John D. Rockefeller once said, “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.” In the world of youth entrepreneurship, the new obligations that come with success can be overwhelming. At Biz Kid$, we often hear stories of young entrepreneurs who have hit the media jackpot, earning lots of attention in a short period of time. The newfound attention creates an influx of business, and the young business maven is left with a stack of orders that they are unequipped to fill.
Biz Kid Hart went through such a predicament with his Man Cans candle business when media attention multiplied candle orders exponentially overnight. Hart had previously been washing cans by hand and filling orders in his kitchen, and was now faced with a predicament: how could he fill the enormous number of orders fast enough to avoid upset customers?
Hart’s story is just one of many we have come across over the past five seasons of Biz Kid$ in which changes in the manufacturing, selling, or shipping processes are forced to change when an entrepreneur’s product or service is suddenly in hot demand.
So what can you do to avoid losing your business due to unpreparedness in the face of success? The key is thinking ahead. It may seem silly to plan for thousands of orders when you are selling your widget one at a time, but it will be time well spent should your company spend some time in the spotlight.
Planning a “phase two” of operations should include answers to questions such as who will fill orders, respond to customer emails, manufacture the products, and deal with returns, should the sole proprietorship become overwhelmed. Do some research and find a company that could manufacture your product for you. Find a shipping service that can handle the fulfillment of orders for you. Think about friends or family members who would be willing to work on a hourly basis should another set of hands be needed with short notice.
Keep all of your research in a folder or a document on your computer. If and when your product’s big moment happens, you will be well positioned to ride the wave of success. As Thomas Edison said, “Good Fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”