This was a short-term gig I took first to make some quick money over a weekend. It developed into a cooperation that lasted over a year and taught me a lot.
In today’s economy, we hear and read a lot about one-man companies, doing millions in revenue. But most often than not, they either sell digital goods and services or just trade.
These guys mastered outsourcing to the extreme.
I can not disclose the product itself, but it doesn’t really matter. The same would work for any item that is customized for a single client or manufactured in small series. For example, personalized gifts, made-to-measure clothing, shoes or accessories. Or anything a business would need with its own logo/design.
Let me try to show this process:
The “Head office” had 3 guys, and the “Supply Chain team” had one person (and me helping out). That’s it. Everything else was outsourced.
The designers were freelancers, paid by accepted product design.
Online catalogue? Again, freelancers built it, and the head office team was updating the products and answered queries.
The sales agents, as you would guess already, were commission based. This allowed for rapid expansion, as the company did not have a need to open branches all over the world.
The job of the Supply Chain team was to process all the orders and forward them to the manufacturers. They had the designs and the prices were agreed upon. Once the product is ready, it would be shipped straight to the end user or shop that placed the order. The end user would pay for the shipping and customs. We were as well responsible for the quality, and my colleague had to frequently travel to the plants and do spot checks of the product.
Simple and brilliant.
Not scalable to infinity, though. At one level, we were so overwhelmed with orders, that they had to start hiring full-time personnel and invest in systems and software. But if you are thinking of starting your own business, this could be a good way to do it.