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4 Strategies for Handling a Sales Surge

This story appears in the May 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's the breakthrough moment! Your gets a notable press mention or goes viral online, and the orders start pouring in. Rejoice briefly, but then take stock. How you manage your surge when it arrives can make or break your . Supply-chain expert Hau Lee, professor of operations, information and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, offers tips on how to act fast and smart to take advantage of sudden demand.

Photo © Leah Fasten
Hau Lee of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

How can startups prepare for sudden growth at the outset?
You have to work with potential growth in mind. When you launch a product into the marketplace, it's important to already have a plan in place for how to scale up production and distribution in case it becomes successful. Research suppliers to identify beforehand which ones could process a sudden increase in your orders. You can also line up two or more factories to handle big orders. You need to make sure you have the potential structure you'll need--from sourcing components and production to supply-chain management--to accommodate sudden growth.

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