How to Choose the Best Phone Case Manufacturer

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Image credit to Jordi Sanchez Teruel on Flickr

In many ways, communication technology has transformed the way we live. In fact, nowadays most people have at least one smartphone, tablet, or notebook. Mobile devices have become extensions of our professional and personal lives and can be found everywhere – in informal communication, in a business setting, in an academic environment, and … the list goes on. Knowing the substantial investment their devices represent, people often choose to place them in protective cases.

As a result of the popularity of mobile devices, a robust phone case industry has developed. Phone cases are no longer just protective items – they have now evolved to become a stylish and fashionable way for people to express themselves, thus creating more demand. Consequently, businesses that supply phone cases with unique designs, logos and text have sprung up. Device owners have responded well to the opportunity to use phone cases, both for protection and decoration.

New uses for phone cases have also gained traction in the market. Schools and businesses have begun purchasing cases emblazoned with their logos to identify their devices or to use them as promotional tools. Unsurprisingly, the phone case industry continues to enjoy rapid growth as companies find profitable ways to meet consumer and corporate demand. As some retailers, businesses and educational facilities require large quantities of cases, they need to find manufacturers who can supply them with the desired products.

If you are interested in starting your own retail business or supplying your company or school with cases for resale or promotional use, you can use this guide to get all the advice you need to get started well. The tips and steps you find here will help you avoid costly mistakes and teach you how to choose the best possible manufacturer to supply your needs.

Chapter one discusses phone case manufacturing and identifies the people who need to get a reliable supplier.

Chapter two describes all the things you need to know before you choose the right manufacturer. Considerations include artwork, material, design, and price.

Chapter three discusses resources to use for finding phone case manufacturers.

Chapter four tells you what to do as you contact manufacturers and guides you into asking the right questions to make the choices that are best for you.

Chapter five provides pointers for managing the manufacturing process. It helps you navigate the initial stages, getting samples, and refining the design. You will also learn about planning for the production and shipment of your product.

Chapter six guides you to the end result after you receive your custom cases and put them to use.

Chapter 1: Why You Need to Find a Great Phone Case Manufacturer

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Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are continuing to gain popularity, often at the expense of computers. Such devices are sensitive, however, and their high costs make them difficult to replace if they get damaged. An entire new industry has developed that provides mobile device users with an extra layer of protection that can help a device survive an accident. We are talking about phone cases and covers. Phone cases have also become a popular fashion statement where people can customize the look of their phone to fit their personality.

The high demand for phone cases has given many business owners a chance to meet the needs of mobile users while enjoying a profitable niche in the marketplace. Regardless of whether you aim to be a wholesaler or retailer, you can tap into the phone case market. To get started, you need to understand phone case manufacturing and find a great manufacturer to supply your phone case business.

What is Phone Case Manufacturing? 

Let us suppose you want to sell phone cases through your e-commerce site. Of course, someone needs to design and produce those phone cases so that you can supply your target market and meet the needs of both individual consumers and B2B customers.

Phone case manufacturing is done by companies who specialize in product design and process planning, and make phone cases out of a variety of materials. Common materials used for production include plastic, leather, silicone, and wood. Every different model of phone or tablet case requires a special design, requiring manufacturers to have the capability to customize their production.

By the time a phone case gets to an end user, the sale price usually lies in a range of twenty to eighty dollars. Market studies have showed that about three-quarters of all mobile device users buy a case, creating a multi-billion dollar market. With so much money on the table, you can understand why the phone case business has become such a hot trend.

Why Do You Need to Find a Phone Case Manufacturer?

Phone cases are purchased not only by individuals who want to protect and personalize their devices but also by stores, companies, educational facilities, and others. While some of them want to sell those trendy items further and make money on this growing market, others want to use them for promotional purposes. You might fall in one of those categories. If so, the following reasons will help explain why you must find the right manufacturer for your cases, regardless of the type of organization that you represent.

i. Retail

Strong consumer demand for phone cases makes them a natural fit in any online or traditional retail environment. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce site, you can sell phone cases at a high profit margin, which makes them a lucrative product.

Retailers can use phone cases to expand their product portfolio and create new opportunities to cross-sell to customers. Consumers, however, demand a high standard of quality for their phone cases, so you must choose a trustworthy manufacturer that will supply you with phone cases of which you can be proud. When you find the right manufacturer for your retail phone cases, you can create a mutually beneficial partnership.

ii. Corporate & Promotional Reasons

Businesses can use phone and tablet cases to protect the assets used by their employees. Moreover, custom cases with a corporate logo help identify devices that belong to a firm and thus promote team spirit within the organization. You can also supply your custom cases to employees for use on their private devices, giving them an added perk for working with your company.

If you own or manage a business, you might also want to buy phone and tablet covers for use as promotional items. For example, you can give away your branded cases for free in exchange for a minimum order or you can distribute them at trade fairs and sponsored community events. As a result of your giving away free cases bearing the name, logo, and contact information for your business, you get mobile users to become brand ambassadors who can spread awareness of your company everywhere they go.

iii. Education

Virtually every school and university uses devices that can benefit from cases and covers, so educational institutions can become natural customers who need a reliable phone case manufacturer.

The cases can be ordered with the school’s name and logo to identify and protect school property. Also, schools can sell their branded phone cases to students to promote school spirit. So, if you work in such an institution, it might be a wise idea to find a manufacturer who can supply you with high-quality, aesthetically appealing covers.

You need to find a great phone case manufacturer, regardless of whether you operate a retail store, commercial company, or school. When your phone cases combine impeccable quality with a unique design and a customized appearance, you will have a product that can reward you with lucrative profits, spread awareness of your brand, or promote educational spirit.

Chapter 2: Knowing What You Want

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Image credit to Jan Krummrey on Flickr

Before you begin searching for the phone manufacturer that suits you best, you need to know several things. If you don’t spend time understanding what you want, you will have difficulty refining your search and you could end up choosing a manufacturer that is incompatible with your business goals.

Resist the temptation to skip the planning stages and improve your chances of finding the ideal manufacturing partner by knowing what exactly you want. So, remember to keep some important thigs in mind in this initial stage, and here are several considerations to guide you.

Style of Cases

The style of cases that you are looking for will directly affect your choice of a phone case manufacturer. If you are unsure about what kind of style you want, spend some time looking at the products that are currently on the market. If you are a retailer, for example, you can also spend time researching your market to find out what your future clients want in a phone case. Several aspects of style can influence your choice.

i. Design of Artwork for Cases

Think about what kind of artwork you need for your cases. What do you want your cases to look like? If you need them for the corporate world, you might want to have folios emblazoned with corporate logos. Similarly, cases designed for school environments might involve rugged cases that bear the name of the school. Regardless of the environment in which your cases will be used, you must consider their visual appearance.

Consider the size of the logo and letters printed on your cases and understand the various available methods for customizing them. Also, consider the background colors you can use as well as any images that can be imprinted on your items. Some manufacturers will even work with you to help you find the artwork that matches your style.

ii. Industrial Design (ID)

Your manufacturing partner will help you achieve an appropriate balance among ID factors such as value, appearance, and function. You might have to make some concessions on your ideal style to either accommodate the capabilities of your manufacturer or to control your costs. As you negotiate, remember that new design elements might require your manufacturer to create new molds, materials, and tools to accommodate your requests. Not every manufacturer has the capability of developing an entirely new ID with you and those that do might charge substantial setup fees.

iii. Additional Features

Decide what special features you want for your cases. For example, you might want to offer designs that rotate to give your case an edge over competing products. Other possible additional features might include some that you have already seen on the market, such as flip cases or wallet cases.

There are also other functional and decorative elements that enhance the value of your products, so learn about your options and choose the ones that complement the rest of your style.

Material of Cases

You can choose to make your cases from a variety of materials. Remember, however, that your choice of material might affect the number of manufacturers that are available to you. You have probably already seen cases made from popular materials such as gel, leather, or hard materials, and each of those have their advantages.

Gel, for example, provides a protective layer for phones and tablets. Such cases absorb shock and don’t crack easily. Also, gel cases are flexible and easy to hold.

Leather and faux leather give phone users a luxurious and professional image. Leather can also reflect well on a brand, making it perfect for cases used for businesses.

Hard cases made from plastics and resins strengthen mobile devices and provide added protection against impact and scratches. Such rigged cases reflect well on brands and offer peace of mind to users.

These are only a few examples to choose from, but the important thing is to know that the material of cases is an important thing to consider.

Quantity of Cases

Manufacturers will accommodate more special requests for style and material as your quantity ordered increases. You must, therefore, have an idea about how many cases you will order before you start looking for a manufacturer.

If you only need a dozen cases for your employees, for example, you will pay a higher price per item and have fewer customization options. If you order 1,000 cases at a time for your e-store, you will probably get a lower price per item and more options for their style and material. If you need to order cases for an entire generation of students, you can expect to have even more choices. Either way, know your numbers so you can find the manufacturer who is best able to accommodate your needs.

Price 

Your market and competitive research should tell you what price you can charge for your phone cases if you intend to sell them. In that case, you should provide the highest-quality possible for the price you put on each item. However, this is also determined by your own budget – there will probably be manufacturers which you simply cannot afford.

As you search for a manufacturing partner, you might find one that meets all your requirements for style, options, and material, but the price might be too high. Still, don’t automatically eliminate high-priced manufacturers because many of them offer high-quality products and lifetime warranties that might justify the price. And sometimes a little negotiation can go a long way.

When You Need Your Cases

Timing is also an important factor – it can affect the price and availability of your phone cases. For example, if you wait until the last minute to place your orders for the Christmas rush, for example, you might have to pay a higher price, if you can get them at all. Plan your purchases well in advance so that you can meet demands for the holidays, the new school year, or other anticipated periods of high demand. When you get your orders in early, you get all the options you want as well as the lowest possible price. Also, you receive your product with enough time to market it to your customers, or distribute it to the people for whom they are intended.

All things considered, before you search for a phone case manufacturer, you should spend some time planning the style, material, quality, and price that will work best for you. You should also make sure to have enough time for everything and plan your order well in advance. After that, you can start searching for a manufacturer that can deliver cases that meet your requirements.

Chapter 3: Researching Phone Case Manufacturers

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Now that you know what you want with regards to your phone cases, you will be able to begin your search for the manufacturer that will best suit you. You should expect to invest a lot of effort into the research and selection of a vendor to supply your needs – it is of utmost importance to find the best possible manufacturer.

Use the following tips to learn where to look for a manufacturing partner. Afterwards, you should study the deals that are available to you and then build your preferred suppliers list.

Where to Look for Phone Case Manufacturers

Someone new to the phone case industry might not know where to begin looking for a manufacturing partner. Get started using the following resources. As soon as you begin your search, the number of available suppliers that you find might surprise you.

i. Internet

Open your favorite search engine and type in the following search phrases to find manufacturers that can supply your business:

– phone case manufacturer
– phone case supplier
– phone case manufacturers list, etc.

If necessary, you can narrow your search to geographic regions by appending “USA” or another country or region to your search. For example, you can add “China” to your search phrase to discover a plethora of quality phone case manufacturers located in China. Besides using search engines for your internet search, you should also peruse social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to find phone case manufacturers.

ii. Directories

Website submission services described as “directories” maintain categorized lists of firms that serve particular industries and markets. Thomasnet.com, for example, is a searchable directory that you can use to find possible phone case suppliers for your company.

iii. Referrals

One of the best ways to find a reliable manufacturer is to ask a company in the phone case business about the manufacturer that they use. Although some businesses want to keep such information private, many will gladly share the names of their preferred vendors as well as tips for establishing a strong relationship.

Other sources for referrals include anyone who has experience in the phone case industry including resellers and consultants who have inside information as to which companies to either trust or avoid.

You might not, of course, know any experts in the phone case business, so you have to trust referrals that come from strangers. For example, you can extend your search by checking social media and other sites for informative customer reviews of phone case manufacturers.

Study Everything in Detail

When you operate a business, practically anything can go wrong, so take as few chances as possible with your selection of the right phone case manufacturer. As you narrow your list of potential suppliers, visit the websites operated by each manufacturer and search social media profiles to find details about each one. Some of the information you should look for includes:

Pricing. You can rule out some manufacturers if their products and services are too expensive for your budget.

Products. Investigate each manufacturer on your list to see if they can supply you with the type of products that you have decided to sell. You can eliminate from consideration the suppliers who cannot give you what you want.

Quality. Pay attention to the descriptions of the processes and materials used by each manufacturer. Also, look for online customer reviews that attest to their quality of service as well as the quality of their manufactured goods. You should also see if anyone has complained about a manufacturer’s delivery time.

Descriptions. Avoid making assumptions about manufacturers who only vaguely describe their products and services. Unless you can speak to them and get a clear understanding of what they offer you, take them off your list.

Other concerns. Some manufacturers might offer free delivery, which might justify a higher price than what other suppliers offer. Also, some companies might not deliver to your location, helping to rule out other prospective vendors. As you near a final decision, you can rate manufactures well if they offer a money-back guarantee or offer in-house design services.

Make a List of Preferred Suppliers 

After checking referrals, searching the web, and evaluating social media, you can now reduce the number of prospective manufacturers to a short list of possibilities. Choose only the companies that you find both fit and attractive, and add them to your list of preferred suppliers. Make sure you record important information about each name including whether they are a foreign or domestic company, contact data, pricing data, and others.  Don’t forget to include your notes about the quality and design of the phone cases they offer.

In conclusion, the research you do while searching for and evaluating phone case manufacturers will help you get started with a reliable company that can supply you with the products you want at a price that fits your budget. At this stage, you now have the information you need to contact each of your preferred suppliers and get to know them better. Congratulate yourself – you are a step closer to your goal.

Chapter 4: Contacting Phone Case Manufacturers and Selecting the Best One

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Now that you have created a list of preferred suppliers, you need to move forward by contacting each of them to get the specific details of the services they have to offer. Such conversations will govern your final choices, so make sure you ask good questions to get all the answers you need. The following tips will help you learn how to contact phone case manufacturers and choose the best one for your new venture.

Contacting Phone Case Manufacturers 

Your initial contact with a phone case manufacturer can take one of the many available communication channels. You will probably want to make contact via telephone or email first and then, as you become acquainted, find out if you can chat on Skype or arrange a video call. You can, of course, choose to make contact through social media by leaving questions for manufacturers on their social media profile.

You have already learned much about the phone case industry while you were researching, so make sure you use your knowledge to intelligently talk with prospective suppliers. You should, for example, use the terms used by companies in the businesses to avoid misunderstandings. In other words, always try to speak their language. Moreover, use your experience to make sure you find out all the information that is vital to your ability to compare suppliers and choose the one that have the best chance of meeting your needs.

What Questions to Ask Them? 

What most like concerns you is quality because you want to get the best possible phone cases for their final purpose. For example, if you are a retailer and want to sell them, you will probably have your customers’ needs in mind. Maybe you want to have high-quality cases containing a logo of your company as a means of promoting it. In any case, you should ask every manufacturer whether they have acquired certifications from quality standards such as ISO 9001 or 14001. Quality certifications are especially important for manufacturers in countries such as China.

You should also inquire as to the financial stability of the company although many firms might not give you honest answers. Still, you need to have confidence that your suppliers will stay around for a while to minimize the time you might spend identifying and vetting replacements. When necessary, use online and traditional resources to verify the answers you receive.

You also need to discuss how products are made before you spend too much time discussing other matters. Find out about the manufacturing techniques used by the firm and how those processes impact the quality of their final product. Often, the size of your order can affect the way a company will make your cases.

After you learn about the quality of phone cases, stability of the company and production techniques used by a prospective supplier, ask about other available services. If a company offers graphic design and packaging services, for example, they can streamline the process of bringing your phone cases to market if they can do your printing in-house before shipping the products to you. Of course, you must ask about the additional costs that are associated with extra services.

Other important issues to discuss include:

Minimum order policies. Some manufacturers will not accept an order for less than a prescribed quantity of an item. In many cases, the cost per item will decrease as the quantity of goods that you order increases.

Timing. Ask about typical lead times and manufacturing times, so you know how early you must place your orders should you choose a particular manufacturer.

Samples. Inquire about the sample product policy of every manufacturer that you contact. You should be able to get initial samples early into the process and then pre-production samples that guide your design and expectations.

Sample prices. Find out what price you will have to pay for the samples. Although some companies offer free samples, some might charge you for it.

Picking the Right Manufacturer 

Contacting potential manufacturers for your phone cases requires that you spend time learning what questions most matter to you. Asking the right questions will help you narrow your search for acceptable phone case manufacturers. Use the information you gain to narrow your list of manufacturers until you have several prospects that can meet your requirements.

Prioritize your list based on price, quality and other metrics so that you can decide which one you prefer. When you finally choose the most suitable manufacturer, make sure you have one or two manufacturers as a backup in case something goes wrong with the first one.

Next, you will learn some tips for managing the manufacturing process.

Chapter 5: Managing the Manufacturing Process

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You have chosen the manufacturer of your dreams (or at least the one that is close enough), but the story is far from over – you must now negotiate acceptable terms such as pricing, delivery, and payment method. Also, you should manage the manufacturing process to make sure that you get the products that match your specifications. You can use the following steps to guide you through the manufacturing process.

Get Initial Samples

Ask your manufacturer to send you some initial samples so you can really attest to the quality of their products. Doing this will help you see if their products really meet your specifications and give you a chance to ask for corrections before your order goes into full production mode. Such a process is part of the quality control process that lasts through the entire production run. If you are unhappy with the samples you receive, you can either give your manufacturer a chance to re-run the batch or try a different supplier from your list.

Agree on the Design

As you evaluate your samples and review your design, you will probably collaborate more with your manufacturer than you have until this point. You will need to share every detail about your product with your supplier, including the dimensions, colors and artwork associated with your phone cases. If you have a lot of reconciliation to do between your expectations and the initial samples that you received, you might need to get advice from your manufacturer as well as their design services.

Pre-production Samples

After you resolve any outstanding issues regarding your initial samples, you will need to ask for pre-production samples. These should closely resemble the design of the product after implementing the changes identified during the previous step. If the sample deviates too much from your final design, you will need to collaborate with your manufacturer again to identify and make necessary changes. If you make any major changes, you should ask for more pre-production samples before giving the final go-ahead for the production.

Full Production

After you have approved your final pre-production samples, your phone cases will enter full production. During this time, you will need to maintain regular communication with your manufacturer to resolve any problems such as delays or variances from the agreed-upon specifications. If the manufacturer experiences any major problems during production, you need to be ready to work together to find ways to mitigate the inconvenience.

Shipping

The means of shipping and its cost are very important. When you order with enough lead time, you can enjoy low-cost shipping options such as transport by sea for items coming from China. If you get squeezed for time, you will need to take advantage of air freight options.

If you have a surge in demand, such as during the holiday season, you might need to depend on an alternate manufacturer located in your country. Such an option, of course, can result in higher production costs, but you can at least quickly receive supplemental shipments via domestic ground and air services.

Make sure that your manufacturer properly packages your phone cases to match the mode of shipping you have chosen in order to avoid damage to your items in transit.

Some General Negotiation Tips

Your relationship with your manufacturer can fail at any stage, so you should always have a backup supplier available. Manufacturers who know that you can easily buy from a competing firm will be more responsive to your needs. Also, make sure you thoroughly understand the price you are paying and what you should expect in return, so that you can intelligently negotiate pricing and other details.

Although you expect your supplier to fulfill their obligations under the agreements you have made, remember that you also need to keep your part of the deal. Your stellar reputation as a buyer can make you a valued customer and increase the strength of your negotiating position. Finally, remember to pay attention to the fact your supplier is represented by a person, so make sure to build professional yet cordial relationships.

Managing the manufacturing process requires discipline, time, and attention. Never assume that you will automatically receive exactly what you ordered. Instead, pay attention to initial samples and persist in making sure that you and your supplier arrive at satisfactory agreements regarding design changes, pricing, and packaging. Meanwhile, try to learn some basic negotiating tactics to ensure that you always get the best possible deal.

Chapter 6: The Final Product – Your Very Own Custom Cases

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Image credit to Tim Gerland on Flickr

When you receive your initial shipment of phone cases from your manufacturer, you are close to being ready to open your business. Before putting your product up for sale, distributing it to business and academic clients, or distributing it to end users as part of a promotion, you need to proceed in a cautious and methodical way. The following steps will serve as a guide to help you process and manage your final product.

Last Checkup

Amidst the excitement of receiving your first shipment, remember that you must maintain sound business practices. Rather than rushing to sell or distribute your phone cases, perform some vital last-minute tasks. You should, for example, open your shipment as soon as possible to inspect the goods that you have received.

Make sure that everything matches the quantity and specifications of your order. Check the printing for the correct design and spelling. If any discrepancies exist, you will need to contact your supplier and work together to find a satisfactory resolution to the problem. Also, you should enter your order into your bookkeeping and accounting system so you can create accurate records for your business.

Putting Your Cases to Use 

After checking your order and adding it to your inventory, you can now start putting them to use. Regardless of whether you sell your phone cases from physical or virtual shelves, distribute your phone cases as part of a company promotion, or use them in classrooms, you can finally have confidence that your phone cases have the right quality and design.

Your brand of phone cases can now be seen in educational and corporate environments as well as in your private life. If you need them for corporate and educational purposes, use the experience gained from your first order to improve the accuracy of your delivery estimates. If you operate a store, monitor your inventory and make sure that you reorder your phone cases well enough in advance to keep your store stocked.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Partnership? 

Beginning with your initial research and continuing through the availability of your finished product, you have completed all the necessary steps for choosing (and potentially keeping) the best phone case manufacturer. The plans, processes and systems you now have in place can serve you continually as you potentially reorder your products.

Continue developing your relationship with your manufacturing partner if you are satisfied with them. As a result, you will have a dependable supply of phone cases and a source for designing and producing new products as your demand grows. You will also develop mutual trust between you and your suppliers that can result in better terms for future orders. To protect yourself, however, you should keep your list of preferred suppliers updated – you never know when or why you might need them.

To conclude, remember that your product, along with the service you provide, communicates the mission and values of your company. Regardless of whether you sell your phone cases or use them for other purposes, the effort you invested in the planning stages will result in an impressive return on investment.

Conclusion

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Image credit to HolgersFotografie on Pixabay

You have just gone through all the necessary steps for finding your perfect phone case manufacturer, whether in the USA, China, or elsewhere. As you have learned, you begin the process by learning about the industry, determining what you want, and starting your research. After that, you need to identify the potential manufacturers who can supply you with phone cases that include your desired design, material, artwork, and quality.

More specifically, after learning about the phone case business and planning your strategy, you must search for potential manufacturers who can preferably work with you to design and decorate your cases and then produce them to meet your optimum balance between quality and price. As you narrow your search, you will create a preferred vendor list that includes the companies that seem best suited to meet your needs. You must always pay attention to factors such as available design and printing services and whether the manufacturer is located inside or outside your country.

As you refine your search and choose your primary source for manufacturing, you must ask the right questions to make sure you get phone cases that match your specifications. Although you might be excited when your first order arrives, you should stay focused enough to properly finish your job. For example, you must count the number of cases received to verify the quantity, review the printing, and make sure the product matches your specifications.

Regardless of whether you order cases, covers, skins, sleeves or other accessories, you must make sure that you get the best possible quality of items for the money you have to spend. Failure to choose an excellent manufacturer can result in production delays, inferior products, and the need to repeat the time-consuming process for vendor selection. Choosing the wrong manufacturer can result in products that look bad and fail to properly fit their intended device.

Retailers can suffer much from the sale of poorly manufactured products. Low-quality items can prompt a high rate of returns and result in unsatisfied customers who will shop somewhere else. Low-quality goods may also cause problems for businesses which use them for promotional purposes because they reflect poorly on their brand. Educational institutions that receive poorly manufactured phone cases suffer because their academic brand becomes associated with damaged devices.

For all these reasons, spend adequate amount of time planning your order, designing your product, and finding the best manufacturer. If you do so, you will finally get great phone cases that meet the demands of your market or that create a positive reputation for your brand. In other words, you should follow the tips listed in this guide to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

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