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If you’re a truly creative and innovative individual, then you might have come with a product that you think will sell. Maybe it’s something that will make people happy, maybe it will solve a problem in their life, or perhaps it’s just something that makes their lives easier.

In any case, you’ve designed it, created a prototype, and gotten feedback about it. After a few tweaks, you’re ready to start making lots of them to make money wherever you can. However, you need someone to make it for you. As it turns out, finding the right manufacturing partner can be just as much of a process as creating a product to start with

In your hunt for a factory to make things, you might find that there are many different entities in the manufacturing world. Manufacturers are actual factories that make products, but you might also deal with distributors or wholesalers that buy products already made in volume before adding their own margin to the overall costs. Other middlemen include trading companies that have forged relationships with factories in particular product categories. Dropshippers supply products while also fulfilling orders for brands that already exist. There are also sourcing agents that might work with trading companies and wholesalers.

You may need to explore and make many different professional and personal connections before you find the specific resources that work best for your particular product. Along the way, you might have to make a decision about whether or not to get your manufacturing done domestically or overseas.

Both have pros and cons. Domestic production might mean more control over the quality. You can possibly even have faster turnaround times since the products wouldn’t have as far to travel from the factories to their markets. However, manufacturing costs can be higher.

Overseas manufacturing opens up a lot more options. In fact, most manufacturing now takes place outside the United States, so you’ll have no shortage of options. You’ll also find that overseas manufacturing can be a lot cheaper, so there is far more profit margin to be enjoyed. On the flip side, you’ll have to wait longer for products to be shipped into the country and processed at the border. There might also be local matters that taint the reputation of your product, whether it’s child labor, fair practices, political instability, or just environmental concerns.