I still get sad thinking about this sometimes. It may not be the BIGGEST mistake I ever made, but it was definitely huge and costly.
When I was working to scale and grow Bearded Brothers energy bars. We hit a point where manufacturing was a huge struggle. It was hard to keep production staff, and I often had to step in to help out on the production line. So, something had to change.
I began the long search of finding a manufacturing partner. Somebody who could make the bars for us by following our recipe, and freeing myself and my team up to focus on the REALLY important aspects of growing the business.
Well, this ended up being a huge disaster.
The end results was having to throw away thousands of dollars worth of raw materials:
– Loosing a major nation wide retailer, one of which we may never get back into.
– Having to deal with super stressful conversations with the manufacturing partner that blamed half the problems on US.
– Seeing inferior sub par product going out into the market that didn’t even come close to meeting our standards.
I wanted to cry, I wanted to hurt people.
Our brands reputation was taking a HUGE hit.
But thankfully we recovered.
We quickly brought production back in-house and resumed production on our own. Thank God we hadn’t sold our equipment yet.
The damage this relationship did to our business was massive to say the least.
But there is a lesson (or multiple) in every failure.
This experience taught us SO many things.
I imagine you can tease some of the lessons out yourself.
But the number one lesson I took away from this was this:
Your gut reactions can often lie to you.
I felt that even though the transition to a manufacturing partner would be difficult, it would be beneficial to our business.
But what I failed to ask is:
“Is this decision wise”
Stop and think about that for a minute before you read on. I’ll wait…..
You see. Moving to a co-manufacturing situation was not wise.
Even though the terms seemed amazing, and like it was the right thing to do, I failed to ask questions like this:
What if they mess up our recipe (which they did)
What if they don’t ship on time (they failed here too)
What if their production equipment doesn’t work (which it didn’t)
What will be the manufacturers responsibility if they fail?
It was questions like this that would have clearly given me cause for concern. Although sometimes hindsight is 20/20 – but often times our gut reactions are emotional.
So, in order to avoid making emotional decisions, always ask yourself. – Is This WISE?
The Anti-Hustle Entrepreneur
p.s. PROFIT is one thing that would have helped us get through the crisis. Check out my other article Crisis Proof Your Business