You might think that signs of failure are the main signs you need to look out for when running your small business, but you need to pay just as much attention to evidence that your business is growing (before it grows so fast that you can't keep up with demand).
You hear stories about brands who got the attention of Oprah (an extreme example) and whose websites shut down over the holidays because they couldn't keep up with orders, either because their merchant account shut down or they ran out of inventory. While on the surface, this is a good problem, it can mean devastation for your brand if you're not prepared.
On the other hand, identifying situations that indicate that you're a rising star in the business world can help you shift your strategy to allow for that growth in a healthy manner. Here's what to look for so you can strategize for the kind of steady business growth you want.
1. You Just Got Major Media Play
If you're lucky enough to be written about in the media, you might see a significant boost in traffic to your site as well as new orders, depending on the popularity of that media channel.
If you've been working with the journalist who's writing about you, you will of course have a heads-up that this is going to happen, so you can prepare. If it's a surprise, you may have to scramble to manage the situation.
Make sure your website can handle the volume of visitors and orders by working with your server company to scale your services as those numbers increase. The last thing you want is for people to visit your site only to see a crashed page.
2. Online Advertising Is Paying Off in a Major Way
You've decided to invest serious capital into advertising your business online, and you're already seeing a phenomenal ROI, with sales steadily rising.
The great thing about online ads is that you can adjust them instantly to meet your needs. So if you see you're running low on a particular product that you're promoting, you can replace that ad with one that features another product. And be sure to keep your inventory stocked; you don't want to have to refund customers or issue back orders because you've run out of the hottest items.
3. You Increased Your Prices ... and Saw Sales Rise
You might have been concerned that raising your rates would turn customers off, but instead, customers are banging down your door. If things are working according to your business plans, it might be a good idea to hire additional staff to help you with the work overflow. Consider adding more team members in operations to offload some of the work so you're not so swamped.
4. People Are Begging for Your Expert Advice
You've noticed more emails coming in asking for blog post tips, media interviews or your advice. These emails might annoy you if you're too busy to respond to them, but they're a definite indicator that you're doing everything right to brand yourself as an industry expert.
Business growth is always a good thing, but you need to be prepared to make changes to accommodate that growth. That means expanding services, investing in better technology and growing your team to ensure that you are able to keep up with that skyrocketing success you've dreamed about and now finally possess.
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