Last week, we featured two posts by the Arts Business Institute on Selling to Large Retailers.
Today, I would like to share Part Three and Four of the Arts Business Institute’s series on the subject.
What do you need to know to be prepared to take orders from large chains?
- You will need to scale up your production.
- You will need sufficient materials.
- You may need studio assistance.
- You will need to control your costs.
- You will need to manage your time effectively.
Planning, planning, planning …. receiving a large order from a large retail may seem like a dream come true, but do you have systems in place to address the points above? If not, you may find yourself in a panicky situation with your business and the pending order you are not prepared to fill.
Flexibility is important as your whole business may need to change overnight! Part Four of the Arts Business Institute series helps you prepare for the steps above:
Take these factors into account when you start planning to go big:
- Consider all your accounts. Will selling to major retailers cause problems with your other wholesale accounts?
- Brand perception (Is this store your ‘ideal’ account?)
- Stay diversified. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Will your chain store accounts last forever?
- Plan your business for the lifestyle you want … If scaling up production and selling to chains creates too much stress or requires you to work many more hours than is reasonable, it ultimately won’t be worth it.
In my years as a sales rep and consignment store manager for a wood craft co-op, I saw many folks fall victim to the large store orders when they were not ready for them.
- One producer lost his small wholesale account while catering to one large retailer. Once the deal was over, he nearly went out of business!
- Several small businesses took on the large orders only to extend their credit so far that they could not recuperate!
- One large store cancelled the order right before delivery leaving the small business with more inventory than they could unload in a reasonable amount of time.
- Still another business folded because they could not sustain themselves for the 180 days it took to receive payment from the retailer.
On the other hand, writing an order with a large retailer can be the next step of growth for your business. Make sure you are prepared before ‘signing on the dotted line’!