How can dropshippers make the jump to brand building – and exit successful brands seamlessly?

Kian Golzari dropped this knowledge at a recent Affiliate World event, and now we get to share them with you.

👐 Step 1: Diversify Your Risk

The dropshipping and affiliate model means that you’re selling someone else’s services or products. In other words, even though you’re doing a healthy share of the work, the products get all of the attention.

This essentially means that your brand is only as good as your last offer. (And if your last offer tanks, you’re forced to dig yourself out and start again.)

After working within this system (and getting tired of it), Kian decided to pivot and build a brand by offering physical products of his own. This allowed him to diversify his risk and leverage a successful track record of product launches to build brand equity.

🔎 Stage 2: Find the Right Production Partner

Kian built his brand using Chinese manufacturing, but he recommends an extensive analysis phase to find the right production partner if you go this route.

He used to find a verified manufacturer that had already worked with the right markets, impressive quality standards, years of selling experience, and the right core products – even the factory’s location has to be in the right place for the relationship to work.

alibaba - location

If you want to broaden your search beyond Chinese manufacturers, another of Kian’s favorite tools for sourcing product makers is a website called Import Yeti. This free tool scrapes information from bills of lading, which the US requires shippers to post publicly, and puts it into a searchable database.

Import Yeti makes it easy to find top manufacturers around the world because it includes the names of the companies who placed the orders. All you have to do is search for a top provider in your vertical of choice and Import Yeti will provide the suppliers of origin and their import duty rate.

Finally, wherever your manufacturer is, you’ll need to present a compelling case for them to work with you. In Kian’s experience, the most effective way to secure a manufacturing partner is by emphasizing your long-term goals. These factories want steady work, and if you can leverage your own market position and longevity as positive indicators, they’re more likely to be interested in a relationship with your company.

🚪 Stage 3: Building Brand Equity For an Exit

Once you’ve started producing and selling products under your own brand name, your business will look much more profitable to aggregators who are looking to acquire ecommerce brands.

If you want to increase the multiple of your exit, Kian says you need to focus on three things:

  • The size of your audience (the larger the better)
  • The growth potential of your audience (can you keep launching products?)
  • The defensibility of your products (why will this offer continue to perform?)

When you put all of the pieces together – target audience, branded product, trusted manufacturer, an effective sales funnel, and a reliable platform – you’ll have everything you need to jumpstart your brand and position it for a lucrative exit.