The Business Edge Blog

November 22, 2011

Black Friday and Your Business

 Is Your Business Ready for a Black Friday?

Many of my clients hope to grow their businesses.  I love to be able to help them do so.  My concern is always their readiness for the growth they desire.  We work hard to develop and implement the systems to allow them to actually handle the growth.

There are numerous stories of companies featured on a show like Oprah (or a newspaper review) that fail shortly thereafter.  What happened?  Let’s imagine a small boutique hand-made chocolate business in a small town.  Everyone loves the chocolates and the shop and it’s a special treat to receive a small box of just 4 of the chocolates.  The unique blend of flavors and the background of the owner makes them Oprah worthy.

Beginning the next day there is a line at the door.  The inventory is sold out within a few minutes of opening.  The rest of the people in line can’t be served.  The owner who personally hand makes each piece of chocolate is as busy as he can possibly be trying to keep up.  He calls in all the troops to help in the candy kitchen.  With extra hands and extra bodies the kitchen seems to shrink in size and the chocolates turn out slightly differently than they do when the owner alone makes them.  Everyone works hard and creates enough chocolate for Post Show Day 2.

The internet orders pour in as well as the customers through the front door.  Internet orders are delayed to serve those actually in the store.  Extra packing and shipping materials need to be bought before all the internet orders can be fulfilled, not to mention actually making the chocolates to ship!  The normal order/fulfillment system can’t handle the flood of orders and some get lost.  Online customers aren’t happy with the time it takes to ship those that eventually get filled and shipped.  The owner used to hand pack orders and now others are doing it who have never done it before.  You can imagine that things have changed.

It’s like a Black Friday for the business, but lasts longer.  It takes a while to recover.  The loyal local customers can’t wait for the buzz to subside so the shop can get back to normal and the chocolates get back in stock and hand-made by the owner.

So, the growth that you’re looking for……are you actually ready for it?  Are your systems expandable?  Do you know the rate of growth that you can sustain?  If the rate of growth comes faster than what you can handle, what is your plan?

It’s nearly Black Friday.  It’s nearly 2012.  What growth are you looking for, and how will you handle it?

Share the growth you are looking for in 2012 and how you have prepared your business to handle it.  I look forward to hearing from you.


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