As a business owner, you are probably aware that sales patterns can be similar to rain patterns: sometimes it rains, sometimes it sprinkles, and sometimes it pours. If your sales have been pouring in lately, you may have to adjust for the increase, yet you may be unsure of the duration or intensity of the sales in the long term.
We all wish we could be the next Jeff Bezos. We fall asleep dreaming our company revenue could grow to Amazon’s $460 billion dollars. While that may happen to a lucky few, most of our businesses will still see some sudden (and hopefully consistent) spikes in sales.
Whether at the holiday season or the height of summer, there are ways to prepare for sudden increases in sales and save costs to accommodate for the growth.
Nobody knows your business better than you. That’s why you and top-level managers should get together and come up with a strategy to handle unexpected increases in sales.
Create a logistics strategy. Plan for maximum rapid growth, but also strategize a reaction to a sudden fall in growth. Make sure your plan is flexible, scalable, and takes into account many different scenarios. Always put your plans down on paper so you can reference them as needed.
Evaluate and Adjust Your Back-End Systems
Is your back-end system set up to handle the increased web traffic, invoices, and inventory? Evaluate your current back-end system in relation to your logistics strategy. Don’t forget about your shipping and return strategy.
The more organized and efficient you keep your business’s back-end the more smoothly everything else will operate. When your back-end strategy is smooth, your warehouse workers can pull and fulfill orders promptly, your orders will ship within guaranteed fulfillment dates., and most importantly, your customers will be satisfied.
After you evaluate your back-end system, adjust any parts that either won’t scale easily or that are not working as effectively as they could. Then test your changes and readjust if necessary.
Hire Temporary Workers or Temporarily
Temporary workers can be a great solution to the torrents of orders and sales. You can always hire workers temporarily to help fulfill heightened demand. This also could allow your business to take on more reliable full-time workers if sales continue to increase or remain steady.
Temporary works can save you money on benefits and salaries if used for less than a couple months, and temporary workers often offer a wide range of skills that you may find useful in the long term.
Adopt a Temporary Overtime Policy
If the sudden rush of business has overwhelmed your ability to search for and hire temporary workers, use the trusted employees you already have. Allow for your employees to request and earn overtime hours. This will minimize hiring impact if your growth is momentary or allow you the time to properly vet longterm hires.
This solution also lets you maintain your current space without having to adjust for the physical room more workers demand.
Use a Rental Fleet Service
One thing we’ve learned from Amazon is that delivery and speed are kings. Many of our customers expect fast, inexpensive shipping or service. When sales or jobs increase, you may need to consider increasing your vehicle fleet. You can rent trucks and vans for worksites or deliveries.
Short term fleet rentals can help you make deliveries or have more trucks on-site to help get a project completed quicker. Rental fleet companies can supply vehicles quickly without the commitment of purchasing. They also allow you to fulfill the immediate demand while waiting to make major decisions.
Some rental fleet companies even have rent-to-purchase programs if you decide you need to buy more vehicles.
When you’re not sure if your increased sales are permanent, it can be difficult to make decisions regarding your business. One way to postpone making big decisions is to outsource part of your business process while you wait to see if sales will stabilize. Having another business assist you may be the most cost-effective solution so you can effectively respond to sales.
Increase Your Storage Space
There’s a good chance that rapid sales have to lead to an immediate need for more space. Whether it be storage space for stock or garage rental space for business-related equipment, you can always rent space short-term. This will help you bide your time while you decide to shop for a larger facility if needed.
If you already store your stock in a warehouse, you may be able to get a better deal by increasing space rather than using a second facility. Always check with your current warehouse first before seeking an additional storage facility.
Even though rapid sales growth can be stressful, don’t feel overwhelmed. Start with a plan. Once you have that in place, focus on keeping your customers and clients happy while your business manages the changes. Don’t forget to celebrate your success and focus on the future.
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