Growing your small business may have been a top goal that you have worked hard to achieve over the years. Now that business is booming, you understandably may be feeling some significant growing pains. Many small businesses are poorly equipped to handle a sudden and sharp spike in demand or in the ability to handle the increased supply that is required to meet that demand. While you may be stressed about how to handle your current situation, the good news is that there are a few steps you can take to more easily manage the growth and take advantage of enhanced profits in the process.
Hire a Fulfillment Center to Handle the Demand
One of your most significant challenges associated with the increased demand may relate to having enough manpower in-house to complete the required tasks in a timely manner. You also may not have enough space available to complete the required tasks in-house. A smart idea is to use a fulfillment center to handle the increased demand. When you outsource the work to a reputable company, you can rest assured that all of your orders will be completed promptly so that your customers can be served as needed. There are several cost-effective and reliable fulfillment services that you can consider using.
Explore Alternative Suppliers
There may be instances when some suppliers are not equipped to keep up with the increased demand that you have for parts and materials. You must always think ahead and communicate openly with your suppliers. Verify that they have the in-house capability to meet your increased demand, and always have a backup plan to turn to if some of your suppliers are no longer able to fully meet all of your needs. Having a backup plan in place can prevent the incidence of having a lag in production if supplies are not available from one of your suppliers.
Hire Part-Time or Contract Labor
While you may hire a fulfillment center to assist with some of your tasks, you may still need additional support inside the office, such as in human resources, accounting, marketing and other areas. You could hire a full-time team to support your growing needs, but this is often burdensome to your budget. Furthermore, you may not be certain that you have an on-going need for a full-time employee or enough work to fill an entire 40-hour work week on a regular basis. Consider hiring a part-time or contract laborer to assist with some tasks as a cost-effective alternative.
Examine Financial Solutions
Financial challenges can be intense when your business is growing rapidly, and this is particularly true if you operate on an invoice-based accounts receivable process. You may need to dramatically increase in-house support and infrastructure as well as purchase more supplies and equipment, but you may not have an increase in accounts receivable income for several months. You must find a way to pay your higher current bills in a timely manner, and there are several funding sources to think about. For example, applying for a small business loan or taking out a loan on your invoices may be good ideas. Crowdfunding and silent partners may also work well to address your current financial needs.
How you manage your current growth can play a major role in the overall success of your company. You must actively create a strategic plan to handle the growth that you are experiencing, and these are all great ideas to consider when addressing specific growth-related issues. Because each situation is unique, you should determine your needs and analyze your budget. You should also think ahead and plan for even more growth so that you are prepared for the future.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.