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Shafir

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 25, 2018
6
10
15
Germany
Hello everybody,

Thank you for sharing your experiences on this forum. It is truly inspiring. I don't drive cars, so I don't want to buy a fancy car. I don't need a huge house either. Coming from working class background, I just want to be financially independent and to be able to support my family.

My main occupation is working (more than) full time at a German parliament. However, I am used to working on other projects besides the main occupation: I founded a non-profit organization and completed my PhD - both not leading to financial independence. This year I got rid of the idea that I must do something I love as side projects. Unscripted was deliberating in this and many other aspects.

Currently, I am developing a slightly improved product in a small market niche. I will sell it by dropshipping to save time and to learn how to develop a product and market it. I have some more ideas on products, platforms, and software which are more demanding. I will turn to them as soon as my first project is a small cash cow - or has proven not be one. Experimenting with projects fascinates me.

One question on my mind is how you guys handle the development of new products. At the moment, I fear that companies which could produce products for me could sooner or later start to produce and sell these products without me in the middle. It would be great when someone could share his experience on this point. I will do a search on the forum someday anyway.

I'm glad to be here and eager to learn, evolve, and share!
 

Rabby

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One question on my mind is how you guys handle the development of new products. At the moment, I fear that companies which could produce products for me could sooner or later start to produce and sell these products without me in the middle. It would be great when someone could share his experience on this point. I will do a search on the forum someday anyway.

It's not impossible that they could steal your product, but look at what the company is in business for as you evaluate this possibility. You are their customer. If they have lots of other customers who are happy, [edit: by which I mean you can verify first-hand, and they are long time customers. Discover the customers independently and call them.] then it normally means they are a legitimate company that produces things for customers. They wouldn't sacrifice those customers for a quick payoff, because in addition to being a terrible thing to do, it would cause them to lose all their customers.

I have things that I wrote, and I have a printer print them for me. Am I worried that the printer will steal my materials and sell them directly to the market? No, because their job is to print things for other businesses, not to sell a particular type of printed material to consumers. [edit: But someone else might steal them. They have before! They were forced to stop.]

In addition to this inherent protection, you may be able to benefit from legal protections. I have copyright law on my side -- I can sue someone who steals my written materials. You may be able to use some combination of copyright, trademark, or patents to protect your product. If it's not patent-able (a lawyer can advise you about that, and lots of other intellectual property issues), then perhaps your branding can be trademarked and protected from casual copy-cats. Then if someone tried to copy you, you could at least fight them legally. Plus, if they were a supposed supplier, you could expose them as frauds who steal the products of their own customers.

In vetting a supplier, I would say look for someone who only supplies businesses, not someone who has a consumer-product company and is midnighting as a supplier to a few people like you. That way you know they are risking their whole business if they betray your trust, see? So you have a little more assurance that way.

I hope that helps a bit. Do your due diligence and protect your product in any practical way that is available to you. But also learn which kinds of people you can exchange trust with... it's really hard to do business without building some trust. Trust that you can verify and protect, of course.

PS: I'm not into huge houses or expensive cars either! Nothing against them, but I never felt the need.
 
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Walter Hay

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@Shafir I suggest that if you want maximum protection for your idea you should have it made in Germany or another EU country where IP laws will be respected.

I have posted in my AMA quite a few times on this subject but see my latest one here: GOLD! - Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist.

Also, you should understand that if you are asking a manufacturer to make a product to your specifications, it would be extremely rare for them to agree to hold inventory for you and dropship.

Walter
https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/co...sourcing-specialist.55062/page-62#post-707845
 

Walter Hay

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It's not impossible that they could steal your product, but look at what the company is in business for as you evaluate this possibility. You are their customer. If they have lots of other customers who are happy, then it normally means they are a legitimate company that produces things for customers. They wouldn't sacrifice those customers for a quick payoff, because in addition to being a terrible thing to do, it would cause them to lose all their customers.

I have things that I wrote, and I have a printer print them for me. Am I worried that the printer will steal my materials and sell them directly to the market? No, because their job is to print things for other businesses, not to sell a particular type of printed material to consumers.

In addition to this inherent protection, you may be able to benefit from legal protections. I have copyright law on my side -- I can sue someone who steals my written materials. You may be able to use some combination of copyright, trademark, or patents to protect your product. If it's not patent-able (a lawyer can advise you about that, and lots of other intellectual property issues), then perhaps your branding can be trademarked and protected from casual copy-cats. Then if someone tried to copy you, you could at least fight them legally. Plus, if they were a supposed supplier, you could expose them as frauds who steal the products of their own customers.

In vetting a supplier, I would say look for someone who only supplies businesses, not someone who has a consumer-product company and is midnighting as a supplier to a few people like you. That way you know they are risking their whole business if they betray your trust, see? So you have a little more assurance that way.

I hope that helps a bit. Do your due diligence and protect your product in any practical way that is available to you. But also learn which kinds of people you can exchange trust with... it's really hard to do business without building some trust. Trust that you can verify and protect, of course.

PS: I'm not into huge houses or expensive cars either! Nothing against them, but I never felt the need.
You seem to be looking through rose colored glasses.
  • Having many customers is no guarantee that a business is legitimate.
  • Many, many businesses do "terrible things."
  • Enforcing copyright, trademarks and patents can be extremely expensive and is usually more than what a small business can afford.
  • Yes, trademarking the branding provides a moderate amount of protection, but there are thousands of people operating businesses illegally selling fake Trademarked goods.
  • Vetting suppliers can be a minefield and if like vast numbers of people you are use B2B sites as your source I suggest you read through my AMA thread
    GOLD! Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing
    to help you learn how to do it safely.
Walter
 

Rabby

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You seem to be looking through rose colored glasses.
Walter

Fair, I'm a ridiculous optimist despite observing humans for all these years. But it also might be a function of the business I'm in, or how I do things. You'll notice I said to take legal precautions and talk to a lawyer. Also, before talking to a supplier, I tend to find out who their customers are, and talk to them. Otherwise, how can know if they have happy long-term customers who haven't been cheated? Personally, I use suppliers in the US too. Vetting a supplier can require as much diligence as buying or selling a business, or taking out a lease, or any other serious relationship, right? And it's easier if you have proximity. But once you do the diligence and make contracts and other assurances, you have some foundation for trust. You don't place trust on shaky ground. At least that's how I see it, with my glasses :rofl: Maybe I didn't communicate enough of that, but here it is.
 

Rabby

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  • Vetting suppliers can be a minefield and if like vast numbers of people you are use B2B sites as your source I suggest you read through my AMA thread
Also, thank you for the thread suggestion. I appreciate your experience and caution. If by B2B sites you mean those dropshipping sites, or alibaba or something, no... I find someone with a successful business relationship and ask them for a referral. Or I discover a business through a standard web search, and find out everything about them, down to whether or not the owners paid the property tax on their beach house. I'll read your post, it sounds interesting. Thanks again.
 

Shafir

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 25, 2018
6
10
15
Germany
It's not impossible that they could steal your product, but look at what the company is in business for as you evaluate this possibility. You are their customer. If they have lots of other customers who are happy, [edit: by which I mean you can verify first-hand, and they are long time customers. Discover the customers independently and call them.] then it normally means they are a legitimate company that produces things for customers. They wouldn't sacrifice those customers for a quick payoff, because in addition to being a terrible thing to do, it would cause them to lose all their customers.

@Shafir I suggest that if you want maximum protection for your idea you should have it made in Germany or another EU country where IP laws will be respected.

I have posted in my AMA quite a few times on this subject but see my latest one here: GOLD! - Sharing my lifetime experience in export/import. Product sourcing specialist.

Also, you should understand that if you are asking a manufacturer to make a product to your specifications, it would be extremely rare for them to agree to hold inventory for you and dropship.

Thank you so much for your insight from two different perspectives! It gave me some new ideas to think about. It will definitely help me to choose good suppliers and protect my products (at least for a while).
 

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