Small Business Brief

Entrepreneurship, Manufacturing

Sell the Experience: 5 Lessons You Can Learn from Taking a Factory Tour

You could sit in your office, doing the same thing you’ve always done. Getting the same results you’ve always got. Or you could get out there and get inspired.

If you’re an entrepreneur wanting inspiration, business connections, and looking for more revenue sources, factory tours are for you.

If you’re ready to learn new ways of doing things and solidify relationships with suppliers, we’ve got the guide for you. For 5 lessons you can learn from taking a factory tour, read on!

A Factory Tour – Really?

For many of us, the idea of a factory tour might bring up images of dusty, boring sheds full of machinery and noise. Childhood memories of trailing behind our parents begging to do something more interesting. A lot has changed since we were kids, and factory tours are now the hottest ticket in town!

If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s time to think differently about factory tours. You won’t believe what you have to gain from them. 

5 Lessons You Can Learn from a Factory Tour

Factory tours can teach you a whole lot more than how things are made. The 5 lessons we’ve got here are just a start.

1. What’s Possible Today

Maybe, just maybe, you already know everything there is to know about your industry, your suppliers, and manufacturing processes. You can stay in your office and kick up your feet. The rest of us mere mortals are still learning every day, especially in the age of digital disruption.

If you’re ready to see new materials, new AI processes and consider new supplier possibilities, you can get the knowledge you need on a factory tour. A factory tour can get you thinking about what exactly is possible in manufacturing today.

2. Business Connections Are Everything

Nothing is more important in business than relationships and trust. Why not get closer with your suppliers or potential suppliers by taking a tour of their factory? It gives you an opportunity to know the product inside out, to better answer your customers’ questions in the future.

If they manufacture for more companies, you can get a better sense of what they’re capable of doing to consider new product lines down the track. Perhaps you’re wanting to check that they really are sourcing organic and fair-trade materials like they’ve promised you.

Get in there on the factory floor and take a look. You could also use a factory tour strategy to make new connections – potential suppliers, partners, or even to check out what the competition is doing! To maximize the relationship advantage of a tour, use the time to ask questions and take down their contact details if they’re willing to share so you can be in touch in future. 

3. Innovate and Cross-Pollinate for the Win

Factory tours can help give you some fresh ideas. Just getting up away from your desk and getting to know some other people in your industry, or a similar industry. How are they solving your biggest challenges?

How did they scale? How well do they listen to customers and accommodate their requests? You’ll be surprised how you can be inspired and influenced on a tour even if it’s not directly in your line of work. 

4. How to Monetize Production

If you’re already a manufacturer, a factory tour can give you ideas how to monetize this aspect of the business. If you make a craft beer, could you add a tour and tasting to your outfit to generate additional revenue? If you make chocolate or ice cream, could you give tours and some tasty samples for people to walk away with?

By taking a variety of factory tours you’ll get some ideas how to make some extra money. And add to the public awareness of your brand.

5. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

Despite the world of digital marketing out there, the most effective advertising is still word-of-mouth. Taking factory tours can teach you the way you could do something similar to increase the positive feelings people have about your brand. You can take tours to see what sorts of giveaways they have.

If you make a product that’s hard to give away as a sample on its own, perhaps you could have cooking classes on site using your product in the process if it’s cookware, or your recipe if it’s fresh produce. Going on factory tours, and hosting your own, is all about community engagement. Getting your product out there, talking with suppliers, answering customers questions up close and personal.

It’s a wonderful way to be able to communicate your story direct to customers. One thing is for sure, before taking a tour, you’ll want to define your objectives. This will help you choose the most appropriate tour for your needs, and ensure you’re getting the most out of your experience. 

Hosting Your Own Tours

If you like the idea of hosting your own factory tour, you’ll need some tips on how to go about it. Our advice is to first research what’s out there on offer. Visit a variety of factory tours, from food and wine to machinery and plant tours.

What do they offer on the tour, how engaging are their histories and anecdotes, and what did they gift as a memento? Which of these could you do? Which of these could you improve on?

You might try a one-off factory tour as an event. If space allows you could host a picnic on site, have a band and kids entertainment. It’ll depend a lot on your product and your target audience.

The Factory Tour Awaits!

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve still got room to learn and improve your business. A factory tour gives you that. It lets you mix with new business people, get ideas, be inspired.

It’s a smart way to do some due diligence on suppliers or potential suppliers. A good way to get a sense of how the products you sell are made so you can answer all your customers’ questions in the future. You could also take the tours as research on how you might host your own factory tours.

All that’s left is to get out there and explore! If you liked this article, you’ll love the other business articles on our website. Check out more advice for entrepreneurs on our website today!