In the planning stages, it’s easy to imagine your business is open, sales are pouring in, and you’re pretty much just watching your bank account increase. You can also put in the part where you’re looking at your bank account from your laptop while you’re sitting on the beach in some exotic locale. The reality is a lot different isn’t it? Taking a startup to scaling up is work, very hard work. There are also things you need to know how to do or it can be the end of your business if you allow them continue. Here’s an overview of what they are and solutions.
Market or Die
This is a huge factor for any business. There’s outbound marketing like print and radio ads. Also inbound marketing like blogging can be powerful for your brand recognition when done right. Business owners that don’t see the value in spending money on advertising are basically saying they never want their business to grow….or stay open.
Price Point is Too Low
It’s one thing to be competitive in the marketplace, but don’t sell yourself short. One of the biggest clues is when you’re making a lot of sales, and you’re still not able to draw a full paycheck for yourself or otherwise having difficulty making the revenue to meet your expenses. The solution is simple, take a hard look at your costs to produce your product or service. Include all the overhead in your calculations, and it should be easier to meet expenses. A good way to handle this is to raise prices for new customers only, and see if the market has any pushback. If your price increase will make your product or service at the high end of your industry, consider aspects you can call value-added services to make it more appealing to customers.
Know Thy Customer
Who are your customers? If you can’t answer this question, you need to learn and fast. You must know how to market your product and service. This is done by knowing who the people are that are most likely to buy. If you aren’t clear how to target customers, either hire someone or outsource the job to someone with skills pronto. You will save tons of money on advertising if you know the people you need to be reaching.
You Put Cat Pictures Up on Facebook and No One Bought Anything
While it is a scientific fact that cats run the Internet, they won’t help you make sales. Your social media needs to be there to support and inform about your brand. You don’t have to be dry and boring, but don’t do anything that doesn’t have the potential to give you a return on the time spent on social media. Most important, once you start – don’t quit. This is another important way to market that you either need to hire someone in-house or outsource.
You Can’t Wear All Hats
Before you get burned out and it starts endangering your business, figure out your strong suit and use it to grow your brand. There are things that only you can do. Do them. Bring in people who believe as much as you do in the big picture you’re trying to accomplish, and build a strong team capitalizing on each individual’s strengths. Scaling up will come much easier, and you won’t wind up working 19-hour days.
Have a Plan for Growth
Rapid growth can happen literally overnight to any startup. If orders start coming in rapidly, make sure you have a plan in place to handle it. Consider the areas you will need to concentrate on expanding as business increases such as your customer service department. One solution would be to hire temporary labor until you could fill the positions internally. Consider what happened to Groupon and their overnight growth could happen to you too.
SEO is as Important as Having a Site
If you have a website for your brand, search engine optimization should be part of the plan too. You need to have a mobile responsive site that advertises for your brand 24/7. Make sure every page shows your brand at its best. Also, if you don’t already have an SEO plan in place, either hire someone or outsource to make sure your site is updated regularly to stay competitive for organic searches.
If these seven areas are strong with your company, congratulations! You have a healthy business and are keeping it that way. If you have questions about marketing, or would like regular tips and advice on staying ahead of the curve, sign up for our free newsletter for exclusive access to information you won’t find anywhere else.