Leading, founding, or just being part of a viral, fast-growing brand is like riding a roller coaster. Your business is exciting, adrenaline is rushing, and every day is an adventure. But truthfully, you’re in a highly volatile stage.

The Survival Stage

Being highly volatile is an essential stage of any business and isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re aware of it. This can also be referred to as 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.

By the way, large global brands aren’t exempt from this stage. These principles apply no matter what level of success or size your business is.

During this time, your business is essentially built on a house of cards. There hasn’t been time yet to develop a strong foundation, and 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 ad 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 the driving force behind putting 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.

In this guide, we’ll give you our 4-step process to help you stabilize your ecommerce business so you can go from viral success to a healthy business in the long term.



1. Shift Your Mindset

The first and most important step in stabilizing your business is to shift your mindset. If you’re the founder or leader of the business, you’re likely still operating with a scarcity mindset. Whether you’ve been bootstrapping the business from the beginning or you started out with angel investment, your business has probably been living month to month and making resources go as far as they can.

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.

It’s important to establish as much certainty as possible. Have a budget and pro forma, 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 from the skillset required to start a business. If you dislike (or are not skilled at) building out processes, organizations, and 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 ecommerce business grow is get experience on your team. You need experienced people who 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. Having an experienced team will help you make the complex decisions you need to 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 also 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?

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, or a technology company?

A good rule of thumb is to hire roles related to the daily operation of your core business in-house and look at more experienced partners for other areas.

This is why successful businesses outsource specialized roles like marketing, technology, finance, etc. Getting experienced people in-house for every specialty role takes a tremendous amount of time and money.

Finally, seek out mentors and get a coach. Find someone who has been in your shoes before and has grown their company successfully. This value is unmatched.

3. Develop Systems That Scale

A successful business is built on systems and processes, and people are simply there to manage them.

Systems, processes, organization, discipline, and all the “boring” things that most entrepreneurs would dislike the most are ultimately what will drive the most value.

This is an ongoing, constant pursuit that should start on day one and evolve as your organization evolves. If you don’t like this part of business, find someone who does and pay them well.

People (founders and entrepreneurs in particular) typically think systems and processes slow down businesses and inhibit agility and innovation. But 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 every day and have your team launch whatever ads or email campaigns you want just because you “got inspired.”

Instead, get on board with this concept and hire a team specifically to create and manage these processes. You’ll soon see that your company is better for it.

4. Diversify Like Crazy

Diversification is critical to safeguarding your business. When you’re starting out and your company is 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?

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, it’s important 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. 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.

If you’re looking for more help on how to grow an ecommerce business, reach out to our highly skilled team today.



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