The success of your ecommerce store depends on your ability to grow it. For some, this might mean extracting more value from current customers, whereas for others it might mean bringing your brand to a global audience.
However, while growth is always good, how you manage that growth can have a significant impact on the long-term health of the company. And what’s more, a period of quick growth can actually put a company under considerable strain, threatening its ability to continue to operate efficiently and keep customers happy.
As a result, it’s important to have a plan for how you’re going to manage this growth, as this is the only way you can ensure your business remains profitable and sustainable. So, to get you headed in the right direction, here are a few tips from some of the worlds leading businesses.
#1 Stay Committed to Company Culture
When asked about some of the most important things he did in the early days of starting his company, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky talked a lot about core values. This isn’t always what people think of when considering what’s important to the growth of a company, but here’s why this is so crucial: setting core values allows you to install a company culture designed to make it easier to manage growth.
Think about it. One of the biggest challenges of managing a growing company is deciding where to focus your energy. What’s going to produce the best results? What’s going to resonate best with the target audience? What’s going to please customers and encourage their loyalty? All of these questions are important, but they are quite difficult to answer.
By taking the time to establish your core values, and then by committing yourself to them as you grow, you’ll make it easier to answer these questions and make decisions. All you need to do is ask if something is in line with your core values or company culture.
If the answer is no, then there’s a good chance it’s not something you want to pursue. By doing this in the beginning, it gives you a clearer blueprint for developing company culture, which can give your company a major competitive edge down the road.
#2 Outsource and Automate Where You Can
Another good thing to keep in mind as you grow is that you do not need to, and can't do everything. And trying to do so will likely lead to your downfall. Most small businesses fail because of improper cash flow management, and this can happen really easily when you try to do too much.
For example, spending a bunch of money on IT and cybersecurity infrastructure is going to cost you a fortune and produce few if any tangible returns. In this instance, you’d be far better off outsourcing this to a firm who can share the costs of this infrastructure among many different clients.
Another good thing to do is to outsource your HR operation. Employee relations issues can become difficult to manage when you’re going through a period of growth, so having the ability to work with outside experts can make your business much better.
And we, of course, cannot forget automation. Payroll and accounting software can help you manage these aspects of your business cheaply and effectively, and you can even automate different aspects of marketing to make things easier for your team.
Overall, the goal is to identify the core functions you need to do yourself; the rest should be outsourced or automated, making your business more streamlined, easier to run, and more profitable as it grows.
#3 Recruit Wisely
As you begin to grow, you’ll need to expand your team to handle the increased workload. But to make sure the growth process goes smoothly, you need to have a plan.
The first thing to consider refers back to company culture. It’s important to start recruiting with this in mind right from the beginning, as this will make it easier to identify good candidates.
But it can also have the effect of repelling the wrong candidates, something that will improve your candidate pool and make it easier for you to find the right people. This is something Netflix did when it first launched. It used its now-famous culture deck to give a detailed description of the culture it was trying to build so that it could more easily recruit and secure top talent.
But another thing to consider is that you should take your time when hiring. Bringing in new people is expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you do things correctly. Making a mistake in choosing which candidate to hire can harm your company for years to come. So, while it might seem like your need is pressing, it’s better to not hire someone at all than to hire the wrong person.
When looking at candidates, use their experience and qualifications as a barometer, but also spend some time considering how they would mesh with company culture and push it forward. Surprisingly, this can sometimes be more important than the skills or experience someone can bring to the table.
#4 Innovate and Optimise Constantly
These three strategies will make it much easier for you to manage growth. But never forget this is an “all-the-time” thing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to growth, but use the tips above as a benchmark to get things on the right track.
Hopefully, your company will continue to grow, so you need to be on constant lookout for ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Do this, and apply the strategies discussed, and you will be well on your way to growing a company that can stand the test of time.
About the Author
Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. His work consists of helping entrepreneurs plan and execute a growth strategy for their business, with the ultimate goal being to sell it to interested investors. This work has allowed him to gain an extensive understanding of what makes a business successful, something he enjoys sharing with other entrepreneurs whenever he gets the chance.