Before you conclude that your online business is ready for expansion, let me ask you just one small question very quickly.
‘Are you working in / on your business?’
Working in your business means if you have an online food store, you’re the person in the kitchen. Working on your business means you’re managing all arenas of your food store while your chef’s cooking inside.
Hence, if you’re still at that stage where in you’re working in your business, scaling might not be the best option for you. It may feel bad and you would still go on for scaling instead of taking my advice. But, believe me, it won’t work.
If you still don’t agree with me and find the challenge intriguing, go ahead and prove me wrong! But hold on!
I can help you with that too. There are certain factors you need to know first before going on the road to ‘Scaling’.
First, understand what exactly ‘Scaling’ is. In the simplest of online business expansion terms, ‘scaling your business means increasing your revenue without a correlating increase in cost.’
For instance, Let’s assume right now you earn around 2000$ by doing 15 hours of work, then after scaling, you will earn 4000$ by doing 20 hours of work. See how the difference is visible. More money earned in less working hours.
This is the easiest metric for checking if you’re scaling or not! There are other business expansion strategies too. Without taking much of your time, let’s dig in!
- Find the hidden goal and clean it
Now, that you’ve decided you are going to expand your business anyhow in the next couple of weeks, your goal needs to be fixed.
Is money your goal, or expanding across geographies, or even better, expanding the online user base? Reason being, every goal will have a separate go-to strategy.
If money is your goal, you will go look for angel investors and venture capitalists. If expanding across geographies is your goal, accelerators and incubators will be the way to go.
Better yet, if you want online business expansion, there will be hundreds of strategies, social media presence being the starting one.
Hence, first sit and choose. Which one is your scaling goal?
- The most important question
Again, making you think if your scaling idea is not the right track or not. So, the multimillion-dollar question is, ‘Is your business in a good place?’
A good place refers to identifying your financial status, knowing if you have enough to fall back on to if the scaling does not work out, checking if the procedures you use are globally ethical, knowing that your product has reached an excellent level of expertise and seeing if you have enough human resource to support your scaling.
If your answer is a perfect yes to all, then go ahead without a doubt. If a slight lump occurs in your throat in any of the decisions, wait for a little longer and then go ahead with full preparation.
Especially, your product. The entity your whole business is based upon has to be perfect. The prototype model won’t help when scaling. Hence, build your product first for better scaling options.
Business speaker and NY Times columnist Jay Goltz cites “out-of-control growth” as one of the top 10 reasons that small businesses fail.
Hence, ensure that you have enough resources to handle the opportunities that scaling would bring with it.
- Keeping processes clean and simple
Even the ones that you’ve simplified enough! Imagine having even more work than you already do and not being able to deal with the complex processes that already exist in your business.
Not a good enough picture. Right?
Hence, before going up to the steep scaling mountain, make your processes baggage lighter, so you don’t fall back hundreds of feet!
Making processes simple includes making your employees understand the way they are supposed to report to you, automating your work to a certain level via CRM systems, work management systems, HR management systems, keeping all the knowledge your company owns in one place, finding gaps in your work cycles and plastering them and even changing your own daily routine if you need to.
Once your processes are cleared out, you will feel a lot more confident and will move towards your business expansion strategy with full force.
- Simplifying your websites
Now, this might be an easy one, but an important one. When you go and network with your clients, or other successful businesses, you would be distributing your card. Nowadays, card even have QR codes printed on them, so your potential customer can instantly view your website.
When the impression time span is so low, your website needs to have the best user experience. There are certain key points you would need to master.
- Simplest design possible
- Website must have a lean UX (not too confusing)
- Crisp content, mostly one-liners
- More pictures but not overloaded with media
- Making your site responsive enough for all devices (mobile, tablet and laptop)
- Must contain CTA’s (call-to-action) at every quarter of the space
- Input of keywords according to SEO
- Incorporating chat facilities for customer support
- Atleast one video on the homepage
- Paying attention to colour schemes
- Attention to personalization
- Having an informative but interesting blog
These are very detailed pointers that I found out, that really affected your website rank and make your user have a good enough first impression.
Adding to that, you’ve got to make sure that your website appear in the top Google searches every week. For that, you need to register with ‘Google My Business’. And let me tell you, the listing is free as soon as you find an SEO expert. If you cannot afford one, learn it yourself. SEO’s not an uncommon word these days. And you know you need it for your online business expansion.
- Outsourcing instead of hiring full time
If you already have a brilliant team, kudos to you! Doesn’t matter outsourced or full time. However, now that you rare scaling, you need to make a few amends.
As and when you expand your business, the need to get more human resource will grow extensively. Hence, you would spend a lot on getting the best ones.
To save financial and intellectual resources, try keeping your workforce outsourced. It will cost less and help you spend your hard-earned resources on just your online business expansion.
You can always keep track of their work via online people management systems instead of emails and cold calls. It will add a good percentage of energy to your ‘Energy pot’, 60% to be exact.
If you prefer working with individuals in-house, then this option might not work for you. You can still keep the low-profile jobs outsourced saving you at least 40% of your energy.
Now, you might be surprised I am trying to save your energy suddenly. Why?
Because, that’s your best resource. Often times, we forget that we have limited energy too, not just time and money. Energy is what drives you to work towards your business. Hence, if scaling your business increases your energy even by 10%, go for it!
However, if it depletes your energy by just 2%, let it go and wait until it’s again time to gain energy.
- Change the Pricing and start Salary planning
This is an optional business expansion strategy. If you have already fixed your pricing, changing it might disrupt your already existing sales.
However, if you’re feeling your pricing is not yet justified, this is the time to change it. Include pricing according to a process called ‘Bracketing’. It refers to dividing your prices into three brackets.