Importance of Scalability and Support for a New Business
William (Billy), a designer by trade, started a side hustle at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne. He has a knack for finding a hole in the market, and his business took off straight away. It grew steadily and then snow-balled, resulting in Billy, turning his small idea into a full-time job.
It’s daunting to start a new business, but if done right, the rewards are plentiful. For Billy, he started his business purely out of curiosity around people’s potential problems with refilling their SodaStream gas cylinder. He discovered that customers would generally forget to take their cylinders to the store, and it wasn’t easy to replace.
Image credit: Billy Bubbles
He launched in the easiest way he could, realising that delivery service was a massive thing. He offered a ‘pick-up and refill’ service in Melbourne at the start of lockdown when it was difficult for people to get out. Bookings were made online, and customers left their canisters on their doorstep for Billy to pick up,refill and return.
From growth to scalability
Once your business starts to grow, the most common pitfall you may fall into is scalability. Billy had an edge over the last 12 months due to his design background and a mindset of experience and testing. He hadn’t looked at marketing agencies, websites or getting accounts in order. The focus and perseverance resulted in a customer base of 3,500 customers that was continuing to grow purely through word of mouth.
To interact with his customers on a more personal level, Billy used Facebook and Instagram. This way, he has direct contact with each of his customers, and he can be in control of the user experience from beginning to end.
Having a website could potentially result in him losing some control; however, it can increase the number of enquiries and customers the business receives.
For scalability, the processes and systems that are in place need to be rock solid. A sound business foundation takes some time to establish, but it’s worth it because it sets you up to succeed as your business grows.
“The business is essentially a logistics business that’s able to provide a circular service of picking up and providing refillable containers. I’m thinking of other products I can provide using reusable containers. I first need to build a solid foundation and resources.” Billy – Owner of Billy Bubbles
As a start-up, Billy Bubbles is still in the growth stage of the business lifecycle and isn’t quite at the point where it is profitable enough to start scaling up. As such, the systems and processes that Billy imploys are a work in progress.
For example, he uses Minichat, Snapchat and Google Sheets to process orders. Once the business grows and gets larger, he will move to more sophisticated software.
Starting with what you know is excellent at the beginning of your small business journey. Once you start looking at scaling up, expanding your knowledge through upskilling is a natural progression and stands you in good stead to succeed.
Billy currently only offers a Pay-As-You-Go service. Being a start-up with just one employee, a subscription service would be complicated to facilitate. However, it could be a natural step to take as the business expands and has the capacity to support a slightly more complex process.
Sub-contractors can help get your business off the ground. It relieves a lot of the pressure associated with delivering your product or service and lets you focus on establishing the groundwork before stretching your wings and taking on salaried employees.
It all comes down to personal choice and the best business practice as the company expands. In the case of Billy Bubbles, Billy uses sub-contractors for deliveries and warehouse work. This works just fine for right now and could potentially continue to work no matter how large the business gets.
Having a clear vision and working towards short and long-term goals keeps up your momentum through the high points and motivates you to keep going through the low points. You must be willing to make mistakes, adapt to change and accept that you won’t have all the answers.
Starting a business can be daunting, but it should still be fun. Lean on the people around you, ask for help and support when you need it and embrace the experimentation process.
If you are starting out or about to enter the scalability stage of your business and need some support, reach out to our consultants for a complimentary strategy session.
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