You are a new entrepreneur, a visionary, a focused person. What gets your juices flowing are ideas for innovative new products, new markets to penetrate or perhaps a groundbreaking channel of distribution.
Leaving the competition in the dust really fires you up. Unlike prior entrepreneurial generations, you have no desire to be encumbered by employing large numbers of highly paid staff, managing inventory, order fulfillment and shipping problems; not to mention endless meetings, manufacturing hassles, purchase order snags, and an abundance of electronic documents.
Your workday should be spent on blazing new paths. All of the “noise” from the aforementioned artifacts of prior generations holds little interest for you.
The new entrepreneurs who truly understand this must be able to articulate their vision for one, two and three year increments. Remember, a vision isn’t a detailed business plan. Rather, it is an expression of where you see your company in a stated period of time.
Say for instance that your company is three years old and is experiencing triple digit growth by selling one or two products. Most of your sales are taking place in the region in which you are based. The company is poised for explosive growth and you are clear on plans and timing for new products, markets and distribution channels. You are reasonably comfortable with sales forecasts for the next twelve months.
Here are some common mistakes you should avoid:
- Resist the temptation to buy or lease warehouse space. Why lock your rapidly changing company into an agreement for space in a location that may not suit your business needs beyond the short term? Business history is replete with examples of companies that started off like a ball of fire only to fizzle under the inability to properly fulfill orders in the heat of growing demand. Give yourself the flexibility to quickly gain more space or reduce space in the same or a different location as business needs dictate.
- Understand your priorities. As the CEO of an early stage company, it is important not to get bogged down in the excitement of every order. This is a recipe for disaster. Your goal is to be working on your business and not in your business.
In today’s day and age, the entrepreneur of an early stage company will operate virtually. This means no corporate office buildings, no warehouses and just enough headcount to manage outsources that take care of all the “noise,” leaving you to innovate.
In its most basic form, outsourcing for early stage companies will include vendor management, order fulfillment and all related transportation. Advanced applications will also include outsourcing the manufacturing process. These functions should be properly overseen by a Lead Logistics Provider (LLP) that specializes in early stage companies.
The LLP will help identify the proper human, technological and physical resources. The LLP will design the appropriate supply chain process; build it to your company’s specification and manage and report appropriately.
Give yourself the luxury of building your business and avoid the stress of any activity that should be considered non-entrepreneurial.