The pros and cons of working for a on-trend FMCG business

17th December 2018

The FMCG sector is one that is in a constant state of flux. The very nature of industry ensures that there is always a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises in the marketplace. But with an increasingly digital world and fewer barriers to creating, marketing and selling a product, there has never been such a high number of SMEs offering job opportunities.

This has given rise to a huge number of businesses selling ‘on trend’ products – items that catch on as a trend and sell in large quantities for a short time. Bottled water is an everyday product where sales numbers won’t change much on a yearly basis. But an on-trend product like coconut water has seen a huge spike in sales – it is unlikely, however, that this will be sustained as the popularity will wane and numbers will decline.

Working for such a business can have a lot of advantages especially if you know when to get out, but it can also be challenging. Here we look at some of the pros and cons of working for on trend FMCG businesses.

Risk vs. reward

There is no doubt that working for a company that sells an on-trend product can be extremely exciting and dynamic. If you enter a business just as the product is becoming a hit there are huge opportunities for fast growth within the company and easy wins for your CV. If you are looking to get a quick boost in experience in a sales role there may be no better place than in this kind of business. There may be opportunities to progress into advanced sales positions and even take on managerial responsibilities if you get in early.

But remember that these potential rewards are offset with risks. Sometimes you can join a company that is just hitting its peak and offering you fantastic commission – only to see the sales naturally decline and your earnings decrease.

Understand the type of company you are joining

It is important to recognise that the business that you are working for sells a product that is in fashion rather than an everyday product. There is nothing wrong with this sort of structure, but you just need to be aware of the issues that can arise.

If you are applying for a sales role in a business, make sure that you understand the nature of the product. With products that enjoy a huge spike in popularity there is always the possibility that this success is short-lived.

And remember that if the business is a startup with an extremely popular product, there is naturally the danger that the entrepreneur in charge of the company will sell the business. When the larger company takes over there is no guarantee they will offer you a job, as the product may simply be absorbed into their product line.

Look out for bubbles about to burst

You don’t want to find yourself working for an on-trend FMCG business that becomes off trend. Sales can drop off extremely quickly as times move on and trends change. It can be tempting to stay if you have previously been enjoying excellent commission or fast progression in the company, but if the demand is waining, it is time to move on.