Once you move beyond the early stages of your start-up, when you’ve validated the business concept, researched the industry, created a basic company structure, and developed a sound business plan, it is time to think about your company’s operations and logistics – the details of how your start-up will operate on a daily basis. This is the time where all the planning you’ve done starts to become very real. Operations include setting up suppliers, vendors, and other key relationships for your business, including the way that you will manufacture, package, warehouse, and distribute your product.
You may have found some of these connections already, but any you are missing must be filled in now. This is the time to find the most appropriate online sales platform for your business, the commercial kitchen in which to create your cupcakes, the right manufacturing partner to make your widgets, or how you can best store and ship your goods.
There are lots of ways to think about the operations of your business. Perhaps you will work with an outsourced vendor to receive products, store them, and have them picked, packed and shipped. While this service can cost a good amount per unit, it might cost less than having your own receiving department, software, employees and their benefits.
For those running an online site, now is also the time to consider all the costs associated with customer service. Perhaps you will want to use existing help-desk software or other cloud-based packages that might allow your start-up to save time and money, and launch your business faster than if you try to develop these functions in-house.
Once you’ve got the basics of your operational logistics thought through, an excellent idea (covered in the Wicked Start Roadmap) is to create a diagram of how your business works. Visually mapping your processes gives you an excellent way to “walk through” your business end-to-end before you actually run it. The mapping can also show you places where you’re missing steps, or places where you might have vulnerabilities. For example, you’ve picked a particular vegetable supplier, what if they have a driver’s strike or their source was hit hard by this past summer’s drought? Think about back-up suppliers, alternate vendors and other items that will make your business more ‘bullet-proof.’ The time to plan this out is now, as you operationalize, and not later, when you’re up and running.
Got questions about setting up your start-up’s logistics? Post them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer them!