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Prepare For Liftoff

I need guidance getting my product to a manufacturer.

This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Question: I have done extensive research for a new product that I would like to bring to the market. I plan to outsource its production, but how do I approach manufacturing companies to do so? How do I present myself and which questions should I ask?

Lisa Marie

New York City

Answer: Assuming your research has included a patent search as well as a market search, your next step is to prepare a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Before showing your new product to anyone-investor or manufacturer-you should get a signed NDA. If you don't have an attorney to prepare this for you, then have one review it. You shouldn't use another party's NDA, which usually favors its writer. Having a formal NDA may scare people, but most will realize you're serious and sophisticated enough to use the law to protect yourself against idea thieves. Use an NDA even if you've already obtained a patent-it's easy to modify a design.

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