Scaling up your business allows you to generate more sales without investing much more capital to make it happen. Scaling a business is more than just growing your business. There’s a slight difference between business growth and scaling business. In this article, we’ll talk about that difference while also suggesting some startup scaling tips to help you make more than you spend on your new business venture. So, let’s dive right into it?
What Is Business Growth?
Business growth is growth of any kind in business. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re profitable. It might just mean you’re breaking even. For instance, if your business generated a million in sales more this year than the year before but you spent a million dollars in hiring a team, you broke even financially, despite the fact that your business experienced growth.
What Is A Scaling Business?
A scaling business is one where you experience growth profitably. Let’s take that same example above. Maybe you generated a million more in sales. However, instead of investing in a new marketing team, you invested a few thousand dollars on creating blog posts, which made more money than it cost to create them. You might’ve also used a scalable tool like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to generate leads for your business without needing to hire a sales representative. The scaling business is a lean business model allowing you to grow without breaking the bank.
How to Scale Your Business in 2021
1. Automate Your Business
Scaling a business with automation is one of the best methods for a great return on investment. There are countless tools that automate parts of your business to help you effectively run your business on your own without needing to hire people. Take Oberlo, for instance, the dropshipping app allows you to import product descriptions and images with a one click import. This drastically reduces the time it takes to upload images to your site manually. Thus, allowing you to do the upfront work on your own in your first few days of entrepreneurship. Or take the Kit app, for example. It helps you automate the marketing process of your business by doing the heavy lifting for you. Kit can run Facebook ads for you. It can also help you automate your emails. It’s like having your own personal assistant. The amazing thing is that both these tools are free in the early stages of your business (before you’ve earned money) allowing you to get the support you need to scale your business without having to spend money you haven’t yet made.
2. Focus on Organic Marketing
Organic marketing scales really well. Take SEO for instance. You can write a blog post for a keyword that has 50,000 monthly searches. Once the article starts ranking in a high position, you’ll start to notice that your blog now generates 50,000 (or even more depending on the volume of secondary keywords) and you only need to spend a few hours each week writing SEO-optimized content to scale your website’s traffic. And if you add in an opt-in form to your website, people will be signing up to learn more without you needing to be there to promote your business. The content scales your website’s traffic and your email opt-in form scales the collection of leads. You can also create landing pages for your niche to help ease people into your funnel. Going after high-intent keywords will improve your chances of finding the right audience though traffic may be slightly lower.
3. Remarket to Existing Customers
A scaling business needs to have an existing customer base. If you’ve never had a customer, there’s nothing to scale. Focusing heavily on acquisition not only costs a lot of money but it’s also less effective than promoting to an existing audience. If you’ve got an email, SMS, or address for previous customers, definitely start remarketing to them as much as you can. You can send emails or SMS with products for sale to entice them to buy. Consider looking at what best-sellers people have bought from you and encourage them to buy more products like that. For instance, if you notice that your best sellers are acne products, consider selling products like skincare or makeup products. Many people with acne will wear makeup to cover their blemishes. It’s a secondary product that could help elevate your sales. Always ask yourself, what else would someone who bought a popular product be interested in buying. Then, sell those products to your existing audience to test out your hypothesis.
4. Run A Delightful Business
A business that scales is more often than not a delightful one. Are you selling high quality products that people want to keep instead of return? Is the shipping time fast? When someone contacts your support team are they always happy with the solution? Do you surprise and wow your customers every now and then? Find ways to improve your business to become more delightful. Consider the experience of every aspect of the shopping experience, marketing, and customer support. How can you add more wow to those areas? Can your customer support team respond more positively instead of providing canned copy and paste responses? Have you vetted the product yourself to ensure it looks and performs as well as you say it does? By taking care of every aspect, you help control the delightfulness of your business. By being delightful, more people will return to shop at your site to help you scale your brand.
5. Outsource Tasks that Don’t Scale
As a business owner, your business activities should be scalable since you’re likely the expert running the show. If there are tasks in your business that don’t scale well, you shouldn’t be responsible for these tasks. Instead, outsource them. Non-scalable tasks include: customer service, responding to social media comments, or even micromanaging freelancers or employees. As an early business owner, you should be focused on marketing and sales as they’re both scalable. By obsessing over those scalable tasks, you improve your odds of generating results. Even if marketing and sales aren’t your strengths, you’ve got to learn how to do them as they’re the lifeline of the business. So in those early stages, roll up your sleeves and execute your scalable tasks, such as writing blog posts, reaching out to businesses about wholesaling your products, and reaching out to the media about your company. The more exposure you can get for yourself, the more likely you are to succeed.
6. Remove Time Suckers
In addition to outsourcing tasks that don’t scale, consider eliminating tasks altogether that take up too much time. For example, if you notice that you can’t focus for long stretches, you might add a social website blocker to prevent you from wasting time during the day. So no more Twitter checks while you’re working on important tasks. If most of your emails are requests for backlinks, you might choose to limit email checks to once a week instead of daily. If your employees all use an instant chat to communicate, consider removing it and resorting back to email or video chats as they may encourage more procrastination than productivity. A scaling business should encourage people to use their time well while working to ensure high performance. If the daily commute to the office eats up time, consider encouraging employees to work from home to get more work done efficiently. Also, if you have multiple employees, consider having a no gossiping, complaining, or politics rule to remove petty arguments from the workplace that distract people from your company mission.
7. Invest in Talent
A scaling business will require a bigger team. That doesn’t mean blowing all your money on hiring. Be sure to hire slowly. Instead of trying to hire multiple people, focus on hiring a couple of really talented people to help you out. It’s also totally okay to start with freelancers to keep your business costs low. A freelancer is generally more affordable than a full-time employee. In the event that the business isn’t performing as well one year, it’s easier to change freelancers than it is to fire full-time staff. Many new entrepreneurs want to feel like they own a big business and hire too many people too quickly which can be detrimental long-term. Instead of rushing to the finish line, aim to build a business that’s as profitable as possible. It’s a much lower and financially successful business to aspire to. Ultimately, a scaling business can’t happen without huge profits. So don’t grow your team too big, invest in finding the most talented people possible.
8. Make Big Improvements to Your Business
When was the last time you invested in your funnel? Or the last time to did a product quality check? Do you regularly add new features to your website to make the experience more pleasant for your customers? A scaling business is one that’s regularly invested in. As your business grows, you’ll not only want to reinvest profits to generate more sales but also to create a better product. If you’re in the SaaS industry, you’ll want to make better tweaks and additions to your products so that more people will want to use it and to lower churn rates. If you’re in the ecommece space, you’ll want to invest in your own epic product photography, improved features to help better convert on your website, and ordering product samples to ensure that customers are getting the good stuff. In the beginning, your focus is just to get enough sales to go beyond breaking even. But a scaling business needs to innovate its product line, website, and funnels to ensure that customers become hooked on the brand for years to come.
9. Focus on Long-term Social Platforms
A post on Twitter lasts, on average, about 10 minutes. On Facebook, about five hours. But on Pinterest, at least four months. Pins I created over a year and a half ago are still my most viral pins. The lifetime of a pin on Pinterest is recurring and lasting– especially, if there’s search volume for that keyword in question. Rather than investing time to create countless tweets hoping to get a couple of dozen of clicks, focus on the social platforms that give back way more than you put into it. YouTube is another great social platform that also lasts a really long time. What do Pinterest and YouTube have in common? They’re both search-based social platforms. Since people are constantly searching for popular keywords on social, the recurring traffic can last a really long time. So, instead of following the herds and promoting your business on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, aim to promote your business on platforms like Pinterest and YouTube and you’ll really start to see some traction.
10. Consider B2B sales
One of the best ways to scale a business is to focus on B2B sales instead of B2C. A business can afford to buy a lot more than a single customer. For instance, if you sell a subscription to your app, if you focus on promoting your app to other businesses, you can sell a corporate subscription, which can generate thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or if you’re in the ecommerce space, you can choose to wholesale your products to other businesses who sell higher levels of volume. You’re selling yourself and your business short if you only focus on a B2C market. Find ways to sell your products to other businesses so you can scale much more quickly.
11. Keep Costs Lean
We’ve hinted at it a bit already, but a scaling business is all about keeping costs lean. Avoid trying to look like a business owner to friends and family. No, you don’t need an office to be legit. No, you don’t need a team of 50 in your first year. There’s no one to impress. Aim to build a sustainable, growing business in the most cost-effective way possible. That might mean working in your home office with a team of freelancers. In the beginning, you might spend more time working on your business making you more of an employee than an owner. Remember, that the upfront work in the beginning of your business can help you keep costs low until you become profitable.
A scaling business is all about keeping costs low and expanding your reach. By investing in marketing strategies and social platforms that scale well, such as blogging or creating YouTube videos, you’ll be more likely to scale over the years as your business grows. Automating aspects of your business will help you run a lean business that doesn’t require as much hands on help. But when it comes to hiring, you’ll want to focus on outsourcing tasks that don’t scale well like customer service. And don’t forget to build a delightful business so people want to keep coming back for years to come.