If you’re an online retailer or marketplace seller, whether as a fully-fledged business or a profitable sideline, you’re probably hoping to grow the business to a point where it’s providing the best possible returns for your investments – financially AND time-wise.

But doesn’t scaling up mean working harder, for longer hours, increased stress levels and financial risk? We’re taking a look.

What do you mean by “scale up”?

Simply put, the scale up phase of a business is where they start to grow by doing more of what they do; reinvesting their profits into growth by expanding their operating territories, online presence or profit range in order to reach more buyers, and sell more units.

The difference between a start-up and a scale-up is the level of confidence in a return; a start-up may be more experimental in their activities with regards to marketing, product ranges and branding, whereas a scale-up will have a good idea of what works for them, and will be looking to do more of it.

I know what works for us – what’s next?

The most important part of scaling up is probably knowing when to do so – you may have the means, the desire, you may have the plan… but are you sure you have the people, infrastructure, processes and partners in place to make your plan as successful and stress-free as possible?

For example, if you’re selling handmade gift items online; can you produce enough to satisfy the increased demands, identified suitable platforms to expand your audience, and do you have a cost-effective and reliable logistics solution in place to fulfil your orders? (Hint, hint…)

We’ve got all that in place – anything else?

The next most important part of scaling up is knowing where you want to scale up to – having a firm idea of your target numbers for growth and how much time and investment it will take you to reach them, as well as knowing what you want your business to be at the end of it.

At this point, you probably have an established core business ethos, which have clearly worked for you up to this point – and these should be protected and built on as a foundation for your growth, not cast aside to facilitate it. This will help you maintain your existing customer base, as well as help attract others who have the same values as your existing customers.

This includes ensuring that any new people or partners who start working with your business understand these values – having clear rules, guidance, objectives and strategies which encompass your established company principles will help protect, develop and nurture them.

The Collect Group’s CollectPro software solution aims to take the hassle out of one major aspect of your scale-up process – order processing and delivery. Our integrated software groups all your selling platforms into one easy-to-manage portal, so expanding your activities won’t see you spreading yourself too thin.