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Growing and Scaling An Online Business: What's The Difference?

Photo via thought catalog at Unsplash

Often times as entrepreneurs, we hear these terms a lot, but what exactly is the difference between the two? Though related, they are two different concepts. As online coaches, consultants, solopreneurs and service providers, how do these terms apply to us? It's a huge topic, but we will look at some basic ideas here.

Growing a business: Growth is generally linear and refers to increasing revenues/profits, and other aspects of the enterprise that are growing such as the number of employees, the number of offices it has, and how many clients it caters to. It's a gradual process that happens over an extended period of time that takes a lot of resources and planning.

Example 1: A local bakery wants to grow their business. They decide to increase their marketing by offering daily specials, expanding their menu, and creating a loyalty program for customers. Over time, they gradually increase their revenue and customer base, which results in slow and steady growth.

Scaling a business: The concept here is to increase revenue but keep costs down. Costs should only increase incrementally, while adding more clients and revenue exponentially.

Example 2: An e-commerce company wants to scale its business. They identify a new market opportunity and decide to expand their product line and invest in digital marketing. They also optimize their operations to increase efficiency and reduce costs. As a result, the company experiences rapid growth, with revenues increasing much faster than expenses.

To summarise, growth refers to increasing revenue at the same rate as you increase resources; scaling refers to increasing income at a much faster rate than cost. Both are important for long-term success, but require different strategies and approaches.

Moyo Studio via Getty Images

Scaling Your Business As A Solopreneur/Coach

As Charelle Griffiths (business and marketing strategist for solo coaches, consultants and online service providers) notes, a big difference between growing your business and scaling your business is to do with the relationship between inputs and outputs. In a growing scenario, you have a business where the more work and hours you put in, the more money you can make. In a scaling scenario, you are able to make more money without necessarily working more hours.

Here are a few quick tips to scale your business (each of these is a whole course/rabbit hole in itself!)

Create A Scalable Offer

Do you have a scalable service, product or offer? Your offering on a 1:1 basis should also translate to a one-to-many. There are a number of options such as membership, masterminds, online courses, digital products and even physical products if you use drop shipping. What is right for your business will depend on your current offer, your client base and audience, and you.

Take Advantage of Technology

There are many ways to use technology to optimize/automate your business operations and capacity in areas such as:

  • Payments

  • Marketing

  • Delivery

The main idea again is to reduce your input to gain greater visibility, and spend more time on the things you truly enjoy doing in your business such as working with your clients.

Hire For Specific Purposes

A lot of scaling conversations focus on hiring and growing a team. If you need additional people, there are different ways to get this support without a permanent team. As Charelle notes, depending on the support you need, it's possible to hire a freelancer on a project basis, or you could look at outsourcing something to a company that offers a very specific service to lots of similar businesses.

The aim here isn’t to get someone on your permanent payroll, but to get specific support for a limited amount of time, and knowing they’ll help you to scale. This means there is a clear return on investment.

Use Your Marketing To Create More Demand

To scale up as a solopreneur/coach you just need to have a scalable offer, but your business is going to actually scale only if you create demand for that offer. This is why marketing is key.

An example that Charelle shares is that you could currently be a coach that works 1:1 with clients and has a maximum of 10 clients at one time. If your package is 3 months long that means you will work with a maximum of 40 clients per year. But now you want to add a course to your business and aim to sell it to over 100 per year, increasing it to 140 people. That is a huge leap. A big mistake that Charelle notices is that when solopreneurs are trying to scale, they want to drastically increase the number of customers or clients they work with, but they haven’t thought through how they are going to generate that increase in demand.

You need a marketing strategy that will not only enable you to generate enough demand for your scalable offer, but you want to ensure that while marketing the new offer you aren’t having a negative impact on the sales of your existing services.

It's possible to scale your business with the right approach and vision. It's vital to have the right scalable offer, receive the nourishing support (people and technology) and then market your business effectively. Here's where Nomad Haven is so unique in offering both business, spiritual and personal development support as you move through this journey! The Nomad Haven womanhood is here to nurture and support you exactly as you are, wherever on your entrepreneurial journey.

Click below to join us!



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