How to upscale an online business

There comes a time in the lifecycle of any business that you’ll need to consider upscaling. This can be due to many factors. For example, you might be getting more orders than you can fulfill, your IT network might be starting to feel the strain and slowing down, or you might even be considering branching out into a new area. Whatever the reason, upscaling an online business doesn’t have to be stressful or hugely difficult.

Start with the network

The size of your network is usually the primary limiting factor for business growth. Slow servers, a website that isn’t fully optimized to handle traffic, or even a low-level domain name are all limiters. If you’re upscaling, it’s highly likely that you’ll need additional server space. This might mean upgrading with your current host or switching to a new one. Additional email access, file storage, and security features are all important considerations. The latter is especially true if your business handles sensitive data like credit card transactions or you’re about to expand into that area.

Depending on the size of your company, it’s worth considering hiring a specialized IT Management firm. These companies will run your network for you, helping it to expand, dealing with a bigger customer base, and, of course, preventing problems as and when they occur. One of the biggest reasons for working with an IT Management firm is time. While they run the network, you’ll have more time to focus on expanding the business. It gives peace of mind, too, since you know that professionals are monitoring the network.

Prioritize customer service

Customer service is one of the most important parts of a business. Not only does it give customers a better experience, but it brings new clients to your virtual door. All the marketing campaigns in the world can’t replace the word of mouth recommendations, nor can they counter the negative image created by poor reviews. A strong customer support service ensures your company’s reputation and helps it to grow. You can expect bigger demands in this area the larger you grow, so it’s worth starting early and being prepared.

There are lots of ways to expand your customer service department. You might hire more staff to monitor the online chat or phone lines. You might even branch out into a physical customer support center. Chatbots are another option for troubleshooting, and expanding email capacity is, of course, extremely important. Whatever you do, it’s vitally important that your customer support scales up along with the business.

Spend more on marketing (but be selective)

It can be tempting to scale marketing campaigns up exponentially as you seek to encourage growth but be careful and cost-effective. For example, PPC advertising is effective, but costs can spiral if adverts aren’t well targeted. The same applies across all marketing channels, so it pays to know your audience before you embark on a new campaign.

One of the best forms of free marketing is social media. Although platforms like Facebook and Instagram do offer paid promotions, these should only ever be a last resort. Instead, as you grow, work to expand your social media following at the same time. Having access to a big social media audience makes marketing substantially easier, and you don’t need to pay a thing for organic reach. There are lots of tips and tricks for boosting social media reach but posting frequently and communicating with your followers is a good place to start.

Redesign your website

A newly upscaled business experiences different demands. You’ll almost certainly see an uptick in traffic, so your website will have to adapt. This is a good time to undertake an overhaul of your web presence. Ensure that your site is up to date and remove old or outdated plugins. These are security risks and usually have a negative impact on user experience. Similarly, make sure that you’re running the most up-to-date security. Upgrade to HTTPS if you haven’t already, opt for an SSL certificate if you’re accepting payments, and make sure that your hosting platform offers all the latest cybersecurity features. As your customer base grows, so too do your security concerns. Bigger companies make ideal targets for hacking and malware attacks, so it pays to take precautions early.

Mobile optimization is an area of interest too. Despite a surge in mobile traffic over recent years, too many websites remain ill-equipped for the smartphone/tablet viewing experience. This makes them slow, clunky, and glitchy. It’s nearly impossible to build a fully optimized website that looks perfect on both desktop and mobile, so opt for a responsive theme instead. As the name suggests, these themes adjust depending on the device they’re being viewed on. They’ll look totally different on a smartphone to how they appear on a desktop, but they’ll function smoothly on both.

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