Updated: Jun 14, 2019
In an age where so much of our business revolves around social media one has to wonder, could going viral be detrimental to your business??
Yes, it could - IF you have not done proper Capacity Planning.
Okay. So, here's the scoop.
I'm reading this amazing story about a young entrepreneur who had a great health business idea that went viral overnight. Suddenly, she's interviewing with some of the big news outlets and having her story covered in local media across the nation.
Of course, with coverage and media comes business and inquiries - all of which sounds like great things, right??
Well... If you woke up tomorrow with 873 emails, 213 inbox messages and your online shop overwhelmed with orders would you be able to handle it??
This is where capacity planning comes in.
Knowing how fast your company can scale means knowing, at its current rate of production, how much work your business can viably handle. To handle it "viably" means that the quality of product/service delivery would not be diminished in the process.
Simply put: If you went "full blast" for the next 30 business days using your current methods how much could you produce? What is your max? How quickly can you gather supplies from vendors? How efficiently can your team complete "turn-a-rounds"? Do you currently have the capital needed to handle such a big rush? Would this diminish the quality? Would your shipping or delivery times be affected?
All of these things (and more) go into Capacity Planning
With all of that in mind, are you really ready to go viral??
***So, what happened with this young lady and her amazing business idea? ***
It now has been temporarily shut down.
When receiving a sudden influx that your business has not been groomed and prepped to handle you put your business' reputation on the line (among other things).
Taking on more than you are ready for can cause you to experience diminished product/service quality, delay in delivery or shipping and even a decline in your core base because of simple, symptomatic things like lack of communication.
Completing capacity planning exercises ensures that you have measures in place to handle a sudden influx (should it ever occur) and to know where to draw the line.
To help you get started with the capacity planning for your business here is a tip:
Step One: Position Analysis. This involves knowing where you currently are and, based on your team size and current processes, how much you could produce at what rate.
Create a hypothetical scenario and walk yourself (and your team) through it. If you're highest daily order is usually "Insert Number" - double it. Then triple it. Ask yourselves how you would handle this influx. Does your current method stand up to this test? Or does it crumble? What areas of production lag more than others? What simple things can you do to improve them. Where must you draw the line and say "Okay, that is our max."
Knowing these things can mean the difference between a great viral business explosion or a viral disaster from the depths of entrepreneurial hell.