There are 3 problem areas every consumer product startup encounters. But there are ways to overcome them if you think ahead and build those solutions into your growth strategy.
Problem #1: Product-Market Fit
This is the most classic problem every startup encounters.
Does your product and it’s benefits or outcomes it provides, fit with the needs and desires of your target market, appropriately priced, marketed to attract your target customer, and distributed such that your target customer can easily acquire it.
For early-stage companies, this is the most difficult problem to solve and usually takes lots of iteration to get right.
The best way to achieve product-market fit is what not to do, which is try not to rush it. Take your time to do your market research and plan a long runway to get great product-market fit.
Problem #2: Cash Flow
One product-market fit is achieved, then comes the growth and expansion stage.
All companies need cash to grow in this stage and for most, it is hard to find.
One great way, which is a major platform that I use to grow, is to sell direct-to-consumer. If you did your product-market fit research properly, this can be a very profitable way to sell and you can do it slowly and in a measured way so that you can help fund your own growth.
Raising money from investors is an option, but most companies are not successful using this approach, so don’t count on it.
Problem #3: Supply Chain
By now, you have sales and growth, and maybe you still have cash flow requirements (most startups never get away from this).
You will have supply chain challenges. As you’re sales volume increases, it will become more difficult to source raw ingredients, and probably at stable prices. That is just the nature of the world we live in.
Always have multiple suppliers and multiple factories to distribute your risk.
Price your products so you can absorb price increases without having to pass along to consumers.
Try to have sourcing, production, distribution and sales in close geographic proximity, which will make it much easier to get product produced and to market
Have rock solid forecasting models in place so you can anticipate demand and make sure you have as much extra inventory as you can afford (at least 10% above forecast)