What does success look like?

Last updated 08:51 23/12/2013

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Q. I have been approached by a large chain to stock some of my goods, but they want to label them as an "in-house" product. Should I do this? I have spent years building up my own brand.

A. The question is what does this move mean for your business? If it would negatively impact your branded sales then think twice about it.

But if the opportunity is big enough could it be the future of your business? A lot of startup businesses start out dreaming of what success looks like and it is important to be conscious of what that means in your mind.

It is also important to be open to opportunity because there are many different ways to get there.

The cost of burning your brand to white label your goods might be worth it but you'd need to do the pros and cons and put some numbers to it.

If it stacks up you may find the only thing between you and doing the deal is your own reluctance to give up hard years building a brand. Put it into the context of what success looks like for your company, not for your ego.

On the flip side, getting into bed with a big chain can be a soul (and margin) destroying experience. If you don't have your brand anymore, you may find yourself with little control over the future of your business.

However, I think there's a way to have your cake and eat it too.

Can you sell your products as your own brand alongside theirs for twice the price? Might be worth asking. It needn't be mutually exclusive. It already happens fairly extensively in various industries. There are many permutations of what this could look like.

I suggest doing your numbers so you know what it would mean for your business on a cost-benefit scenario. Understand what control you'd be giving up, then go with what feels right.

Nick Churchouse is venture manager at Creative HQ, www.creativehq.co.nz

A. Dependent on the size of the deal, it may be time to pivot your business, i.e. make a radical change direction.

Chain stores and supply chains will drive hard deals but many businesses make good money by supplying house brands.

Put the emotional part of you own brand aside and evaluate the commercial impact on your business.

How will sale of your other product lines be affected by this, if at all?

Dependent on the product, you may still be able to sell under the existing brand to a different niche market and channel.

Mark Robotham is a small business expert, www.sparkboxventures.com

If you have a question for our experts please email laura.walters@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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