This has been a very, very painful lesson for me to learn. It has been costly, very costly, and such a big headache.
You must be extremely detailed and specific when communicating any instructions.
I know that I already said it, but again…this has been very painful! I have a bad tendency to assume. I assume that someone understands what I am trying to get across. I generally assume that people know what they are doing in their job and do it well (or at least better than myself!).
I am slowly learning to be as detailed as I possibly can, in order to make my expectations clear and understood. Below are a few specific recommendations that I have regarding manufacturing and vendors.
1. Try to find multiple uniform samples (paint chips work well) of colors that you would like to use and give those samples to everyone that will be working with any aspect of your product, packaging, and print material.
2. Keep all creative aspects of your project as close to you as possible, do not assume that a factory in another country will be able to expand on your ideas. You are best to send CAD or other finalized plans to a foreign factory. Do not give them any room to guess. Factories are good at following specific directions, not creating.
3. Again, this is the same with colors. You can not just say “brighten” a color or “darken” a color. You should send a swatch of exactly what you want, or pick a pantone color that they can see.
4. With working relationships, write down your expectations of what they will do for you. Make sure that you both fully understand the work to be done and the expected costs associated.
5. Keep a running communication journal. Record every conversation in writing that you have related to business. Write down what they say AND what you say. This method has saved many people from major law suit.
Note: Business woman image courtesy of pdclipart.org.