Scaling any business can present a challenge. You need to have systems in place that allow you to do a higher volume of work in the same amount of time. The challenge with a soap business is that scaling means you need the capacity to make more soaps. Soaps are unique in that they require a specific amount of curing time to be ready to sell. If you try and accelerate this part of the process, you could end up with soaps that don’t cure well or selling inferior products.
When you’re scaling this means that you can’t just produce a new soap and sell it the next day. You need to be thinking about growth and seasonality of certain products months in advance. Sometimes without knowing exactly what will sell. Then when you start making soaps in larger batches, you have the challenge of where to store them while they cure, and making sure that there is a constant revolving door of soaps coming in and out. All of these present challenges especially for companies in the startup phase.
In chemical businesses, the use of technology helps them overcome countless challenges. It’s easy to make a small batch of a product using liquid mixing, but when you’re trying to produce large quantities of the same product there are challenges. Managing the chemical reaction to ensure the quality of the final batch is the same as the initial batch is critical.
And trying to figure out the best way to do this can be a challenge when you’re trying to save time and money. It’s like trying to create a small batch of soap versus a large one. You can’t just use the same techniques for a large batch as you did for the small and expect it to come out the same. You can use specific software programs to help you determine the best mixing strategies to help you get the same result as the smaller batch.
While you may not have the bandwidth to label and ship all your new soap orders, you can hire others to help. If you focus on product creation and development, you can use a team of people to help you get those soaps and products in others’ hands. While you may sacrifice a little profit at first, having help in place when you grow your business is critical. You can use the skills and expertise of others to give you fresh ideas and help you build a thriving business. Additionally, you can easily outsource things like accounting, marketing, and design if you need to.
Stay Thinking Ahead
By thinking about the challenges that will come as you grow, you’ll already be looking for solutions to these future problems. You won’t be caught off guard when you need to scale up because you’ll already have plans in place. You’ll be thinking about how much you want to grow your business come the holidays several months in advance instead of only a month or two ahead. This will help you develop products and produce enough batches to have available for sale when the time comes.
Learn From the Competition
You can easily learn important lessons from those who have gone before you. How did they make more product at once? How did they improve their batches? What mistakes did they make that you can avoid? Learning not only from your mistakes but from the mistakes of others is critical when you are expanding your soap business.
Don’t Diversify Too Quickly
Having a broad set of products is important. But diversifying too quickly can put your core business at risk. You need to do adequate market and product development research before you produce a new item. Start by scaling up your best sellers and do extensive research before you create something new. This will help you develop product lines that don’t take you away from why people already love you and your soap business.
Growing a soap business comes with unique challenges because of the time it takes to cure the product. By thinking ahead and planning for challenges before they get there you will be well positioned to grow and build when the time comes. Leverage technology, lessons from other businesses, and don’t diversify too quickly for the most success.