Whether you design or manufacture your furniture, running a successful furniture business in this climate requires taking multiple variables into consideration. No matter how you look at it, it’s a tough market, largely dominated by big retailers. So how do small furniture manufacturers stand out when it comes to investment opportunities, skills development, design and consumer expenditure? Here are some insights to help you focus and effectively manage these challenges.
Know your market
It is critical that you have a strong sense of your market. This requires meticulous research into your customers and their preferences. This should include what designs are popular locally and internationally, as well as identifying South African preferences for comfort or aesthetics. You will also need to have a thorough understanding of your competitors including what they are selling, who they are reaching, how they have manufactured their product and whether they are exporting.
Manage stock levels
Managing the inventory in a furniture business is no easy feat. While all furniture businesses are slightly different, there are some things you can apply across the board:
- Implement a strong inventory management software which meets your operational needs.
- Have a clear sense of what is required from a manufacturing point of view and always ensure you have enough orders to justify holding stock of material.
- Keep track of the tools and materials you are using and ensure you always have spares.
- Ensure you have enough stock on hand, particularly if you are importing.
Set clear goals to increase revenue
Setting goals is essential to succeeding in business. Have a clear idea of what these look like in relation to your calendar and the percentages you would like to increase them by. Understand what new products you would like to launch and where you would like to sell your products in the immediate future. Bear in mind that in order for this to become more than just a goal, you need to break these down into achievable steps.
Set clear production plans
Ask yourself how you can reduce your production costs without compromising on quality and timelines. Constantly strive to improve the quality of your products with better quality material and streamlined designs. And further to this, always ensure you are looking for ways to bring in the new products which your clients desire.
Market your products better
Start using social media in more efficient ways in order to attract customers more effectively. Also, ensure you are extending your marketing strategy to include other marketing platforms and growing your network by attending trade shows. The more exposure you get the better, but always make sure you are being strategic and investing marketing spend in the right place.
Incentivise employees and grow your team
Get your team excited about the company goals by incentivising them to help you achieve them. Offer a small employee-based shareholding for the great employees who really stick with the company. Consider paying for employee medical aids or hospital plans and continuously invest in your people with a range of upskilling opportunities.
The bottom line
Running a successful furniture business is challenging, but there is no reason why you can’t make a go at it. With solid structures in place and a creative eye, you will be well on your way to building your business and owning your own piece of a very lucrative market. To find out how Merchant Capital can support your ambitious growth, contact us today.