Let me guess:
You’re looking to grow your business in leaps and bounds so you never have to work another day in your life, right?
That’s the case with many entrepreneurs. Whether you run a solo business or you work with a team, it’s always the dream to one day have the business make money without much personal effort from your part.
But you’ve probably realized that it’s not as easy as it seems.
Selling your creative service can be hard work, especially when you’re still trading time for money. You want to have more clients but you only have 24 hours in the day…so how do you build that business? You want to start creating your own products so you can tone down client work, but you don’t even have the time for product creation because of the clients you have now.
You’ve probably thought of quitting client work so you can start working on your business, but how will you pay the bills?
Too many questions, not enough answers.
Well, if you’re looking to scale your present creative business and use ecommerce to really grow that dream, I’ll show you six ways to do it.
But first, why would you want to scale and grow in the first place?
3 Reasons Why You Should Scale
1. You’ll be able to focus on core objectives.
You started that creative business because you had passion and there were things you wanted to achieve. There was a vision you saw that you decided to run with. If not, you wouldn’t have started.
When you have everything in place and revenue starts to come in without your full participation, you’ll be able to “sit your business down” and focus on those core objectives. As Sam Carpenter, author of Work The System said:
“If solid goals are established and the majority of time is spent manipulating systems toward those goals, great results will materialize naturally.”
2. You’ll save time.
Being able to generate revenue for your business without directly trading your time has benefits. If you previously spent most of your day on client work, you’ll be able to tone that down and replace those hours with other important activities.
3. Your quality of service will improve.
This won’t be because you’re investing more personal time in delivering those services. Instead, it’ll be due to the fact that you’ve been able to acquire specialized talent. After all, as the advertising legend, David Ogilvy advised:
“If you ever find a man who is better than you are — hire him. If necessary, pay him more than you pay yourself.”
That way, everyone stays happy.
How to Scale
So are you ready to scale? Here are the 6 steps you don’t want to ignore:
1. Think big, take action
Sounds cliché right? You’ve probably heard that phrase since you were 10. But guess what? It’s still important.
At this stage, most people daydream for a really long time. Yes, it’s cool to imagine yourself as the next Steve Jobs, but if you don’t do the “take action” part, you’ll only be Jobs in your head.
While thinking, it’s important for you to avoid unrealistic imaginations. Anything is possible, but be careful. You have to think in steps. If your present monthly revenue is barely $20,000, your thought process should be something along the lines of, “How can I make that 10X and what do I have to do to get there in the next 3-6 months?” Not, “In the next 3 months, I’ll work very hard, make $50M and get myself a condo”.
Really? Business growth is not magic.
2. Determine your value
If you sell services, what’s the way forward? Is it getting more clients or increasing your rates? And if you’re increasing your rates, how can you also increase the value so your clients are encouraged to pay higher?
Note that when you increase your rates, your inflow of clients will reduce and that’s completely okay. You don’t want to work with everyone — only those ideal clients that’ll help you achieve your business goals. As you start to increase the perceived value of your offering by boosting the price, remember to also increase the corresponding intrinsic value.
3. Cut costs down
Since you’re scaling up, aren’t you supposed to be incurring more costs? On the contrary, what you have to do at this step is to get rid of unnecessary costs. You’re probably spending money on unnecessary software and services that you don’t need.
For example, if you use email marketing software like Aweber to communicate with your email list, perhaps paying the yearly plan (instead of monthly) would serve you better. That’ll save you a few dollars.
Using this example, look at other areas of your business where you have expenses and critically answer these two questions:
- Can my business do without this and still work?
- How can I spend less on this and still get the same result?
4. Determine your budget and capital
Without a budget, you’ll either spend more than you should or less than required. While cutting down on costs ensures that you don’t keep creating unnecessary expenses as you grow, having a growth budget ensures you increase expenses on the right things.
Your capital depends on how much you need to grow at this point. Will you be building a team? How many people do you need and how much will you pay them? Laying these figures out would give you a financial goal to work towards, especially when you’re not generating much revenue yet.
You’ll also want to incorporate a “Peace of Mind Policy” into your growth budget. This policy provides security for your life and business by ensuring you make stable and consistent investments that’ll prevent you from unnecessary expenses in future.
One good example of this is getting insurance, in case of any catastrophes. You can shop around for the cheapest insurance rates that’ll give you some peace of mind.
5. Get the best tools, hire the best minds
It’s going to be harder to manage contingencies when you grow, especially if you don’t get the groundwork right. If managing an arrogant team member is hard work, how would managing four with the same attitude be?
If you’re looking to outsource business tasks, ensure you outsource the right ones. Depending on your business needs, you’d want to outsource some of those tasks to the best talent using sites like Upwork or Freelancer.
If you’re looking to equip your website to be able to sell your creative products, then perhaps you should consider hiring a developer to install some premium plugins, or use simple landing page solutions like Spaces or Big Cartel — which are specifically built for creative people like you.
How? By bringing all your plans and actions from steps one to five together. Now that you’re clear on your figures, you’ve gotten the best tools and hired the best minds, it’s your duty to kick off the whole process. However, without the right systems and documentation in place, you’ll find yourself working more unproductive hours.
That’s it! You’ve successfully taken the first step by reading this article. Your next step is to start from Step 1 and start laying those concrete plans down on paper. It’s not enough for you to get revved up by this and do nothing. The benefits of scaling are endless. And even though the process may take several months, you won’t have a taste of those benefits unless you take action.
So go get started!
Featured photo credit: Giuseppe Milo via flickr.com