As your business begins to draw more attention, it’s tempting to significantly ramp up production or take on numerous new clients. But doing so without looking at the long-term impact will only bring you grief. Taking on projects you don’t have the staff or resources to manage, or overestimating just how much the market can support the work you do, may lead you to overextend.
So, it’s a balancing act: You need to grow to take advantage of business opportunities without growing so fast that you damage, or destroy, a company you’ve put your heart into.
With this in mind, 15 members from YEC share their top tips for scaling a business without going too fast.
1. Look at Processes First
Your business is a set of repetitive processes — for sales, operations, marketing, and finance — refined over time and communicated clearly to your team. If you want to grow, your processes have to grow, too. Think about putting in the right processes now for a company three to 10 times your size. Sure, you can manually run payroll now, but you can’t for 100 employees.
2. Look at the Long-Term Results
Almost all growth looks appealing in the short run, but it’s long-term viability that actually matters. The difference between flash-in-the-pan businesses and those with viable long-term success is that they look at the big picture. Before looking at a growth opportunity, see if it makes sense one or even five years from now. Comparing the costs to long-term gains will ensure the right choice.
3. Launch Your Product Quietly
Any successful business will start to scale, and if you want to manage your growth without scaling quickly, you will need to throttle your marketing. By launching quietly by placing your product or service online, you will be able to manage the influx of customers and grow on your terms. If you have launched a strong marketing campaign, you won’t have the control offered by a soft launch.
4. Hire People Who Can Identify Inefficiencies
Bring people onto your team who can identify inefficiencies in your business while driving the business forward with out-of-the-box ideas. To scale, you need a team of people who aren’t afraid of failure, so look for that in the hiring process.
5. Say ‘No’ to Retail Before You’re Ready
One of the best decisions we made early on was delaying our retail launch. As an IoT product, it was really difficult to turn down offers from Best Buy, Amazon and others. We needed time to get everything prepared for a full retail launch, and waiting six months was a good decision. If you launch before you’re ready, you can wear yourself too thin. By ramping up, you’ll scale in a sustainable way.
6. Make Sure Every New Order is Supported
If you’re accepting more orders than you can satisfy, you’re growing too fast and something will break. Make sure that you have the resources to meet every order that comes in, and then bring on new resources to help you meet increasing demands. When you build a business model on supply and demand, you’ll have a firmer understanding of what you can achieve and where you need to build up.
7. Manage Your Cash Flow
One of the pitfalls of growing too fast is managing your cash flow. In fact, if you extend net terms (i.e. 30 days) to your customers and your growth picks up, it’s possible you can run out of money and be unable to meet your minimum cash needs, such as payroll and marketing. That’s why it is critical to evaluate financing options — such as an adequate line of credit — to manage and maximize growth.
8. Staff Aggressively
One fast way to break a business is by stretching key team members too thin. When you’re experiencing a growth spurt, hire more contractors or staff to ensure everyone has adequate resources to fulfill their jobs, rather than being forced to be reactive to everything that’s going on when they’re understaffed.
9. Set Goals and Timelines
You need to be able to set reasonable goals within reasonable timelines when it comes to your company’s growth rate. For example, at six months we want to have “x” amount of employees and “x” amount of clients. At one year we want this many… and so on. This will put your company’s growth in perspective for you and your entire team, and set expectations for all.
10. Know Your Numbers
Do extensive market research to make sure any horizontal growth is justified by quantifiable projected growth. The problem many businesses encounter is “over-investing.” When increased success encourages expansion, there’s a tendency to spend more on scaling than the market can handle.
– Nicholas Nadjarian, Industrial Motor Power Corp.
11. Focus on Retention, Not Superficial Growth
A lot of businesses that grow too fast (and end up folding) decide to scale because they want to absolve or justify their valuation. What ends up happening is that the business will bleed cash in order to create buzz and service those new customers. When you scale your business, you will definitely attract new customers, but you should focus on retention instead of superficial growth.
12. Outsource Projects
One thing that people often forget is that there are plenty of people out there who don’t want to work for someone, but would love a steady stream of work. Using this to everyone’s advantage has upsides for both parties. If your business has lots of project work and you’d like to be able to take more or less at times, then partnerships with like-minded people are the way to go.
13. Don’t Scale to Suit Investors
Venture capital investors and founders play on the same field, but they aren’t playing the same game. VCs will push lots of companies to grow very quickly with the knowledge that most will fail — they spread their bets. Founders, who are all in on one company, should be more cautious about rapid growth. Focus on establishing reliable revenue streams so you can support organic growth.
14. Grow With Your Projects
Resist the urge to staff up like crazy and get an office that doesn’t fit your needs. Grow with demand. Bring on the team you need in order to sign the clients you want to be signing. Continue to scale this up as demand and resources allow. A fancy office or large staff doesn’t mean anything without the client roster to back them up.
15. Be Ready to Pause (Briefly)
Scaling up a business is like trying to change the wheels on a race car while it’s zipping around the track. You will have to pull over for some — hopefully short — amount of time while you rip out or adjust old, unscalable processes and set yourself up for the next stage of growth in order to prevent disaster down the road. Don’t be afraid of this transition: It’s not a plateau, it’s a jumping-off point.
How to Scale Your Business with Content Marketing
We hope you enjoyed our latest YEC expert roundup series, which is focused on providing you with actionable tips on how to grow and scale your blog, brand, and business to new levels of growth. To learn more about how to reach new audiences and create a content marketing plan for your business, be sure to check out our how to start a blog guide and make money blogging guide. Each of these guides will prove useful in breaking down the various components for effectively creating original content for your audience, while also discovering how to use call-to-actions, viral marketing, and outreach to rank higher in the search results.
The Importance of Digital Marketing Research for Brands in 2020
One of the key aspects of launching successful marketing campaigns is to conduct market research beforehand. This is no different when marketing on the internet. Digital marketing research is crucial to successful digital marketing, and without it, one can quickly blow through their budget without seeing any type of ROI at all.
A perfect example of this can be seen in social media marketing, where billions of ad impressions are served hourly. The same is also true with paid media marketing and pay per click marketing within Google. There is simply way too much information and user views out there, and if you aren’t careful and are using paid advertising–you could blow through a large budget in a short period of time.
If you have been neglecting digital marketing research prior to launching your campaigns, read on to learn the importance of digital marketing research and why you need to get on the bandwagon!
Digital Marketing Research
Market research helps the marketer understand the market and the trends. The information received can be used to develop a sound marketing strategy. Having an understanding of your audience and how to communicate with them is key to growing your business.
But, how do you go about implementing digital marketing research?
Eyes on the Audience
First, you must know who your audience is. Your business should have a niche target demographic to reach out to. Once you have established who this target audience is, you will have a better idea of how to communicate with them directly.
After you have identified your audience, you will need to get to know them better. You want to know their behavior patterns: how often they shop, what they shop for, what their preferred products are. Using a survey is a great option to ask your target audience questions to garner information about them.
And even better, if you do plan on collecting any type of data from your audience, you should definitely consider your options with remarketing afterward. By this, you can start running Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns that target only the audiences that you’ve selected (whether that be through pixel or email data).
Social Media Marketing and Other Digital Platforms
Once you have established your audience, you want to use social media and other digital platforms to market to them. Note: in your survey, it is best to ask them which platforms they prefer.
Essentially, you will be adopting a multi-channel marketing approach to reach your target audience. This means that you will be using different digital platforms to reach your audience, be it through content, social media, or messaging systems such as email, chat, or text messages.
Your market research will tell you which is the best platform to reach your demographic. For example, if your audience are teenagers and young adults – you may opt to use Snapchat and Instagram for marketing campaigns.
An older audience would prefer Facebook or even traditional platforms such as email for newsletters. And of course, if targeting professionals then LinkedIn is your platform of choice.
Who Can Help You and Who Can Challenge You
The importance of digital marketing research extends to knowing who can help grow your brand and who your competitors are.
A prominent aspect of digital marketing is the use of influencers. Use your marketing research to seek out these influencers and ask them if they can help promote your brand. For example, if you ran a company that sold protein powder, you would want to find fitness models who could endorse your products.
Similarly, use your marketing research to learn who your competition is. You can also look at their marketing campaigns to get an idea of what you are up against.
Get The Ball Rolling
Now that you have learned about digital marketing research, it is time to get the ball rolling. By following each of the recommended steps and methods above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improved numbers across the board. Digital marketing is changing all of the time, and so are the ways in which you can target and reach new audiences.
Research your target audience and ask them what their needs are. Determine your platforms of choice. Utilize influencers and keep a watchful eye on your competition.
Are you looking for more tips on how to use your blog for marketing purposes? If so, then browse around our blog for more of our latest content.
Do You Honor the Law of Lag?
The law of lag is always in effect. How it works; you generously, patiently and persistently help folks, trust in the process and yeah, make sure you promote yourself freely, too, OK? Be patient and persistent. Relax. A lag exists between you working generously, and, actually seeing traffic and profits increases. I refer to this as the law of lag. Lag times exist between you doing what works blogging-wise and seeing specific traffic and profits increases. Relax. Take a chill pill. Do not panic. Never believe that 0 traffic and 0 profits over the first few weeks of your successful blogging campaign indicates being generous, patient, persistent and trusting is NOT working, guys. Far and away, this is hands down the biggest mistake I see in blogging. Bloggers do not honor the law of lag. Bloggers panic and bail because they see minimal or no traffic and profits increases, during weeks or months, after they follow the successful blogging route.
See the journey through guys. Honor the law of lag. Know how it takes time and practice to become skilled enough and to yield enough exposure to actually boost your blog traffic. Boosting your blogging profits takes a bit longer, usually. Honor this lag time between work and results to become a highly successful, prospering blogger. Imagine being a doctor. During your first 3 months in pre-med, do you panic and bail because you have not made a cent through being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do you panic and bail during your 6th year of medical studies because you have not made a penny from being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do not panic and bail if you have not made a penny during your first 6 months of generously creating and connecting. Be patient. Good things take time. You need to become more clear and skilled in order to gain credibility in the eyes of readers. Plus you need to gain greater exposure by generously posting to your blog and by guest posting.
What happens when business slowly, steadily begins to grow? Now it’s time to learn how to better serve your customers. Nobody knows how to serve customers and clients fully until serving customers and clients in real world circumstances, gaining critical experience without a mentor or coach looking over your shoulder. I learned priceless lessons by boosting my traffic, by meeting more folks, by coaching clients and by interacting with customers. I had to put in the time and be patient during seeming lulls, or lags, to be a full time blogger. Being patient, persistent and generous made me the blogger I am today. You never grow until you go through testing periods where nothing appears to be happening but where everything is happening more quickly than you could ever see, in the background. All grows exponentially under the surface but only slowly and steadily bubbles up as profits and traffic stats. Envision the slow burn, bubbling up as a lag that cultivates your generosity, patience and persistent, and, your trust in self, as well as your trust in the blogging process.
I believe in you. See the journey through. Honor the law of blogging lag.
Does Twitter confuse you? How do ya work the site as a blogger? Buy my eBook:
Do You Seize and Use Blogging Opportunities Aggressively?
Look at the featured image for this post, guys. I love guest posting. Zac asked me to guest post here way back in 2015 right after I left the jungles of Costa Rica. I felt humbled but a little scared to seize the opportunity to guest post on Blogging Tips. Did I think I was good enough? Not quite. I also feared being criticized and failing because I would meet and greet a new, large blogging audience. Fast forward 4 years. After publishing posts on and off, I near 1000 guest posts on this blog alone. That, my friends, is seizing and using blogging opportunities aggressively. Zac said I could guest post on this blog whenever I wanted to guest post on the blog. I took his invite seriously. About 1000 guest posts later, I experienced increasing blogging success because I do not delay, hesitate or waffle when it comes to seizing and using blogging opportunities, aggressively, swiftly and with a single-minded focus.
I quickly seize blogging opportunities to promote my 100 plus eBooks daily – like this fun blogging tips eBook – because opportunities seized lead to big time blogging success. Opportunities you seize and use quickly lead to more opportunities which feed more opportunities as you swiftly become a more successful, prospering, fun-loving blogger. But most bloggers rarely seize and use blogging opportunities. Do you fear grabbing opportunities? What could go wrong? Why do you fear using opportunities for growth? True; sometimes you simply have no resonance with opportunities. Someone may try to convince me to freelance write for them but even a large financial promise cannot goad me toward freelance writing again. Bad match. However, I grab and use most opportunities that flow my way because gobbling up opportunities enters you into the spirit of opulence.
What do I mean? The spirit of opulence simply means if you think, feel and act abundantly, you seize most blogging opportunities immediately, using these opportunities to enter into a rich, wealthy, fun, freeing way of life. Example; most people who struggle financially feel so filled with fear that they stammer, delay and hesitate any time a blessed blogging opportunity knocks on their door. If you turn down opportunities for growth, you go broke. Plain and simple. Meanwhile, I publish 10 to 12 posts daily – or more – because I gobble up opportunities left and right and live a pretty neat life by adopting this frame of mind. I appear to be all over my niche because I seize blogging opportunities quickly, aggressively and clearly. I do not play around. I do not fear seizing opportunities for blogging growth because we all have to seize opportunities fast and use these blessings to gain the skills and exposure for becoming a successful blogger.
Every blogger who appears to be everywhere grabbed opportunities quickly. Do you notice some bloggers in 10, 20 or seemingly 50 places, at once? Said bloggers wrote and published 200, 300 or 500 guest posts over 6 months to gain such massive exposure. Doesn’t it feel good to help people? Don’t you feel fulfilled by being of benefit to your fellow blogger? Tap into that feeling, seize and use opportunities for growth and you will slowly but steadily experience greater blogging success. Blogging is not for meek, scared folks. Be clear. Be direct. Gobble up opportunities like a blogging beast to accelerate your growth and success to exponential levels.
Hey; if you don’t seize opportunities, I’ll be there to gobble ’em up 😉
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