decisions for all of it, make sure you minimally are familiar with each element and have thought through the relevant factors.
As you start to figure out pricing, use your MSRP guide. These prices may change when you move into a co-man, but it’s important to start figuring out pricing now, so you can see if your customers are willing to pay what you’re pricing your item at.
As you start to scale up, you’ll need to be familiar with some key industry terms, so here is our glossary of terms.