Most small business owners spend a lot of time, effort, and resources to create demand for what they supply. Once that demand is established, though, things have to change. When your business hits its stride and an influx of clients or orders suggests an incoming growth spurt, here are a few areas of your business that will need the most attention if you want to ride the wave to success.
It’s tempting to use an increase in business as fuel for your marketing, but this should only be done with caution. When demand is high, it may seem like a great time to put products on sale or offer special promotions that further increase business, but a small business has limits. If demand becomes so inflated that you have no way of increasing your supply to match it, your inability to meet clients’ needs can be a punishing blow to your reputation. Remember, if your products and services are in high demand now, it’s likely that you’ll see that demand fall off after a time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see that demand go back up later on. Your marketing efforts are going to be more effective when they try to raise the low points to give your business consistency instead of trying to over-extend a high point.
If you find yourself fulfilling double or triple the number of orders you have done in the past, organization becomes incredibly important. An increased workload can inspire frantic and chaotic workflow, which often leads to disaster. For example, to keep up with demand, a warehouse crew may stop storing items in their proper places, skipping steps when preparing items for shipping, and even start breaking items as they rush to fulfill orders. To prevent this, make it clear to your employees that organization is mandatory. Listen to their concerns and do what you need to so their work is manageable. You may need to hire temporary workers or invest in certified handling systems that will help them to keep up. If all else fails, communicate with your clients about your limitations and do what you can to keep them happy without risking the safety and long-term success of your business.
Your short-term success can be turned into long-term success if you’re smart about it. The extra money coming in could be used to pay for needed equipment or repairs, personnel, or space. It’s not the most fun way to use the money, but it helps to keep the business healthy. You will probably want to reward your employees in some way, but don’t go overboard. As much as your employees will appreciate a free lunch, they will likely appreciate it more if you invest in tools that make their jobs easier in the long run or better working conditions.
Success is what every small business is aiming for, but sudden success can be daunting. As long as you stay organized, invest wisely, and manage your marketing well, you can let that sudden success take your business to a new level.