“Is your online business ready to scale?” That’s the question that always comes up in our conversations with business owners. We’re going to break down that question and answers in today’s post.
As your online business begins to gain traction you will undoubtedly be approached or targeted by countless people offering quick wins.
Always the same one-off methods like Facebook ads, video marketing, “hop on my free webinar”, SEO services, become a student of my courses or coaching programs, and so on.
And like many online business owners, you may have even tried some of these methods yourself.
But here’s the cold hard truth.
The truth is that you need to put in a lot more time, effort, and skill than promised by the “quick win boys” to properly scale your business. Now, I’m not saying that those methods will never work for you.
But after helping countless online business owners grow to millions of dollars over the years…we know a thing or two about scaling.
So, before you fire up the rocket boosters and dump $12,000 into FB ads…
You first need to know what foundations you need to solidify before you invest in online scaling methods. Otherwise…you’ll break it. And no one wants that, trust me on that one.
So, keep reading to learn the answer to the question of “is your online business ready to scale”.
Three Phases of a Successful 7-Figure Online Business
Every seven-figure online business passes through three phases: growth mode, consolidation mode and scaling mode. Let’s take a brief look at each to determine where your business stands.
An online business in growth mode has a “client acquisition system” that brings in new leads, and is steadily converting these leads into paying clients. Don’t worry, that’s just a fancy term for “are you getting buyers”.
This system can be as simple as posting in FB groups to DM people or as complex as a sales funnel. A working “client acquisition system” is the best way to tactically sell your courses and programs. But as the business (and your bank account) grows, you discover areas of your business that can’t keep up with demand. Many business owners in growth mode find themselves working so much IN the business that they can’t work ON it. (We’ll talk more about that in a second.)
In consolidation mode, business owners begin adjusting their business processes and operations to meet the needs of their audiences. Business owners transition from growth mode into consolidation mode as they begin fine tuning their system to allow for more clients and better fulfillment.
This is where you start to use words like “evergreen” or “automated”. You’ll start to ask yourself things like “how can I automate that” or “how can I delegate that” or even “how can I eliminate that”.
Scaling mode is where every passionate online business owner wants to be. As your business finds financial and systemic stability, you can increase sales without increasing costs (or time!!) Not only that, but you can handle a massive influx of new customers with systems and processes that can be handed off for anyone to run.
Imagine, if you had 100 new students, clients, and customers overnight. Would your business break or could you handle that without a sweat, wanting another batch of 100 the next day?
3 Biggest Mistakes Online Business Owners Make When Scaling Too Soon
As with everything in business, you need to upskill, structure, and manage your business the right way to ensure your attempt to scale doesn’t “break” your business. Let’s dissect a few mistakes online business owners make when scaling before finding solid ground.
We’ll look at this from the perspective of a business coach or online course creator (our bread and butter clients).
Mistake 1: No system in place to handle a massive influx of new customers.
If you don’t have the right systems and procedures in place, you will spend more time putting out fires instead of servicing your clients. You can end up stressed and out of steam before you can focus on meeting their needs. If you are manually sending invoices to clients, taking payments through PayPal, or single-sending welcome emails to everyone…it’s time to fix things.
When you structure your business with checklists, standard operating procedures (SOP’s), and a few low-cost tools (Google Drive & Zapier are pretty much free!), you put yourself in a position to manage and grow your business more smoothly.
Mistake 2: Lack of clarity regarding target audience, offer, and value.
If you try to sell to everyone, you are ultimately selling to no one. Building a coaching, consulting or course business is first about solving a problem within your niche and offering a solution. The common denominator for every seven-figure online business is clarity of WHO you want to serve, HOW you plan to serve them, and then OFFER results they can expect by working with you. (Did you catch that acronym…W.H.O.)
Think about something you love doing, have expertise in, or could spend all day helping others with.
Are you a pro at using yoga to navigate stress?
Do people say you’re a natural at pet training?
Are you a member of a local running club, and you know how to run properly with the right conditioning and diet?
Now, think about who you are helping when doing that thing.
Whatever your expertise, the perfect customer exists. And the good news is that you’ve probably already worked with them! Start by profiling your favorite clients so you can replicate them. Then research where similar potential clients or customers are already hanging out. Are they in Facebook groups, on LinkedIn, in forums…figure out WHERE.
Then think about how you would help them in the most scalable way. You do this by crafting an offer they can’t afford to say no to. Maybe instead of doing 1-on-1 training, you could create a do-it-yourself course for them to go through or offer a private FB group membership? Just two examples that are making online business owners millions per day around the world.
Mistake 3: Hiring the wrong team (or just the first person you found online)
Working with the wrong person (or the wrong team) can sabotage your growth path. Just because you found them on a reputable hiring website or the both of you like the same baseball team doesn’t always mean their skills will produce quality results.
If you’re looking to scale your online business, you have three options:
- Do it yourself. Build all of your funnels, write sales letters, blogs and email sequences, manage Facebook and social media ads, research and collaborate with influencers, etc.
- Hire an in-house employee to do all of that for you. Interview and train for 3-6 months, and spend around $10k to $15k per month on salary(ies) (all without guarantee of success)
- Outsource to a team of experts. If you peek behind this curtain, you’ll discover why working with a trusted team is the go-to choice for seven-figure entrepreneurs. Outsourcing your online marketing ecosystem allows you to stop working IN or ON the business and start working ABOVE it.
IMPORTANT: Be picky about who you allow into your business. Many of our clients discover us after being burned by bad marketing teams who chase shiny objects. In your quest to scale your online business, look for partners that aim to impact both short and long-term growth.
Signs You’re Ready to Scale Your Online Business
Developing systems and processes to get buyers in the door in the growth phase, then automating your workflows & processes in the consolidation phase requires loads of effort.
Simply put, growing an online business takes a lot of work.
After navigating those two phases comes one of the most exciting realizations in any entrepreneur’s life….
“I think I’m ready to scale!”
If you’re reading this article, I assume you’ve asked yourself that question once or twice. In our experience, there are a few telltale signs you may be ready to enter scaling mode. Shall we?
You’re Making Money…. but You’ve Hit a Ceiling.
Growing your online business is exciting until you can’t handle the workload of taking on new clients or customers. Scaling an online business requires unleashing processes and systems that work around the clock, with or without you. If you’re acquiring new clients, but the ceiling is near, it’s probably time to scale.
You’ve Built an Audience, and There Is Enough Interest Around You and Your Services.
Having an audience is an essential to a scalable business. In fact, one of the ways we make immediate impact for our clients is leveraging their existing audiences to see immediate high profit revenue come through the door. An email audience is most lucrative, but your social media and/or podcast audiences are valuable, too. If you’re not consistently monetizing your audience you’ve built, it’s time to fix that!
You’re Confident in Your Product or Service and Your Relationship with Your Audience.
You can start getting more clients when you know your product or service is sellable, people are more engaged with your online presence, and the market is big enough for your business to scale. Better yet, once your audience knows that you have things to offer them, you can continue offering new products or services as they are much more likely to purchase over and over again. This is called upselling, downselling, or cross-selling, in marketing terms.
You turned down opportunities (and lots of money) because you’re maxed out… and so is your team
Success can rear its ugly head when the demands of your ever-growing business overwhelm you and your team. You will need to make rejections. If opportunities must be turned down because of a lack of time and labor, it may be time to scale.
You Know to Keep Your Business at Minimal Risk
You know your business better than anyone else. Scale only when you’re ready. There is always risk in business, and nothing is for sure, but minimal risk must be your priority before you think of scaling.
These signs are not set in stone, and there are certainly more reasons to consider than in this short article here. But if your online course business shows one or more of these signs, it might be time to consider scaling up.
Every business is different, and scaling is no one-size-fits-all opportunity. If you would like a team of online marketing experts to review your business with fresh eyes and offer a few solutions, you can book a free strategy call by clicking the link below.
Who knows, you may even qualify for our profit share partnership, and pay nothing upfront while we scale your business!?
At the very least, we would love to give you some pointers and continue our mission of positively impacting one million people over the next few years.