Maintaining A Business

Starting a business is difficult. It requires a lot of groundwork and a lot of effort to get things started. My personal experience was that it took me quite some time to get my first sales, which was a small transaction. But often times, maintaining a business is no easy task too.

When things are going well after the initial stage of getting a steady stream of transactions, the business just keeps running without much issues. But every now and then, there will be some unforeseen circumstances which throw everything out of order. Sometimes, that is due to one’s own crappy decisions. Sometimes, it is the result of other’s actions. Good days do not last, and the path of a businessman is plagued with never ending problems.

Take my case for example. I had quite a few small businesses. I started one of it in January 2016, where it grew to about a monthly income / profit of $800 (all currencies are in Singapore Dollars unless otherwise stated) by about September 2016. It was decent enough by my own standards, but also a ceiling which I spent quite some time breaking. It then further grew to about $3000 a month by about January 2018. There was a momentary burst of profits for a short period, but for the rest of the year till July 2018 it was pretty capped at a $3000 ceiling which I could not break.

Then it happened. I met a scammer, which resulted me in having coffee in the police station trying to prove my innocence. My bank account is frozen till today. The end result was my long term supplier abandoned me, leaving me with a high demand but no supply. I had to depend on my inventory, which could only last me a few days. All these time I was scrambling to find other suppliers, none of which were as good as the original. Some of the new ones I found were expensive, others were not interested in doing business with me for various reasons.

At about the same time, news of trade war between the USA and China started. It escalated to the point that some of my customers drastically reduced their orders with me. At this point in time, I do not have a reliable long term supplier, though I do have some ad-hoc suppliers who would sometimes want to mass-dump their stocks. The dilemma I am facing now is:

  1. I do not have a reliable supplier whom I can get any amount of stocks I want any time, depending on my needs.
  2. My sales is dropping and I am trying to pick it up again.
  3. I have to keep finding ad-hoc suppliers all the time and sometimes they just wish to mass-dump their goods. If I do not absorb, they will move on to find others.
  4. I do not have that much money to absorb all the goods.

This brings the issue of balancing both demand and supply. As mentioned above, I have a falling demand which I am trying to do something about. At the same time I have to keep on managing my supply to ensure that I do not keep excess stocks beyond the reasonable reserve, yet will always have the goods when customers demand for it.

This is why successful businessmen are good problem solvers. If you are an employee, you probably would just settle the matters within your own job scope and throw the rest to other departments. Unless of course, you are a CEO or some big shot in some high position. In my small business, I have to solve every single issue myself, which of course leveled up my problem solving skills.

I am currently planning for talks with a potential supplier. But who knows if the talks will even take place or even be successful. More advertising are also done at the various platforms to raise demand. Hopefully everything goes well down the road.

Posted by pencil-leads

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