Tips for Start-ups

The BCMPA plays a major role in helping start-ups to get their projects off the ground. With a wealth of experience in contract manufacturing, contract packing, fulfilment, logistics and supply chain management, our accredited members are adept at providing practical advice and the benefit of their expertise in bringing products to market. Projects do of course have to work for both parties, so here are a few tips to help you prepare properly and ensure that you engage with your outsourcing partner in the right way from the start.

Background Planning

  • Have you written a business plan?
  • Have you defined your target market and do you have a USP which differentiates you from the competition?
  • What volumes constitute a viable business for you?
  • Do you have the financial backing in place to support growth?


  • We would strongly recommend you setting up a business email. For example doesn’t convey a professional message.
  • If possible, commission a website, even if it’s only a holding page and ensure that it looks professional.

Minimum Order Quantities

  • MOQs are key because they determine the initial cost of the services provided or the unit price per item, to get the project into production. In addition the packaging materials, ingredients or components will all have MOQs.
  • For manufacturing/filling projects there will be set-up and clean-down charges. These will apply whether there are 100 or a million units, so that cost needs to be factored in.
  • For some products, laboratory or stability testing may have to be conducted, so these will need to be accounted for too.
  • For food projects, ascertaining shelf life is critical. You don’t want to commit to an MOQ of say 5000 units, to find that they haven’t been sold by the sell-by date.  Be aware that organic recipes may have a shorter shelf life (preservatives are there for a reason).
  • It is important to appreciate that new product development and trial runs may be expensive and that they form part of your investment programme in the business. Bear in mind that volumes need to be sufficient to make it worthwhile for the contractor. 


  • Part of the value of using an outsourcing partner is that they will have experience of the quality issues surrounding a type of product. Sometimes aesthetics will be important, for example using the best packaging format and labelling to create a desire for customers to buy your product.  In other cases, such as food or personal care, there may be specific regulations that need to be complied with in the manufacture, performance or labelling of the product.
  • Where applicable, it is advisable to use a contractor who holds the necessary Certifications for your product.
  • Certifications are listed on our Search Members page.

What to do next

  • Use the search facility on our SEARCH MEMBERS page to shortlist members with the services you require.  Each member has a profile page showing their capabilities, contact information and a link to their website.
  • You can also search via GUIDE TO SERVICES or MAP OF MEMBERS.
  • Alternatively, please use our free online SEND A PROJECT ENQUIRY form.

Once you have a shortlist of possible members for your project, we would always recommend that you make a site visit to see the facility, meet the team face to face and satisfy yourself that they can provide the services you need.  Members’ expertise and experience will provide you with a valuable insight as to the best options to pursue.

Finally a reminder that the strategy of using professional outsourcing partners, will leave you free to focus on the ‘fun’ bit of going out there selling your product and building your new business.  We wish you every success!