Starting a business might seem fairly simple; it is. Building a sustainable business is certainly a different story. As a business grows, increased demand creates challenges. For example, there are times of the year where capacity needs to increase seasonally or may increase unexpectedly.
Most businesses want to ensure that they can always deal with increased demand for their products and services. This might mean holding more stock, upgrading to a bigger warehouse, and even employing more staff. Here are some things to consider before taking any of these actions.
Focus on the quality of your supply chain and not necessarily the current stock level that you have. If you have a range of quality suppliers, you will usually be able to get items delivered to you the next day. For large orders being shipped to one consumer, the supplier might even ship direct, which will save one day in the supply process.
Remember, most consumers do expect their items within 1-2 days, so you either need to hold stock or have a supplier that can act quickly. A good supplier will deliver the next day providing that orders are placed by around 1 p.m their time.
Holding stock might seem like a much easier option. The problem is picking out the items to hold in stock can be difficult. All you can really do is choose the best sellers. If you try and have a full stock holding and have thousands of products, you could end up with stock that never sells = dead money. This money would be much better invested in sales and marketing or into bulk deals for best sellers.
If you are a business that is seasonal, or has spikes in demand, then it might be worth considering using a drop shipper. A drop shipper will basically send your items on a white label basis. Basically, your consumer will assume that the products have come directly from your warehouse, but you never stocked them.
The great thing is that you will never even have to touch the product. You can place the order with the drop shipper and they will send your item directly to the end consumer. This obviously saves time unpacking, repacking and arranging delivery which can be extremely helpful during times where supply needs to be increased dramatically.
Whenever there is a chance to buy in bulk, a business owner needs to take it. A bulk deal, in comparison to a one off deal, could save a business owner 10-20% and sometimes even more. This is certainly the case when it comes to packaging materials. If the busy times of the year are already known in advance, then it is going to be worth planning ahead and making sure that you have more than enough in terms of packing materials.
Packaging Material Suppliers will usually have quantity breaks, so there
will be discounts available, regardless of the size of your business.
Obviously, only buy in bulk items that you are definitely going to use. This might include things like bubble wrap, packing tape, cardboard boxes and plastic pallet boxes – anything you can use up eventually if not immediately.
One of the largest expenses for any business are employees. If your sales increase for major events or seasonal sales, consider hiring part time or temporary help. You can use a temp agencies to locate new staff.
Even better, you may be able to find someone you already know who does not want to work full time, but would like some extra income during the holidays or intermittently. They could learn what you need done, and step in when you or others are sick or busy, or when increased demand requires additional manpower.
Another form of temporary help when cash flow is low is factoring. In the trucking industry for example, freight factoring is popular when cash is needed between invoice collections.
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