Hello all, I feel fortunate to have a resource like this to get professional advice and ask questions to other entrepreneurs like yourself. So thank you in advance.
Last year I launched my online business, consumer services, and things are going good so my question is......is there a right way and wrong way to scale an online business? What steps should I take? I dont have any experience in scaling so I want to make sure I do it right! Thank you
What are you trying to scale? The entire business? Sales? Your team? There's a lot to cover if it's growing the entire business, so the first thing to consider is how much growth you can afford or manage.
You mention consumer services, so my guess is you're providing a service yourself. If it's digitally delivered, scaling should be cheap and easy, and it's a matter of making more people aware of it (i.e. Higher marketing costs). In this case, I strongly suggest Russell Brunson's book DotCom Secrets. It's packed with killer ideas for finding new customers and then upselling them on more services. And that in itself can be a way to scale, simply find more (and more expensive) services to sell to the same people. You can then automate some of the customer service with Zendesk and a good FAQ page.
If it's real world, then you have to figure out how you'll serve more customers, which probably means hiring more people. So you'll need to figure out how many people you can afford to hire and how much business they'll need to generate and/or manage to justify their job.
Reply with more specifics on how you want to scale and maybe I can provide a more relevant answer.
Answering about the wrong ways is much easier than the right ways.
One thing that I see loads of founders fail at is showing their potential customers what problem they help solve. Too many people waste time writing about how amazing their idea is rather than showing people a delightful experience.
What does your service claim to offer and does it deliver on that?
Have you warched someone try to onboard who is non-technical like a family member so you can see if there is dropout there?
What is the bounce rate of your website?
Do the same people come back?
Is your product desireable? (hard question the founder can't answer)
How many users have you got?
Do you retain them or do they float away?
A good guide for digital sevices that I often refer back to is the uk gov service manual: https://www.gov.uk/service-manual
On the actual site itself, make sure the site and service are actually working! Use pingdom to get alerts if it goes down. Can you see how many people are using it real time? What metrics are important right now for you to grow is entirely on you.
Start up to scale is one of my forte. Happy to help.. :)
Congratulations - you have a great problem!
While there are many ideas, do not forget to use leverage - especially with limited resources in a startup. Have you fully utilized your happy customers to get more business? Once you have lot more business and backlog of orders, you will have an easier to raise funds to scale the company & hiring employees. Even then, continue to use your customers to bring you more business. If they are happy with your service, chances are they will be happy to help you grow.