Startups are complicated. There are so many factors that can easily be overlooked. It would seem only logical that if you develop a product, it starts to generate a buzz, larger companies are partnering with you, retailers want to sell your product, and you are already making sales that if you make more of your product then your business will take off. But that is not always the case. That is when terms like “scalability” start to pop up in your weekly meetings with your partners.
Grand Rapids startup, Teamwork Design, received a $5,000.00 infusion of cash to study the scalability of their handcrafted handbag business. Nick Stockton and Nick Stygstra, two Kendall College of Art and Design graduates, founded Teamwork to make T-shirts in a Grand Rapids studio but found real traction when they branched out into the handbag market. After having some small scale success of making their own sales, Teamwork found that in order to make a real impact they needed to contract out the manufacturing portion of the business while they remain the designer and developer of the products. This allows them to focus more on other aspects of the business while meeting the production demands at a reasonable price.
You can have the greatest product in the world and you might even get a giant order from a huge retailer but how are you going to go from manufacturing hundreds of units to having to manufacture thousands or millions? Scalability numbers might show that you need go the rout of Teamwork or they might show that your business needs to turn down that offer because it’s too overwhelming at this point. Scalability is just one caveat of the complication that is running a startup and is just another example of why entrepreneurs need a great team around them. It is so easy to take one wrong step that can send a great business opportunity away.
Source: “Startup gets help to study scalability options” by Elijah Brumback of MiBiz