Imagine you are a stylish woman wanting a matching computer handbag and don´t like the leatherette, faux Louis Vuitton bags at the local computer store. You sketch out a square, bright pink leather handbag and suddenly think it´s so hot that it belongs in Macy´s. That was the realization of a twenty-four year old college graduate who turned to the Internet and spent the next four months researching potential manufacturing sites until she found Chinese-based firms who could handle her project. Three months down the road, she had a product and within a year her idea had become a reality.
But there is a better way"?¦If she´d known about a firm called US China Solutions she´d have reduced a four month cycle of finding a manufacturer, calling, faxing, emailing samples and making a trip down to a single phone call to an outsourcer. And furthermore, she´d have spent a loss less money if she´d created a revenue-sharing partnership up front, instead of paying all along the way.
Small Business Serving Small Businesses
US China Solutions is a consulting firm that acts as the outsourced gateway to all things China. Setting up facilities, operations and accounting, but on a smaller scale, providing introductions, walking product samples to and from factories and then making sure shipments are sent and received. In other words-one stop solution for a US-based small businessperson with an idea.
CEO Cortney Smith, says his Las Vegas-based firm is tailor made for small businesses who need representation in China, and that doesn´t have to be for orders of a million products.
"We can do things for even the smallest manufacturers." The ideas come in a week, and this is what Smith refers to as "pipe-dreamers´ and he´s seen the most off the wall ideas. Most notable was the lady who wanted to produce "popsicle gloves´ for kids. A small disposable plastic glove with a pocket in the palm to place your popsicle so the kids wouldn´t drip all over their hands. "I suppose some mother was tired of wiping up sticky walls from her kids."
Zero Down Partnership
I hypothesize that one of the reasons so many would-be entrepreneurs never turn the idea into a business is because of all the negative self-talk. "It will be too much money, take too long, take time away from my kids"?¦." US China Solutions eliminates at least the first negative.
Largely, US companies are ecstatic they have found a professional, results giving partner to source, prototype and deliver the product as scheduled. Those with experience know of the various pitfalls of sourcing from overseas. Over half our customers are companies who tried it on their own and rolled back to find a strategic partner like us.
One example is a guy in Utah builds a wooden rack for pool ball holders called the Perfect Rack. The product measures the ideal distance from the bumper of the pool table to the edge of the ball triangle rack. Its 11 7/8´s inches long and requires handcrafted work for staining and cutting. In that instance, Smith´s team coordinated the prototyping and delivered a sample and the customer solicited the orders. In this case, the prototyping took four months, but some take as little as two weeks. Smith says it all depends on the product line.
And to a degree, that determines the pricing of the partnership. Smith says the trend is that customers want to know the factor cost and take away the middleman fee. "But you can´t fully replace the service coordinator that needs to happen from the on-the-ground team to perform that to get it done successfully." Smith doesn´t want to be the middleman with the mysterious mark-up. US China Solutions approaches companies doing a large volume in purchasing like a recent situation involving the very sexy receptacle units-in normal speak-wall plugs. "We take the product in china-tooling, moldings, samples-testing, approved, then we gave at cost plus 8% and contracted to do a large volume." The partnership terms balance a guaranteed number of units with a percentage of the overall price tag.
US China Solutions is great for companies with multiple skews, or for custom-made. "We aren´t for solution where you can go to Wal-Mart and buy plastic cups." But being based in Vegas, he is the go-to man for all types of interesting things like "pimpin´ ho-balls, feather teasers, "appendages´, and interesting soaps of all kinds." We get the picture.
Taking the first Step
"We are flexible. Depending on the idea and product, we can balance the upfront money with some of the product revenues." This cuts down the risk and cash requirements for the small business, and allows Smith to participate in the upside if the product takes off. Of course, since Smith has been doing this for 20 years now, he should have a good eye as to what works and what doesn´t.
The best way to have Smith evaluate your idea (for free if via email or phone) is to contact him through his web site. In person evaluations cost $-time and travel. The percentage of the revenue he takes is dependent on the product, expected margins and volume.