It has never been simpler to start a business. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection in this day in age. However, just because it is possible doesn’t mean it is easy. Many businesses struggle to get started, while others have early success and then fail to scale the brand. All companies face struggles when trying to scale, but friction can be reduced if you follow some high-level guidelines. The Trellis video series continues today as Trellis CRO Jared Shaner gives an inside look at how growing businesses can start to recognize it is time to scale operations to the next level.
Growth Support Systems
It is relatively easy for new businesses to have early-on success. However, maintaining consistent growth over the years is where things prove a bit tricky. For brands that want to gain market share in archaic industries, not only do they need innovative product solutions, but solid infrastructure and operations to build upon. Startups should not shy away from the David vs Goliath mentality, but they must proceed with extreme caution. The giant corporations are that size for a reason. They have the resources and tools to protect themselves from the competition. This does not mean you cannot overtake them, but you must be calculated in your efforts to do so.
Knowing the Right Time to Scale
Business is all about timing. Making the right decision at the wrong time could be just as problematic as making the wrong decision altogether. You don’t want to invest too much too early or scale when it’s already too late. Here are some triggers to pay attention to that may indicate it is time to scale your brand to the next level.
Avoid Drowning in Manual Processes
Early on, it is important to keep costs as low as possible by handling everything yourself. Avoiding licensing fees, transaction costs, or hourly wages can help your business get the ball rolling and stay cash flow positive. However, once these manual processes start to take over your entire bandwidth, it is time to re-evaluate. As the business owner/operator it is important that you have the time to focus on the macro-strategy of your brand. If you are worried about processing orders by hand, you will not have sufficient time to organize your thoughts for expansion and growth. If your team members are complaining about certain nuances of your operations, listen to them. As you grow, making certain investments in software applications can help reduce the stress on your employees which in turn opens up more resources to grow the brand.
Pay Attention to the Relationship Between Sales and Marketing
Both of your teams must work together to be successful. Marketing drives the sales and sales data helps fuel the marketing efforts. Without one, it is difficult to have the other. As the business owner, you want to facilitate communication between your teams and reduce friction as much as possible. If your sales team has to manually write out orders, they will be slowed down. The marketers may get annoyed that orders are taking a long time to process when they are doing such a good job of bringing orders in. Make sure to hold a balance between the teams and hold both sides accountable for making it work., if you are noticing repeated issues, it is probably time to pay for some software to help bridge the gap.
As your business grows, you will be running multiple operations and divisions simultaneously. Quite often these processes become jerry-rigged together just to keep the momentum going in the right direction. However, as you scale these inefficiencies will start to catch up with you and affect the bottom line. As you integrate software and update your approach, ensure that all functions operate smoothly and work harmoniously with each other.
Research your Customers
It is important to understand that as your business grows, so do your customers. As best as possible, you want to ensure that all parties grow together. This means understanding their behaviors, habits, and goals in order to cater to your products and services around them. Find your target and duplicate any success you have. Become a data-driven company from the get-go.
Pay Attention to Software Costs
When you are just starting off, a small commission paid on every sale is a no-brainer. However, once you start raking in millions of dollars each month, a flat-fee taken off every sale is not sustainable. If you notice licensing fees and commissions draining your profitability, it is probably time to re-evaluate your software needs.
If you have any questions regarding scaling your business (eCommerce or not) feel free to reach out to the Trellis team. We have dedicated teams full of experts in design, development, marketing, and strategy that can help tackle any problems you may be facing.