When you originally started a low-key home-based business on your own or perhaps with a partner, you may have thought that you had it made. After all, with no employees and minimal overhead, it was relatively easy to turn a profit regularly. However, when your business becomes successful, you may find that you do not have the infrastructure to support growth.
Many home-based entrepreneurs deal with unexpected success. They spend so much time trying to keep up with demand. As a result, they do not make adequate plans to account for legitimate growth and expansion. They may even lack the infrastructure to properly serve existing customers, and this can negatively affect reputation and profitability.
Here are five tips to help you scale your business activities to better prepare for future growth.
Outsource Some of the Tasks
Some entrepreneurs try to tackle most business-related tasks on their own. If you do this, it can pull your attention in multiple directions. In some cases, it can prevent you from being efficient in most tasks that you complete.
A smart idea is to determine the tasks that you have legitimate skills to do. For all other tasks, outsource the work to skilled professionals. When hiring a freelancer, establish a framework so that excellent collaboration occurs despite the fact that you and the freelancer are working remotely.
An alternative is to hire in-house help. When hiring in-house staff, consider if you have an on-going and full-time need for the worker. You also need to think about your ability to pay a regular salary.
Be Smart with Marketing
Marketing is an extremely important part of running any business. As your business grows, you don’t need to start spending a fortune to get your name out there. You just need to find additional channels to reach your customers.
If you are spending a fortune on marketing efforts, you may be able to scale down and even improve your results. Print ads and mass direct mail campaigns can be expensive, and they may no longer be the most effective way to reach your target audience.
More cost-effective solutions for many businesses are Google Adwords, web-based ads, email marketing campaigns and social media marketing. These can help you to save time as well as money while boosting results.
Focus on Your Products
Some small business owners try to offer many products or services in an effort to branch out and appeal to the masses. However, it may be better to concentrate on the things that you do best.
Find the top few products or services that are your true moneymakers. Scale down to these products or services initially so that you can enjoy economies of scale benefits.
Once your company has grown substantially based on your core products or services, you can expand your line or reach into new target markets for continued growth at a more reasonable and moderated pace.
Upsell and Cross-Sell
It takes a lot of time and money to constantly reach out to new customers and to convince them to do business with you. It is generally more affordable and efficient to increase sales to existing customers when possible.
When you upsell or cross-sell, you may be able to boost income without dramatically increasing your overhead. For example, you can offer a volume discount or a multiple services discount.
To maximize the benefit of satisfied customers, offer a bonus for referrals or testimonials. You can also offer established customers a discount when they return to you for future purchases.
When you run a home-based business, it is easy to feel rather isolated from the rest of the world. Finding a mentor is a great way to get out and network, to learn new skills and to otherwise remain focused on business growth.
One idea for more professional social interaction is to join business networking groups. The contacts who you meet may offer great tips on how to handle some of the challenges that you are facing. You could also join a peer advisory group for similar benefits.
Regardless of whether your home-based business is on the brink of explosive growth or you are already struggling to keep up with volume, it is important to think about scaling your business rather than simply treading water. By scaling your business, you can better manage current volume while also positioning your business to more effectively prepare for increased growth in the coming months and years.