September 9, 2015
A few weeks ago I wrote about getting processes set into place and not long afterwards I got an email from a very worried entrepreneur. It turns out she’d spent a lot of time developing and nurturing a potential sales opportunity. She had numerous meetings with them, provided them with pricing, jumped through insurance hoops to ensure she had enough insurance to be able to work with them, etc. It wasn’t until after the contract had been signed that she realized one huge flaw in the opportunity.
Though this particular opportunity would have the ability to move her business forward quickly, she also needed to be able to drop-ship product for customers (this is where the bigger company takes the order but then you have to ship it to the customer). In all her pre-planning and meeting, she’d never spent time figuring out what her process would be to actually get the orders out the door. What sort of system needed to be in place in order to quickly and seamlessly make sure orders were being filled without driving her and any of her staff crazy.
This one oversight cost her weeks of stress as she tried to rapidly ramp up. Since she started out behind to begin with, it took significantly longer to get caught up and almost cost her this new, profitable relationship as the buyer was calling her asking where the orders were and why hadn’t they shipped on time.
In the end she managed to pull things together but she told me that she feels like she’s aged about 5 years in the process. Her words of advice for any of you who find opportunity knocking at your door…make sure you think through all the pieces of the process that are necessary to get your product from raw ingredients to the consumers hands. What will be required of your and/or your staff (you may find that you need to hire staff) to make this work? You can always adjust your plan as need be but by spending some time in advance thinking through all of this you will find yourself better off and not simply trying to keep your head above water.