Scaling manufacturers are developing niche products across America thanks to new trends like 3-D printing, which lowers the bar for manufacturing. More Americans are also taking advantage of the benefits of offshoring to push a product to market without the commitment of owning and maintaining facilities for that purpose. In order for any smaller operation to scale, it needs to think beyond its crowdfunding campaign and figure out new strategies to break into various sales channels, hire better people and ultimately generate more revenue.
Building a Network
One of the most important aspects of a successfully scaled manufacturing business is sales growth. You need a network of contacts for leads, and good sales people who understand the product you’re trying to sell. Begin with a system to manage the incoming leads that will be the lifeblood of your growth. Figure out a system for capturing relevant data about your contacts, devise ways to have them opt into your sales process (cutting cold calling and improving odds), and start testing a follow-up process to find something reliable.
One of the biggest roadblocks you might face in this process is yourself. You might find it difficult to fire long time employees who aren’t performing, so you can re-staff with more motivated workers, but these are the painful facts that come with growth. Marketing is hard, and very time consuming, but it’s a requirement for anyone scaling their business. You have to put yourself out there and find more opportunities.
Perfecting Your Bidding Process
As you grow, you’re going to be making a lot of deals. You might be looking to various manufacturers to see where your lowest costs might be, or talking with various distributors to gauge potential profits. Whether buying or selling, perfecting your bidding process will make it easier to replicate the entire bidding process. This way, no single sales person will carry the business. You will have a standardized process to work with, so all sales people have some boundaries to work within.
If you’ll notice, the recurring theme is sales. You’ll need financing to grow, and at this stage, a bank is going to be looking for liquidity. If you perfect your bidding and contract process, you spend less time on the paperwork that comes with acquiring new clientele, so fulfillment can get to work and sales can bring in more opportunities.
Hire Smart and Retain
The best practice to perfect as you grow is hiring people who are smarter than you are and learning how to retain them. Mostly, it involves paying a fair wage and offering good benefits, but top talent can be poached from under you. Here are a few concepts to keep in mind:
- Can you pay relocation costs? Even a small amount would help to motivate a potential employee to come to your town.
- Upgrade your employment page. Make it about more than just the job. Sell the company, the culture and the city as well. Make your company feel like an attractive way of life.
- Actively recruit. Visit local and statewide job/industry shows to build a pool of potential candidates.
If you find yourself scrambling to fill key positions, then you suffer from an inability to retain the good people you work with. Examine your benefits packages, and have a look around the current job market. What is your competition offering, and can you beat it?
If you hire good people and retain them, you’re virtually destined for growth.