Retail Distribution, Contract Manufacturing, and More Answers to Business Questions

Photograph by Liz Banfield/Getty Images

Questions about business challenges are streaming in from readers who are taking advantage of my Smart Answers column, in which I interview experts and distill their insights into answers. I’m also receiving questions I have addressed before. Rather than duplicate what I’ve already done, I’ve compiled answers to a handful of recent questions below. Enjoy.

1. Question: My partner and I have several great products we sell at farmers markets and by e-mail and word of mouth. The products are health-conscious seasonings, sauces, and a few other items. We want to distribute to some of the store chains. Where and how do we start?

Answer: Read Why Food Startups Are Getting Hot and Get Your Product to Retailers and Distributors.

2. Question: We need help finding a manufacturer to produce our invention. Where can we look?

Answer: Read Find a Manufacturer for Your Invention and Finding a U.S. Manufacturer to Make Your Product Idea.

3. Question: Do you know any shoemakers that make sandals in the U.S.?

Answer: Read When Designers Want Their Clothes ‘Made in the USA.’

4. Question: I have an invention that protects against hands and fingers being caught in garage doors. I’ve done all the research and filed the provisional patent application. I have a prototype and have consulted on the manufacturing of the product. I will now complete the business plan. Where can I look for funding?

Answer: Read Where to Find Funding for Your New Business.

5. Question: How can I structure a bonus plan for my company?

Answer: Read How to Structure a Bonus Plan.

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