It is important to scale up your online business once you have established it. However, scaling up your business takes a different approach because you must take an incremental and strategic approach.
It’s about much more than simply bringing in additional resources to keep pace with sales. You also need to be aware of your financial accounting to make sure your dreams are supported.
The UK’s online retail sector has seen a huge increase in sales over the past several years. This is partly due to the unique conditions of the pandemic. However, online sales remain a large market and offer significant opportunity for retailers.
Do you need to scale up in order to benefit from these opportunities?
Are My Ecommerce Businesses Scalable?
This is the most important question to ask. Some ecommerce business models are not scalable. Business owners may need to expand to reach their goals.
You may not need to scale up your existing online company if it is earning you the right income and allowing you to have an optimal work-life balance.
But if your objectives, whether these are lifestyle or business-focused, require a scaled-up version of your business, then it’s time to think seriously about what this will involve.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ to scaling up a business. While every business may be at a different point on the scale spectrum, there are certain things that all businesses can do to increase their reach.
Leadership and vision
If you’re choosing to scale up, you need to get others to buy into your vision for your ecommerce business. Even if you don’t employ lots of staff, you’ll still need to convey your commitment to stakeholders, investors and other interested parties.
There’s also a customer-facing side to scaling up. It’s about translating your leadership vision to something that resonates and inspires customers.
You’ll need to separate working on your business from working in it. You can focus on strategic scaling by getting rid of the mundane admin. You should think about your purpose and core values. How can you make them align with the culture of the business and identity of the brand?
Which aspects of your business need to be changed and which ones should remain the same?
Processes and Systems
This refers to the actual stuff that is used in the operation of an ecommerce company’s engine room.
Are you able to scale up your capabilities? Are you able to adapt your software? Which platform do you use to sell your software? How scalable are they in meeting your goals?
Consider which aspects of your business you’ve automated, and which might benefit from further automation. Take a look at lead generation, marketing and cloud accounting software that can be integrated with your platform.
Consider how automation can help you scale up your business if there are a few employees.
Automation isn’t necessarily about replacing people, but rather augmenting their individual skill-sets.
How to manage your finances
The systems and processes that support scaling-up aren’t just those directly concerned with marketing and selling online.
It is important to ensure that you have the right accounting tools and software to help manage your finances.
An expanded business will require more capital, investments and liabilities. You must also generate more revenue.
Your scaling-up plans will be supported by monitoring your cash flow, profit and loss, and your balance sheet. If you haven’t invested in cloud-based accounting software and support, now’s the time to do so.
Every step in your business journey, the right accounting system can help you grow.
Many businesses begin as a partnership or one person, and then grow. However, scaling your business requires that you change the way you think about it.
You may need a broader perspective to help you realise your vision, including the expertise that you don’t possess personally.
It means that you need to hire new staff members in order to scale your business. It might be outsourcing, such as the hiring of specialist ecommerce accountants. Or it could require direct recruitment. It is a change in the way you think about responsibility, and it can be done with the willingness to delegate.
And again, you’ll need the necessary financial administration to support this, such as payroll management.
When scaling up your business, focus on the Objectives
As we said, scaling up requires a planned process. It requires business planning and setting milestones, goals, and objectives.
You’ll need to assess new opportunities and ideas carefully, and see how they fit in with your overall strategy for growth.
And you’ll need to build flexibility into your planning. You cannot control certain things, so you will need to be flexible and adaptable.
It is all about creating momentum to grow. Understanding what it takes to keep this going and what to do to stop the momentum from slipping away are key to scaling-up.
It is okay to ask for expert help and acknowledge the benefits of professional support when you are working towards your goals.
Entrepreneurship Life’s first article was How to Scale Your Ecommerce Business.