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How To Scale A Business On Shopify
For today’s guide we thought that we would share five tips for merchants to learn how to scale a business on Shopify.
Written by Madeleine
Business owners are constantly scanning the horizon for growth opportunities. So, for today’s guide, we thought that we would share five tips for merchants to learn how to scale a business on Shopify.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that growth is beneficial, but it’s not always sustainable. To scale sustainably means going with a plan and being prepared to handle any challenge that’s thrown your way.
In other words, it’s the difference between generating a sudden spike in sales with every process falling apart and generating a sudden spike in sales while handling every order smoothly whilst providing great customer support.
As we’re sure you can imagine, scaling a business takes planning, expertise and occasionally funding to get the job done, which is why we're going to focus on purposeful expansion and long-term scaling strategies within today's article.
Learning how to scale a business is no easy task, but by following the steps outlined within today’s guide, your business will be closer to achieving its full scalability potential.
In a nutshell, scaling a business requires:
Making a plan.
Evaluating the supply chain.
Automating where possible.
Ready to Grow? 🌱
When it comes to learning how to scale a business, it’s important to understand that growth doesn’t just need the right plan, but the right timing to succeed and thrive.
On the other hand, growing too quickly can lead to expenses that cannot be paid, employees that are not required and a supply chain that has grown out of control.
Therefore, failing to scale at the correct time could result in unfulfilled orders and uncompleted tasks.
So, if you’re curious about how to scale a business the right way on Shopify, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself to decide if it’s time to start scaling a business sustainably.
The Next Step of Entrepreneurship
If you're truly ready to manage a larger company, you should take your business setup to the next level.
However, this is a task that should not be taken up lightly, as scaling a business will require additional time, resources and experience, all of which merchants must be willing to provide.
It’s important to put the hard work in first, but don’t be fooled, scaling up is also a very exciting time.
Nonetheless, there will be challenging moments and during these times, just be sure to remember to keep your cool if you’re serious about accomplishing long-term scalability for your company.
So, with all of the above in mind, do you think that you’re ready for the next step of entrepreneurship? Take a look at the following questions and consider their answers to find out:
Are you prepared to take on more strategic tasks? This could involve adding new product lines to your store's inventory or selling internationally.
Will you be able to devote more time to your business without jeopardising other aspects of your life?
Do you have the necessary financial resources on hand?
Do you require outside help and support? You might be in a position where delegating marketing or customer support to an outside team might make your life easier.
Do you require additional employees to complete tasks for your business? If you're having trouble making your business work with your present workforce, it might be time to scale up.
Do you find it difficult to keep up with your store's orders? When you have a bigger volume than your company can handle, merchants risk falling behind on packaging and deliveries, as well as experiencing customer service gaps.
Are you having trouble keeping up with your store’s inventory? If you're continually running out of stock and clients are demanding restocks, it's time to learn how to scale a business.
Note: Some businesses are designed to be small so, it’s more than okay if you would like your side hustle to stay that way. So, when it comes to making the big decision, it’s important to consider your priorities, lifestyle habits and financial situation before beginning the process of scaling a business.
How to Scale a Business (5 Steps) 📈
As every business and every founder has distinct strengths and challenges, there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for learning how to scale a business on Shopify.
For instance, scaling a business within the clothing industry will be completely different from scaling a business within the skincare industry.
Having said that, there are some common threads to consider and we have outlined the key factors within the following sections below:
N0.1: Make a Plan
If your company began as a hobby, you may have just been going with the flow, but a business plan is required to scale sustainably.
Making a plan will not only assist you to better understand your business, but it will also be something you will need to demonstrate if you ever need to seek funding from a third party.
A business plan can be formatted in a variety of ways, but a basic strategy should include a; executive summary, company description, market analysis, logistics plan, operations plan, financial plan and a marketing plan.
Additionally, the plan should also cover; business management, organisation, products, services and customer segmentation.
In a nutshell, with this laid out, you'll be building a strategic marketing plan and a prediction for the future that outlines your company's growth strategy and goals.
So, questions that should be asked and answered here include:
What is a reasonable sales target for the coming year?
What will it be like in five years?
How do you want to expand your marketing capabilities?
In short, make a clear picture of where your company is now and where you’d like it to go.
To get started, we’d recommend using the tools below as you think about scaling a business and the next steps needed to construct your project.
N0.2: Evaluate the Supply Chain ⛓️
Scaling a business generates a higher volume of sales, therefore, your supply chain must be equipped to handle these demands as what works well for your brand right now might not work as well at scale.
Pantee, for instance, began its journey by making underwear out of thrifted t-shirts. They then switched to dead-stock t-shirts, which take longer to process as already-made shirts take longer to cut and evaluate for quality. So the brand has since had to expand its source materials.
Pantee goods are now manufactured in Bangladesh, but going overseas might not be the right move for your supply chain, which is why it’s important to evaluate whether your current sourcing and manufacturing processes still function well at scale.
N0.3: Hire Strategically
When it comes to learning how to scale a business, hiring employees strategically is one of the most important aspects of growing a company.
In a word, scaling up means you might not be able to do everything yourself or with the employees hired so far to keep your company running.
However, the most important decision is to recruit additional team members to handle brand and community management, as this relieves the present team of that burden, allowing them to focus on the core duties of the business.
So, if recruiting is an element of your scaling strategy, we’d recommend recruiting where an extra employee would be most useful.
Note: It was in the marketing department for Pantee, but it might lie with product development, customer support, or even sales for your company.
See, employees are a significant financial investment so, they should be focused on areas that will yield the greatest profit when it comes to scaling a business.
N0.4: Outsource for Efficiency 👨💼
If hiring employees isn't feasible, there are other options for streamlining and scaling a business as it grows. For example, some businesses do not have full-time staff.
Instead, help is outsourced through the likes of marketing agencies since many small businesses feel that this is something a third-party could do better, creating more sophisticated campaigns and digital content and the like.
Some companies struggle with order fulfilment as they begin to grow as it is no longer viable to package all of the orders and ship them off at the post office.
So, when it comes to understanding how to scale a business, it might be time to use the Shopify Fulfilment Network to handle the heavy lifting.
Note: Whether you choose to hire an agency or an employee, you should think about where you need the greatest assistance.
If you're having trouble promoting your small business, it'll just get more difficult as you grow.
So, be sure to determine which elements of your organisation would benefit from the expertise you lack and research third-party services that can assist you.
N0.5: Automate Where Possible
Tools designed to automate your workflow can help you get things done faster and more efficiently at scale.
Simple improvements, such as creating programmed responses to deal with a high volume of customer service questions, are possible.
For instance, utilising the Shopify Inbox app to communicate with customers is a great example of how to scale a business whilst optimising customer care.
This application, in particular, allows merchants to use live chat which we all know is a great method to drive conversions in a way that keeps all of your interactions in one place.
Additionally, the Shopify Inbox application can save responses and provide stats for merchants to track their progress.
Are you ready to get automated? Check out these handy bots to learn more about how to streamline your business.
So, what are your thoughts on our guide to learning how to scale a business on Shopify? Reach out and let us know.
If you’re actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!
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If you're actively looking to work with a Shopify agency designer or developer to assist you with your business, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch to get started!