A little advice to all the new entrepreneurs out there looking to start their own brand with product/service. I’m learning this lesson the hard way and I thought I’d get this off my chest.
ALWAYS CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF GREAT SUCCESS AND HAVE A PLAN TO SCALE AND AUTOMATE.
I started my business two years ago, selling tea in a subscription model and online store. Slow start, but things started moving ahead well. I was able to open up a tea house for retail and cafe style tea service. I have now grown to a brand with 6 types of income. Online tea store, online subscription, wholesale cafe supply, stockists for retail, physical store retail sales and food/beverage sales. With covid, the last two has stopped since lockdown laws have forced my doors to be shut.
But now, I’m gaining more stockists and my subscription sales have boomed. Online sales are at an all time high. My biggest issue? I can’t keep up. I made some crucial mistakes when starting my business. My products don’t have a barcode on it, and adding the barcode makes my product require 3 labels. That adds significantly to the labour required to pack the product. With COVID affecting cash flow, hiring additional labour isn’t an option either.
My lesson learnt, which I will definitely apply to any future brands I create, is that you have to be ready to scale. Be ready to have one order today, and 100 orders tomorrow. Be prepared for success. I thought very low of myself and my business capabilities. But in reality, I had an amazing product and really good business model.
Automation is the other key! I have too much manual labour going in. In terms of time and effort, I put in 100%. This is taken up mostly by packing tea, fulfilling orders, etc. I have very little time to expand, or grow effectively.
Lesson learnt. Over to all you rising entrepreneurs to learn from my mistakes.