1st of all, OP mailed, not phoned. Hope I got the right guy.
Let's not forget that people are buying the speakers based on good feedback without demoing or even seeing the speakers. I can totally understand the anxiety of some customers, especially those living abroad. It's a massive risk they're taking. A small deposit upfront alleviates most of that anxiety. Just the communication bit needs tightening. Good luck!
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I own a small business and can totally sympathise with Richard, however I think it is clear (from the outside at least!) that he needs some help. I would have thought that there are enough admin and other jobs involved in the speaker business to mean he could employ someone to do all the PR, web design, client communication etc jobs leaving him free to concentrate on the bit he obviously does so well, building speakers.
Employing people to do the things I am less good at (or enjoy less) has been one of the reasons my business has grown so much over the past few years, and I much prefer my role now as a result, which is a bonus.
I have no idea how many speakers he makes a month, but an additional £25 per speaker would keep them affordable and still excellent value, but I would imagine allow a decent part time person with lots of skills to complement Richards.
just my two cents anyway
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I disagree Alears. This is nothing to do with the "I want it now" society, a lead time of several months isn't "I want it now". I can sympathise with any small business owner going through the mill, but EB have to some extent suffered thanks to the glowing review, some time ago.
The business either needs to expand and that might be finding a suitable admin assistant. I'm not massively convinced that Kidderminster is wholly bereft of the skills needed to get some of the work done that EB urgently requires, although I guess if Richard hasn't got the time to get the orders out the door or answer customer enquiries (very legitimate ones at that), then I doubt he's going to have the time to organise this kind of thing. This is as much time management as it is product management.
Feel free to disagree, as far as I am aware it is perfectly acceptable on this forum.
I can understand that following glowing rewiews a one-man band can quite quickly get inundated with requests that take time to fulfill. I've been there myself.
However, in this day and age, instantly acquiring more staff to deal with that resulting flood of orders is not the sensible response.
Next day the order books dry up. Have you any idea what is required to actually then get shot of staff? It is very awkward indeed.
I can perfectly understand why he is reluctant to do so. Better to stick with what you know, keep the quality control in place, and slowly keep on producing the product that got you that review in the first place. Too many companies have crumbled by getting too big to soon.
So OK he loses a few orders along the way, but at least he hasn't let product quality fall through the floor.
My EB2's have now passed on to a person who couldn't wait 5 months for a quality product. I just hope they enjoy them as much as I did.
I would suggest expansion is the last thing he needs to do . Keep quality control in place and those that really want a quality product will still be there in years to come, let it slip and they will be gone in a second.
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That is all fine, but if you know you're struggling with delivering goods within 45 days as promised (for many months now), why not change the lead time on the website / order page so that it reflects reality? Why does it still say 45 dys?
The point of this comment is what? You see these cropping up on fora from time to time, as if to say that unless our society has crumbled to such a state, freedom of speech, thought and deed is by some miracle still alive on the internet. Well blow me down.
You're labouring the "instantly acquiring" line a lot. Nobody else is. If you think waiting for four or five months without hearing anything from the company whose products you've spent your hard-earned on somehow equates to the modern day "I want it now" mindset, then you need to rethink the basis of the issue here.
I'm self-employed, am aware of the employment laws in place and like to think that most employers have a different take on yours in terms of managing their staffing resource. "Getting shot" of them isn't my approach and the legislation that is in place is there to protect labour rights without which we'd see a return to the employment rights dark ages. "Very awkward"? All power to it.
What quality control? Maybe in the product, but qaulity runs through an organisation, big or small. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Just the sales numbers then...
The issue isn't the lead time per se, it's the ancillary activies (or lack thereof) that is - keeping the customers informed. This is basic stuff in running a business and I sympathise with your EB2's new owner. I wouldn't be prepared to wait for that length of time either; not for a pair of speakers when I can buy a quality product (and have).
Nobody is doubting that the EB2 is a quality product, there are several who are doubting the abilities of the company "as is" to service the function fully in all areas, not least customer facing, for the business. If you're so clued up on running a business that you know what employment laws are in place to protect the rights of workers (by the sound of it, to your disadvantage...), how can you not be aware that a business has to function efficiently?
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Agreed: Honesty or perception of integrity speaks volumes. If he was to say it'll take 3-4 months rather than 45 days, then at the very least it demonstrates huge integrity, and will eventually win back orders that otherwise would've been cancelled.
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Assuming the products are delivered in 4 months. If I'm not mistaken, the OP has been waiting 6 months.
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True - 3-4 months should be a more realistic turnaround time, and I think 6 months is very much in the minority. Could be wrong, though.
This seller always puts an "update" in red font with regards to stock levels / lead time:
Something along these lines will be extremely useful.
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Instead of schoolleavers or younger people how about a woman to work part time in the office, im sure there are some who have a family or maybe children who have left home or even early ritired people who just want to work for a few hours a day or a few days a week. If I lived nearer I may well do it.
I ordered some crossovers to be made from a components firm and received an email immediately confirming my order plus giving me an account so I could track the crossover construction progress. Also received emails from the company giving estimated time to completion and a receipt.
Now that is impressive, and I can't help thinking that's what EB/Arkaydis should do. After refusing new orders until they catch up with the backlog, that is.
It is absolutely preposterous to suggest that no-one could be found to sort out the admin for this company. When my wife was recruiting in this area there were plenty of decent capable people, young and old, who were busting-a-gut to get simple admin jobs, both full and part-time.
The other consideration is how UK PLC is projected worldwide. It seemed that the OP was from outside UK, so what bad publicity is spreading around their network? Not just about RA but other UK companies.
Making excuses for inaction is very easy. As has been said, your business is the whole thing not just making the product. Sort out some time management, recruit at least an admin person and put your business on the sort of footing that your product, apparantly, deserves.
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Well if not refusing, then at least giving an honest lead-time. I'm sure some people would lap up the cachet of a hand made speaker that is so desired that there is a 6 month lead time.
Your point is well made about company contact being so important. If auction website traders of product that costs from below a £ can do info and contact then RA should be able to.
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