Thanks to technology and advanced digital capabilities, digital businesses have exploded in the last decade – to the point where having a solely digital presence is compulsory, and more startups are prioritizing a digital approach. According to IDG’s State of Digital Business Transformation report, 95 percent of startups now have digital business plans, while 55 percent of them have already adopted a digital business strategy. Yet while the methods and paths have changed, business growth continues to be a top priority for them. Scaling up a digital business may differ in some ways to traditional businesses, especially for those with tech-heavy operations. From prepping the operations and logistics behind the scenes to ensuring your online store is up and capable of handling increased traffic, there is a lot to get done if you want to make a successful transition.
Map Out Your Funding And Budget Dedicated To The Growth Period
If you’re going to expand your business operations, this will require some investment on your part. While there are traditional bank and credit union business loans, you also have increased digital lending options, including P2P platforms, venture capital trusts or fintech backed loans. However, each option comes with its own set of terms and costs, which need to be weighed against your business income, projections and ability to repay.
You will also need to decide whether you keep trading while you scale up your business. Most start-ups choose to trade and expand simultaneously to help fund their growth plans and keep momentum with customers. Choosing to close or suspend operations temporarily puts the business at risk of losing customers – and incurring a higher cost of acquiring new customers when you do resume business operations.
However, there are some cases where doing both would be more harmful and disruptive, and in this case, communicating clearly to consumers and employees is needed. In terms of finance, you will also be incurring expenses such as warehouse and office rent, alongside employee salaries, during the growth period. For this, a strict business budget is needed to ascertain how you intend to pay for these with a slow in trading income. Certain business accounting and budgeting software like CountAbout, Float or Adaptive Insights can help you monitor your budget during the scaling-up process as well.
Bring In The Additional Manpower At The Best Cost
To execute your growth plans successfully, you need to have the right team. This means bringing in additional employees as needed and possibly redeploying current ones. Management should be well versed in technology and the digital world, including digital marketing, financing and website design. This may mean you need to restructure your digital team or expand it to include newly needed roles.
There is also the logistics aspect of business growth, such as manufacturing, customer service and customer delivery. With increased sales and customer traffic, you need to consider the productivity of your current digital staff and whether you need to hire additional employees. If you choose you hire additional full-time employees, your budget and planning schedule should include the secondary aspects of this process, including the cost of recruiting and mandatory benefits needed like health and workers comp insurance, which is legally required to protect workers in most regions. To minimize costs, you can opt to bring in freelancers or contract employees for one-off projects such as designing your digital relaunch campaign or redesigning your social media.
Prepare Your Business Functions For Increased Traffic – Automate, Hire Or Outsource Where Necessary
Finally, you need to prepare all of your business functions to handle everything that comes with a growing business, including an increase in stock and employees (possibly needing a larger office space or warehouse), more website traffic and expansion in product range (redesigning website for optimality in load times and capacity), and a corresponding increase in sales and invoicing (adding additional payment methods and digital currency into your system and adding in the use of time and expense tracking software for real-time product pricing).
Growth is the number one priority for many businesses, whether they are new or seasoned. For a digital business, the aim may be the same, but the preparations take a different route. You must think more about preparing technologically to navigate the new risks of expanding into the digital world at present.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!