Are you excited at the prospect of the new year bringing your online fashion business great sales and revenues? Does the idea of a large amount of growth in a small amount of time scare you?
If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you probably need to figure out how to scale your business.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what we’re talking about just yet! We’re going to take a quick look at all the details of business scaling – including what it is, how to do it, and why you need it. However, our main goal is to let you in on the tools you need to ensure your business is scaled expertly.
Keep reading for more information!
A Brief Look at Business Scaling
If you’re a new business owner or new to online businesses, you may not be familiar with what we mean when we say scaling a business. Simply put, when you scale a business, you prepare it for potential and probable growth. The idea is to position yourself to welcome growth – not be hindered by it.
To explain it better, consider this scenario: You own a mom-and-pop storefront. You decide to place your inventory online and hire a marketer. Your website becomes insanely popular and all of a sudden you can’t keep up with your orders, inventory, or anything else for that matter.
By not planning for your business’ growth, you ultimately become hindered by it, losing out on potential sales, receiving negative reviews, or having to shut it down altogether.
Your online business may not have a brick and mortar location, but the principle is the same. Prepare for growth by implementing tools that will help you succeed no matter how rapidly sales increase.
Start Using Accounting Software Before You Think You Need It
When your business is small, it is easy to keep tabs on your various accounts (receivable & payable) as well as any expenses and payroll. You may be doing this all by hand or have a bookkeeper on staff to help with daily tasks. It’s understandable to want to keep your costs down initially while you are waiting for your business to take off, however, this is usually a bad idea.
When you formulate a plan to scale your business, keep in mind that your incoming and outgoing numbers could grow exponentially. This can lead to an accounting nightmare and the possibility of losing money either through miscalculated taxes or not collecting payment.
Instead of waiting to implement an accounting program, you should opt to do this sooner rather than later. It’ll give you a chance to learn how the software works and also allow for your CPA to keep a better handle on your tax burden. You also won’t be scrambling to enter older orders while handling new ones, which only will lead to confusion.
Order Fulfillment Software
Let’s face it: you didn’t get into business remaining stagnant in growth. You decided to open an online fashion retailer to make money and sell a lot of product! This will be easy at first as your stock has yet to be depleted and orders are quickly filled and sent out.
As you grow, it will be harder to keep track of all of the incoming and outgoing orders, who they belong to, if they’ve shipped, and whether or not you have the needed inventory on hand. This is where an apparel fulfillment program will come into play.
Unfortunately, not all software is created equally, so it is best to begin researching which program you need for your business early on. Ideally, this system can integrate with all or most other systems, including your payment gateways and chosen accounting software.
Opting for an order fulfillment program means you know exactly what you have in your inventory as well as cost breakdowns of each item. Additionally, you can track outgoing orders to ensure that your customers receive what they paid for in a timely manner!
Don’t Skimp on Customer Service Staff
One of the quickest ways to lose business is to have poor customer service. In fact, in 2018, it was reported that businesses lost about $75 billion due to lacking customer support or service.
Plan to add customer service representatives as needed to answer phone calls and emails as they come in. This may be done directly by a staff member or outsourced to a call center. Keep in mind that most people get annoyed when they receive automated responses via email or phone, so having a live person who can listen and empathize with complaints will take you much further.
On the other hand, don’t be afraid of automatic emails that send coupons or advertise sales. Many one-time customers will return if they feel that they’re getting a good value!
Content & Social Media
We get it: no one knows your business the way you do, no one can create the same riveting content, and no one can generate more social media engagements than you already do. Except they can and do.
Unless you happen to be an expert in digital marketing, you may be putting a lot of time and effort into blogs and social media without seeing results. Or maybe, your business has grown so much, so quickly that you simply can’t keep up and your blog/social media sites are suffering.
Whatever the case is, research digital marketing firms. You don’t have to go with the most expensive plan or the most noteworthy name, but find someone who knows what they’re doing. They will know what sites you need to be backlinked to and know how to create a successful sales funnel while ensuring your customers stay engaged with your brand.
You’ll begin to see results quickly and they’ll end up paying for themselves. Additionally, this task will be one less you have to complete, allowing you to focus on other, more fun aspects of your day.
The Big Idea
While you might believe your business is too small to even consider implementing these options, it is never a bad time to begin researching them and slowly scaling your business as needed. The last thing you want is for your business to grow overnight, leaving you in a position of “sink or swim” because when that happens, an organization often will sink!
The entire idea of scaling a business is to minimize your effort while maximizing your profits. To minimize the amount of time spent working, you will have to automate as much as possible while still maintaining a personal touch. Remember, it’s about working smarter – not harder!