Manufacturing Partnerships – The Second Biggest Mistake

Manufacturing Partnerships Second Biggest MistakeIn another blog post about manufacturing partnerships I briefly mentioned the importance of approaching potential manufacturing partners with a focus on how they will benefit. To reiterate, the single biggest mistake I see when attempting to structure partnerships is that the beneficiary of the partnership has spent no time considering how the host will benefit.

While this is the key factor to success in forming manufacturing partnerships there is another factor that is a close second. When approaching potential partners this important factor is often ignored and will virtually guarantee that you will not be able to establish a manufacturing partnership.

It all comes down to establishing a comfort level and understanding basic human behavior.

People are down on what they are not up on
My father, who was a Scot, was a clear thinking and hard-headed kind of business executive. I can still remember him telling me, “People are down on what they are not up on.” This advice has been invaluable in my business career as a manufacturing executive and also as an industrial marketing consultant.

What he meant, of course, is that the natural response many people have when being presented with something new is to be suspicious, negative, and even dismissive. While this may not be one of our more attractive traits as humans, from an evolutionary standpoint it is pretty easy to understand. Anything new can pose danger so you need to be wary.

Nowhere is this truer than when trying to structure manufacturing partnerships. When you contact a potential partner to discuss partnering it is very likely they have never even considered doing something like this. This means their initial reaction may be negative. But because you now know that people are down on what they are not up on you won’t be surprised, right?

Simply follow these three steps and you will minimize their discomfort and maximize your chances of successfully establishing a manufacturing partnership.

Bite-sized chunks work best
When approaching a potential manufacturing partner be certain to present the partnership in a series of simple sequential steps. By doing this you will reduce the probability of scaring them off.  Each step should result in an incremental advancement of the process.

Do not try to rush the process
While closely related to providing bite-sized chunks, it is important that you make a real effort to remain patient when explaining your manufacturing partnership program. Be mindful that your manufacturing partnership program, although totally understood by you, is new to your potential partner. Give them time to fully understand each step in the process. Do not go from step one to step five without first covering steps two, three, and four.

Get buy-in
Lastly, you will have a much higher chance of succeeding in creating a highly effective manufacturing partnership if you take the time to get buy-in from multiple stakeholders within your potential partners. While it is unrealistic for you to completely customize your partnership program for every potential partner it is both possible and desirable to consider slight modifications to fit individual circumstances. This shows willingness to compromise, which is the fundamental basis of all successful partnerships, business or otherwise.


Are you interested in setting up partners to help you enter new markets or sell more of your products in your existing markets? I have an entire turnkey partnership program I can customize to your needs that will allow you to effectively approach potential partners and successfully create and sustain these partnerships. My program provides you with all you need you to set up your own partnerships quickly, effectively, and with little hassle. Please contact me to discuss this.

Andrew Shedden

Andrew is the president of Broadfield Communications. When he's not working he likes reading history and biographies. He enjoys classic cars, music, and everything about rural settings. He loves to travel the world.