As your business begins to draw more attention, it’s tempting to significantly ramp up production or take on numerous new clients. But doing so without looking at the long-term impact will only bring you grief. Taking on projects you don’t have the staff or resources to manage, or overestimating just how much the market can support the work you do, may lead you to overextend.
So, it’s a balancing act: You need to grow to take advantage of business opportunities without growing so fast that you damage, or destroy, a company you’ve put your heart into.
With this in mind, 15 members from YEC share their top tips for scaling a business without going too fast.
1. Look at Processes First
Your business is a set of repetitive processes — for sales, operations, marketing, and finance — refined over time and communicated clearly to your team. If you want to grow, your processes have to grow, too. Think about putting in the right processes now for a company three to 10 times your size. Sure, you can manually run payroll now, but you can’t for 100 employees.
2. Look at the Long-Term Results
Almost all growth looks appealing in the short run, but it’s long-term viability that actually matters. The difference between flash-in-the-pan businesses and those with viable long-term success is that they look at the big picture. Before looking at a growth opportunity, see if it makes sense one or even five years from now. Comparing the costs to long-term gains will ensure the right choice.
3. Launch Your Product Quietly
Any successful business will start to scale, and if you want to manage your growth without scaling quickly, you will need to throttle your marketing. By launching quietly by placing your product or service online, you will be able to manage the influx of customers and grow on your terms. If you have launched a strong marketing campaign, you won’t have the control offered by a soft launch.
4. Hire People Who Can Identify Inefficiencies
Bring people onto your team who can identify inefficiencies in your business while driving the business forward with out-of-the-box ideas. To scale, you need a team of people who aren’t afraid of failure, so look for that in the hiring process.
5. Say ‘No’ to Retail Before You’re Ready
One of the best decisions we made early on was delaying our retail launch. As an IoT product, it was really difficult to turn down offers from Best Buy, Amazon and others. We needed time to get everything prepared for a full retail launch, and waiting six months was a good decision. If you launch before you’re ready, you can wear yourself too thin. By ramping up, you’ll scale in a sustainable way.
6. Make Sure Every New Order is Supported
If you’re accepting more orders than you can satisfy, you’re growing too fast and something will break. Make sure that you have the resources to meet every order that comes in, and then bring on new resources to help you meet increasing demands. When you build a business model on supply and demand, you’ll have a firmer understanding of what you can achieve and where you need to build up.
7. Manage Your Cash Flow
One of the pitfalls of growing too fast is managing your cash flow. In fact, if you extend net terms (i.e. 30 days) to your customers and your growth picks up, it’s possible you can run out of money and be unable to meet your minimum cash needs, such as payroll and marketing. That’s why it is critical to evaluate financing options — such as an adequate line of credit — to manage and maximize growth.
8. Staff Aggressively
One fast way to break a business is by stretching key team members too thin. When you’re experiencing a growth spurt, hire more contractors or staff to ensure everyone has adequate resources to fulfill their jobs, rather than being forced to be reactive to everything that’s going on when they’re understaffed.
9. Set Goals and Timelines
You need to be able to set reasonable goals within reasonable timelines when it comes to your company’s growth rate. For example, at six months we want to have “x” amount of employees and “x” amount of clients. At one year we want this many… and so on. This will put your company’s growth in perspective for you and your entire team, and set expectations for all.
10. Know Your Numbers
Do extensive market research to make sure any horizontal growth is justified by quantifiable projected growth. The problem many businesses encounter is “over-investing.” When increased success encourages expansion, there’s a tendency to spend more on scaling than the market can handle.
– Nicholas Nadjarian, Industrial Motor Power Corp.
11. Focus on Retention, Not Superficial Growth
A lot of businesses that grow too fast (and end up folding) decide to scale because they want to absolve or justify their valuation. What ends up happening is that the business will bleed cash in order to create buzz and service those new customers. When you scale your business, you will definitely attract new customers, but you should focus on retention instead of superficial growth.
12. Outsource Projects
One thing that people often forget is that there are plenty of people out there who don’t want to work for someone, but would love a steady stream of work. Using this to everyone’s advantage has upsides for both parties. If your business has lots of project work and you’d like to be able to take more or less at times, then partnerships with like-minded people are the way to go.
13. Don’t Scale to Suit Investors
Venture capital investors and founders play on the same field, but they aren’t playing the same game. VCs will push lots of companies to grow very quickly with the knowledge that most will fail — they spread their bets. Founders, who are all in on one company, should be more cautious about rapid growth. Focus on establishing reliable revenue streams so you can support organic growth.
14. Grow With Your Projects
Resist the urge to staff up like crazy and get an office that doesn’t fit your needs. Grow with demand. Bring on the team you need in order to sign the clients you want to be signing. Continue to scale this up as demand and resources allow. A fancy office or large staff doesn’t mean anything without the client roster to back them up.
15. Be Ready to Pause (Briefly)
Scaling up a business is like trying to change the wheels on a race car while it’s zipping around the track. You will have to pull over for some — hopefully short — amount of time while you rip out or adjust old, unscalable processes and set yourself up for the next stage of growth in order to prevent disaster down the road. Don’t be afraid of this transition: It’s not a plateau, it’s a jumping-off point.
How to Scale Your Business with Content Marketing
We hope you enjoyed our latest YEC expert roundup series, which is focused on providing you with actionable tips on how to grow and scale your blog, brand, and business to new levels of growth. To learn more about how to reach new audiences and create a content marketing plan for your business, be sure to check out our how to start a blog guide and make money blogging guide. Each of these guides will prove useful in breaking down the various components for effectively creating original content for your audience, while also discovering how to use call-to-actions, viral marketing, and outreach to rank higher in the search results.
1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific
I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.
I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.
A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.
Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.
Not super shabby.
I am kinda prolific.
If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.
Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.
Do not wait to create.
Do Not Wait to Create
The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.
Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.
Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.
I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.
Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.
No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.
All because I chose not to wait to create.
Being Prolific Impacts Folks
Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:
awesome!! Congrats Ryan – one of the hardest working bloggers on the planet you are!!
— CoreyHinde-GoodOil (@thecorsta) July 16, 2018
I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.
Tips to Be Prolific
- Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
- Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
- Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
- Do not wait to create
- Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.
Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.
How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Going if You Feel Hopelessly Stuck
I lose blogging momentum sometimes.
You may be in the same boat, being human and all.
But if you regularly find yourself saying “I need to get serious about building my blog” over the course of years it is time to own this fact: you need to get your blogging mojo going before you become permanently stuck in a blogging rut.
I was rut-stuck here and there for many years, on and off. Maybe I didn’t quit blogging totally but I’d start blogging, then stop, and continue this process for weeks on end. Not good.
You can find your blogging mojo and get unstuck by following these blogging tips.
1: Pick a Dream that Makes You Feel Alive
I am led by my dreams, not pushed by problems, because I picked a big old dream a while back. I wanted to circle the globe. Bingo!
Since I wanted to travel the world more than I feared doing uncomfortable, blogging-building things, I built a rocking blog and kept on moving, keeping my blogging mojo going.
What is your dream? Figure it out. Hold it tight.
If you need inspiration watch my video from New Zealand. I filmed this one at Mount Cook a few months ago.
2: Feel Fears Fueling Your Struggles
Some folks believe they lack motivation to blog. Others feel they are lazy. But at the end of the day, if you are not acting, you are afraid of something or someone.
Laziness is fear manifest. So find your fears, by shutting a door and sitting in a quiet room, and if you feel the deep fears you purge the energies and proceed from an inspired, loving, persistent, energized space.
I kept putting off writing an eBook for many years. Turns out I was not lazy; I just feared nobody would buy the eBook because I saw myself as a loser who knew little. I also feared people would criticize me. But I went forward and wrote my first eBook to get out of my fear-rut and to keep on moving.
Some of my eBooks do not sell as much as others and people sometimes post negative reviews of my eBooks but since I do not fear these outcomes, neither have any power over me. I just keep expanding my success, helping folks and befriending blogging pros because I move forward, unburdened by many blogging fears I faced, embraced and released.
3: Study Persistently Energized Bloggers
I am no Tony Robbins but blog persistently from an energized space.
Each day I:
- do 1 hour of deep yin yoga
- exercise for 1 hour
- usually take an icy cold shower
- focus on having fun with my blog versus attaching to money or traffic outcomes
I have written thousands of guest posts, over 10,000 blog posts (old and new blogs combined) and I have also written over 100 eBooks. Toss in the thousands of videos I created over many YouTube channels (since closed) and you see I am a pretty prolific dude. An energized, prolific dude at that.
You’d be wise to see how I go about my energy ritual daily to take a few pointers. Consider deep yin yoga to open up your body, to open your mind and to form the habit of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe meditating daily opens your awareness. Exercise is definitely a must, every single day.
Circulating your energy freely moves you from being fear-based, lazy and sluggish to being love-based, energized and prolific. I was once pretty dang lazy before I dove deep into energy work.
Wrapping it Up
Keep at it guys. I know this blogging journey feels scary sometimes but if you grab the right blogging resources and follow the above tips you will avoid common blogging ruts that appear to cripple most bloggers.
1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting
Have you missed me?
I dove full bore into promoting my eBook through blog commenting a number of months back. Toss in a prolific blogging campaign over at Blogging From Paradise and some serious video creation and you see I am a busy bee.
A few days ago I uncovered an incredibly neat and pretty clever way to drive traffic to your blog through blog commenting, via a neat method of finding new blogs for your collection.
Do you feel stagnant, blog-reading-wise?
I did. For a minute.
Turns out I dug deep into my blogging comfort zone for too many years, reading and commenting on the same blogs week after week, month after month.
If you know anything about successful blogging you likely know that all blogging growth occurs well outside of your comfort zone. So I had to venture out of the familiar by finding new blogs in both the blogging and travel blogging niches because my readers gravitate to both.
Enter a cool method for identifying new blogs for reading and commenting.
Google Image Search
The other day a neat little idea knocked on my mind’s door; why not use a Google image search to find blogs in my niches?
5 minutes later I literally had an unlimited number of blogs for enjoying, commenting and for connecting with fellow bloggers.
The method is simple. Google a competitive keyword in your niche. Example; I Googled “blogging” to start my search.
I then clicked on the “image” link by the top of the page. A series of images popped up related to that keyword.
Some images link to business sites but for the “blogging” keyword, most images linked to well-read, reputable blogs. Perfect.
Blog by blog, I slowly worked through each image, clinking on the blog post URL related to each picture. After reading each post I published a personalized comment and retweeted every blog post, adding the #blogging hashtag for increased targeting on Twitter.
Why this Strategy Is So Powerful
I – like you – have run into stagnant blogging circles on social media and through forums. Even if new bloggers join sites like Facebook and G Plus daily you cannot access and unlimited number of new blogs on a daily basis through either channel once you become an established blogger.
This is not the case with a Google Image search because the sheer volume of new blogs – for competitive keywords – yielded through such a search boggles the mind. Even better? Ranking high for an image search usually indicates a high quality blog for reading, for commenting and for building friendships with top shelf bloggers.
Some of these blogs linked to images are low quality offerings. Resist the urge to grab and scarf down rotten blogging low hanging fruit. Stick to quality blogs.
Some images point to business sites. I found this to be especially true when Googling major cities and islands around the world to find new travel bloggers. A high volume of images found during a search linked to tour operator sites. Sifting through tour sites or local chamber of commerce sites to find legit travel blogs requires a significant amount of time and energy.
Spending the time and energy to find new blogs is worth the effort but if you find some keyword image searches seem dominated by business sites – not blogs – feel free to try another keyword that may be linked to predominantly blogs for an image search on Google.
I only dove into this traffic driving strategy a few weeks ago but I noted new bloggers finding me daily through this approach.
If you are stagnating in familiar blogging circles commit 100% to this Google image search method. Reach out to new bloggers, build brand awareness and drive traffic through an easy to follow tactic.
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