How to Achieve Stable Growth for Viral and Fast-Growing Brands
Leading, founding or being part of a viral, fast-growing brand is like riding a roller coaster. Your business is insanely exciting, adrenaline is rushing, everyday is an adventure, but truthfully you’re in a highly volatile stage. This isn’t a bad thing, as long as you’re aware of it. It’s an essential stage of any business. You’re in the survival stage. Things are constantly changing, and while you may be bringing in massive revenue, there is a lot of uncertainty. If you’re not aware of this your life is essentially a mix of extreme celebration and absolute panic. Which one are you today?
By the way, large global brands aren’t exempt from this. These principles apply no matter what level of success or size.
During this time, your business is essentially built on a house of cards. There hasn’t been time yet to develop a strong foundation. The cards could tumble down at any moment if there is a bad month, a manufacturing problem, an issue with your website, or a change in the Facebook ads algorithm (oh, we know this hits close to home). Have you ever sat and imagined: what if Facebook stopped letting you run ads? What if Amazon delisted your product? What if another brand came in and ripped off your idea? These questions, and the fear around them, should be your driving force to take all of your energy into getting to the health stage and achieving consistent, diversified, stable growth.
As a fast-growing brand, you’ve had a ton of successes. But this winning streak will stop at some point if you don’t step back and focus on building something stable.
We help coach lots of viral brands, and most are so caught up in the thrill of surviving that they don’t focus on building stability.
Well in this guide we’re going to give you our a 4 step process to help you stabilize your business, so you can go from viral success to a healthy long-term business that lasts forever.
1. Shift your mindset
The first and most important step is to shift your mindset. If you’re the founder or leader of the business, you’re likely still operating in a scarcity mindset. Whether you’ve been bootstrapping the business from the beginning or you started out with angel investment, your business has essentially been living month to month and making resources go as far as they can is absolutely critical. At this stage, one change can have a dramatic effect on your business, so your tendency is to be very frugal, and for good reason. However, operating this way can get you stuck in scarcity which will ultimately stunt your business growth.
Being aware that you’re in this scarcity stage (and that you won’t always be) is key. You need to be willing (and able) to invest in areas of your business that are working, which is difficult when there is so much uncertainty in your business performance.
Establish as much certainty as possible. Have a budget and proforma and figure out your projections for the year. This gives you a way to manage your investment and be strategic about where to take risks.
Another important element here is to recognize your strengths. The skillset required to scale a business is very different than the skill set required to start a business. If you dislike (or are not skilled at) building out processes, organization, systems, digging through data, and scaling healthily, then look to bring on someone with those skills.
Ultimately this business can only be stunted by one thing… YOU!
2. Get the right people in the room
Creating a true brand is all about the team that you have and the mission you’re on. At this point, you likely have a small team, but it’s time to build it up.
The single best thing you can do to help your company grow in ecommerce is getting experience on your team. Experience is the only thing you should invest in. The world of ecommerce and digital marketing is constantly changing and it’s difficult to learn. Tacticians and platform gurus come and go. You need experienced people that have lived and breathed ecommerce for years (or better decades) and can speak to strategy as well as tactics for the best shot at success. Experience helps you in the complex decisions you will have to make as you grow.
As a side note, this is exactly why Metacake exists and what makes us different from other agencies. We provide deep experience for DTC ecommerce companies to help them grow in healthy ways.
How you build your team is key. This should be a blend of internal staff and external partners.
But how do you know which employees to hire in house and where to contract outside partners? Most brands really struggle with this.
The answer is simple. Know what business you are really in. What is the core of your business? Are you a product company, a marketing company, a technology company? A good rule of thumb is to hire roles related to the daily operating of your core business in-house and look at expert, experienced partners for other areas.
This is why successful businesses outsource specialized roles like marketing, technology, financial, etc. The requirements to get experienced people in-house full-time in every specialty role is massive in time and money.
Finally, seek out mentors. Get a coach. Find someone who has been in your shoes before and grown their company successfully. This value is unmatched.
3. Develop systems that scale
A successful business is systems and processes, and people are simply there to manage those systems and processes.
Systems, processes, organization, discipline, and all the boring things that most entrepreneurs would label as the thing they dislike the most is ultimately what will drive the most value. Life is ironic, isn’t it? This is an ongoing, constant pursuit that should start on day 1 and evolve as your organization evolves. If you don’t’ like it, find someone that does and pay them well, or stop doing business because it will never thrive in chaos and you’ll hurt a lot of people along the way. This is something every leader needs to get into their brain.
People (founders and entrepreneurs in particular) typically think systems and processes slow down businesses and inhibit agility and innovation. Stop believing this lie. When it comes to scaling for growth, slow and deliberate is more effective than fast and messy. Taking the time to set up these processes and following them will actually speed up your growth in the long term.
Yes this means that you can’t wake up everyday and have your team launch whatever ads or email campaign you want just because you “got inspired”, but let’s be honest, that’s better for everybody. Do you know of any successful companies that operate that way?
Get on board with this concept and hire a team specifically for creating and managing these processes and keeping you organized, and you’ll be a better company for it.
4. Diversify like crazy
Diversification is critical to safeguarding your business. When your business is starting out and growing fast, you’re likely not thinking about product diversification or marketing diversification because you’re in the trenches. Your business is most likely growing fast because one thing caught traction. That’s great, but what if that one thing stopped?
As fast as you can, you need to look at diversifying your product line, your marketing and sales channels, and your manufacturers and suppliers. Once you have a viable business that is growing you need to invest everything into diversifying that business to build stability. Don’t be too dependent on any single product, channel, or supplier. In fact, you shouldn’t even be dependent on any single message. What you’re known for that went big may not be what you should be known for in the future. It’s only a matter of time until something goes wrong with just a single point of failure.
This is the single, most vulnerable part of any business.