Any business owner would revel at the sight of a busy shop that can barely keep their shelves stocked due to the many customers buying their wares (or a service-based business with a fully-booked appointment schedule). Although a constant demand for your small business’ products/services is undoubtedly good, failing to keep up with the demand can lead to lost profit and customer dissatisfaction, which may even result in your competitors taking advantage of the situation and attract customers that yours can’t supply to.
However, keeping up with the demand takes usually requires a significant amount of resources (time, money, and manpower), which means that there’s a lot of risk and room for error involved — costly errors that can be detrimental to growing small businesses.
As such, we’ll be taking a look at a few vital tips to help your small business to fully take advantage of the increasing demand in order to expand and increase its income-generating capacity.
1. Know the Difference Between A Short-Term Spike and a Long-Term Trend
One of the worst decisions you can make is mistaking between a short-term spike in demand as a sign of a constant long-term uptrend. Imagine being a small-scale candy-maker during Halloween; just because your product becomes in-demand doesn’t mean that you should invest in buying additional machines or hiring long-term staff (instead of just renting equipment and getting temps).
It’s a bit of an extreme example, but the point we’re trying to make is that knowing the difference between short and long-term increases in demand would dictate your decision between temporarily augmenting your business versus investing in business expansion.
In other words, don’t be hasty, or else you’ll fall to the all-so-common and costly mistake of premature business expansion. Study why your small business’ products/services are in demand and make an informed decision afterward.
2. Prioritize Customer Satisfaction
“They were really good until they became too commercialized,” you’ve probably heard this statement before when people refer to small businesses that ‘lose their soul’ in the process of expanding. When you’re scaling up your production through technology, optimization of production flow, and standardization of recipes, it’s important that you don’t lose what makes your business unique; never sacrifice quality just to increase the quantity.
This doesn’t only refer to your products/services, either. In the hopes of being able to address all your customers’ needs, you may have ended up having them talk with automated answering systems that keep routing them or forget to bother properly selecting and training warm and welcoming staff. Always put customer satisfaction as your main priority, even when you’re expanding and acquiring additional resources to help you keep with the increasing demand.
3. Review Your Resources
Lastly, you should take a look at your small business’ current assets and resources, like its manpower, equipment, tools, and so on, in order to know exactly what you need in order to increase your capacity to supply your growing customer base; this will help guide you in deciding whether or not you need to have additional space, machinery/tools, and manpower. So, if you’re operating a bakery, you should know which retail baking equipment you need to purchase, such as high-capacity oven racks and automated bread molders, and also how many staff you need to hire. It’s also just as important to review your current raw material suppliers and confirm if you need to look for additional ones if needed.
It can be quite tricky and challenging to ‘grow’ your business and acquire the necessary assets in order to fully take advantage of the increase in demand, as a lot can go wrong in doing so. But with these essential tips, you can lower the risk and ensure that your business becomes fully equipped to supply the increase in demand and keep your current and potential customers satisfied.