When you initially start your own online business, there’s no doubt you have all kinds of goals and visions in mind of where you want the business to go in the future. Obviously, success is a long road that takes plenty of work, which means the business will go through all different stages and sizes over the years. Starting out small is always a cautious and often smart way to go about things, but over time, you may start to reach the point where you question whether it’s time to scale things up.
Scaling up a business can mean a variety of things, from growing your inventory, increasing your product and service offerings, growing your customer base, hiring on your first staff, or adding to existing staff, which means a whole lot for you to think about before taking that next step. So, in order to make things less complicated and stressful, here are some of the key steps you’ll want to take when you start to scale up the size and scope of your online business.
Identify What It Is You Want to Grow
Before you can even start to take steps that allow your company to scale up, it’s important to identify what areas you want to grow. Do you want to start offering more products and services? Perhaps you want to reach more markets? It could be that you want to get more repeat customers, but then again, maybe you want to partner up with additional vendors and partners to provide customers with a better experience?
At this point, it’s a great idea to take a look at your original business plan and write out your new goals. By doing this, you’ll help to make the path to success much clearer.
Broaden Your Reach and Think Globally
If you have been concentrating on the local customer market, or even state-wide market, it may be time to expand your horizons and think globally. One of the greatest things about online businesses is the fact it can reach such a massive and broad audience – you aren’t restricted by location. This is something you can fully use to your advantage, and start reaching out to new markets.
Now with that said, there are a lot of factors you’ll need to think about. First, it’s a good idea to do your customer research before expanding to any kind of new market. From there, you want to look at how you can accept various currencies, how shipping can be handled (if that applies), taxes and duties, and so forth. It can seem like a lot to research and figure out, but if the end result allows you to enter into all kinds of new markets, then it could be well worth the effort.
Prepare to Manage Additional Staff
As your business grows, there’s a good chance you will no longer be able to go about things all on your own, or with a skeleton staff. What this means is that you need to hire on skilled and talented people that can help take your business to that next level of success.
For those who have never managed staff or acted as a leader, this can be a bit daunting. You need to be able to delegate, communicate, motivate, and help your employees to be the very best they can be. It can be extremely helpful to look into leadership training courses and programs that will give you the kind of tools you need to act as a manager.
Update and Upgrade Software
Part of scaling up your business will also involve you taking a look at your current software and processes and looking for ways you can make impactful changes. You want your business to be as efficient and productive as possible, and today, just about every company relies on software to make this happen. An online business especially relies on software to ensure everything is running as it should and customers are getting the best experience possible.
As you work to improve your company’s IT systems, it can also be helpful to improve your knowledge and understanding of how the various programs and systems work. Sure, you may never be an IT professional, but understanding the various aspects of your own business is extremely important to its overall success. Enrolling on something such as a European Computer Driving Licence course, or ECDL, is a great way to beef up your knowledge of computer basics.
In the ECDL course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of IT where Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are concerned – all the big programs. The course will prepare you to sit the ECDL tests, and because it is an online course, you’ll also have the flexibility to learn and go at your own pace. To find one suitable for your business needs, visit findcourses.co.uk, where you can compare programs and discover exactly what you will be taught.
Look for Ways to Automate Processes and Systems
This particular step goes hand-in-hand with the software and IT tip. Any time you can automate processes that are typically done manually, it will help you to speed up production and thereby increase efficiency.
Grow Your Online Presence
Now, because you have an online business, you are likely aware of how important a strong online presence is, so there is no time like the present to start beefing it up. Make sure that you are active on all the various social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and that you are posting content that is engaging and relevant on a regular basis. It’s also important that you are engaging with followers by responding to comments and questions in a timely manner. You want to show that there is a face behind the screen, not just a robot.
It may be worth your time and money to think about hiring on a dedicated social media manager, or even contract one. This will ensure that all the necessary steps are taken without you having to remember and take time away from your other duties.
Ensure Your Host Can Handle the Increase in Customers
As you grow and expand, you will ultimately end up putting more strain on your website host. Depending on the host you have, that may not be a problem at all, or it may be that it’s time to shop around for a new host. The last thing you want is to have your site crashing and not being able to accommodate the uptick in visitors. Customers are fickle and won’t often come back if your site proves to be buggy and slow.
Ideally you want to find a website host that is able to accommodate your immediate needs as well as your future plans.
Plenty of Steps You Can Take
When it comes to scaling up your business, there are so many things that can in fact grow and be scaled up, so first it is a matter of identifying what your main goals are. From there you can start to take the steps necessary in order to succeed, keeping in mind that a slow and measured response plan is usually the best way to go about things.