Starting a business means putting together a business plan for the initial setup and running of your company. Once the inaugural bumps in your road to success have been smoothed out, you settle down to a normal stream of business, which is readily handled even with moderate increases in your client base.
However, what happens when your online business suddenly experiences a big growth spurt that demands an increase in production and causes huge increases in web traffic. Suddenly, the resources you had in place for handling transactions aren’t enough, and your once-adequate product storage space is now burgeoning at the seams with no room to expand.
Online businesses that are totally unprepared for sudden growth like this may become totally flummoxed by their rapidly expanding enterprise and need a shutdown or hiatus to regroup and prepare for their overwhelming success. This is one of the worst things an online business can do. Competition is always fierce on the internet and if you’re unable to meet the demand, there are many other businesses in your niche who will be more than happy to deal with the overflow.
To avoid this scenario, the best thing an online entrepreneur can do is to plan for her company’s rapid growth in the beginning. Several steps will leave you flexible and capable of adjusting quickly to a sudden growth spurt. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, infrastructure is everything when it comes to handling rapid business growth.
1. Are your systems and processes scalable? How difficult will it be for you to double, triple, or quadruple production? Business News Daily warns that the software you use for your website must be able to handle a huge increase in activity, and if it can’t, an upgrade that will increase its capacity and functions is needed. In some cases, carefully honing your system and getting the necessary upgrades can successfully accommodate your growth spurt without having to increase staff. It’s much better to plan your software ahead and make sure you have adequate systems than it is to remain passive until your business is overwhelmed by its success.
2. Take a conservative approach to using your initial growth spurt profits. Although pouring your profits back into the business is normally a good idea, always put away some of those profits for the future. You never know whether a sudden increase in business is permanent or will fall off after a while.
3. Always have an executable plan in place. Have the steps in place for increasing staff, inventory, and shipping. Don’t be a behind-the-scenes owner, keep your finger on the pulse of your business!
4. Know your business and its industry. Make sure you research your niche every day. You can never gather too much business intelligence. This knowledge will allow you to prepare for and handle future growth. Research is essential to knowing your business and anticipating increases or declines in the market. Additionally, make sure you know what’s going on in the world and how these happenings affect the market. Future Simple Blog suggests using a CRM marketing application and monitoring your sales cycle to pinpoint trends that indicate an upcoming increase in business. Knowledge is power!
The best advice for preparedness though starts with using an e-commerce site that’s agile and ready to accommodate sudden, heavy increases in traffic. After all it’s hard to grow your online operation if you can’t handle the sudden growth spurts.
Failure to take the time in planning for various setbacks and surges is the first step toward your business’s failure. To brave the ecommerce business – whether surge or setback – keep the above four tips in mind.