Many ecom store owners focus almost exclusively on their fb ads campaigns, and think that this is the ONLY thing that is needed to scale continuously.
In fact, a lot of them might even think that they are just one fb ad “hack” away from scaling to 7-8 figure months.
But here’s the thing…
Once you’re able to do at least $50-60k in monthly revenue profitably and consistently, then there are other factors that could affect how quickly your store is able to scale.
And one of the most important but often neglected factors is ensuring all your key ecom business pillars are functioning well and ready to scale when needed.
(I will explain in a bit what “ecom pillars” are and why automating them is so essential for rapid scaling)
The worst thing that can happen to any ecom store is to have ad campaigns that work, but an inability to scale…
…because one of your ecom pillars is not functioning optimally.
Essentially, they become the bottlenecks to scaling.
Preventing you from scaling as fast as you’d like.
And potentially delaying your growth by a couple of months until you fix those key pillars that are holding you back.
Huge waste of time and opportunity.
Especially since FB is so unstable and inconsistent right now. Not sure what’s going to happen in the next couple of months.
This is also what is known as “low Scaling Potential” in Ecom.
Scaling Potential refers to your store’s ability to scale quickly and continuously.
When you’re trying to scale your ecom store, there are factors that can limit how quickly and consistently you’re able to scale.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, these are the bottlenecks that will prevent you from scaling quicker (aka low scaling potential)
At the same time, apart from just your ad campaigns
There are also factors that can make scaling happen quicker.
The more and faster these things are achieved, the faster you can scale.
Creating a high Scaling Potential.
There are a few key areas you can focus on to make that happen.
In this post, I will be focusing on one key area:
>> Automating Your Key Ecom Business Pillars <<
(As you’ll see, automating your key ecom pillars can help you increase your scaling potential and scale quicker in the coming months. More of this in a moment).
The key ecom business pillars are the critical operations that are essential for your business to survive and thrive.
Some examples of your key business pillars are: customer service, fulfilment, HR, finance, and even certain aspects of marketing.
When one or more of these pillars are not functioning well or prepared to scale, they become the main bottleneck to scaling.
Preventing you from scaling as quickly as you can.
Here are a couple of examples of when your Scaling Potential is limited:
➡️ Customer Service
- When you’re scaling and start to have a much higher influx of support tickets but you’re unable to handle them due to lack of proper systems or manpower.
- A high number of unanswered support tickets might lead to high refunds and disputes.
- Prospects are abandoning carts because they have questions about your store that you can’t answer in time or at all. The slower you reply to them, the chances of them converting greatly reduces.
- When you're scaling but you run out of stock because you don't have a Stock Management Forecast system that indicates when you should reorder… and how much.
- When your creatives are getting fatigued quickly as you're scaling quickly but you don't have a system to produce and test creatives constantly .
- When there are marketing projects that could help you scale your campaigns much faster but your team doesn’t have time to implement them.
- When you face operational challenges and need to hire more people quickly but you don't have proper training, an onboarding system, SOPs and processes to make this possible or to integrate them ASAP so that they can start contributing with high impact
- When your team members are not getting things done on time because of operational bottlenecks and frictions, communication breakdown, inefficiencies
- When your team members are not allowed to be as effective and efficient as they can be because of lack of communication, lack of proper reporting structure, not given the right autonomy and responsibility to perform at their best
Apart from your ad campaigns, these are some of the things that can prevent your store from scaling quicker (though not exhaustive)
These are often neglected until they become a huge problem.
Then you would need to pause your scaling and fix these things.
Wasting a lot of time and scaling opportunities in the process.
Many entrepreneurs like to say that these are “good problems to have”. Because they are problems that occur as a result of scaling…
…but the truth is these “good problems” don’t need to exist in the first place.
Once you’ve automated your key ecom business pillars.
What Does It Mean To Automate Your Key Business Pillars?
By “automating”, I meant that these pillars should be able to function, thrive and even scale even without you being involved.
This means that even if you were to take a 3-week vacation, your business will continue without issues.
Essentially running on auto-pilot.
Here’s the thing to note: These business pillars are usually recurring and repetitive tasks that can often be systemized and delegated.
As a business owner, you should aim to spend as little time as possible on these pillars and focus mostly on your most important tasks like accelerating your “Critical Scaling Factors.”
Critical Scaling Factors are factors that can make scaling to your goals happen automatically.
These are factors that are “critical” to scaling.
(Accelerating your Critical Scaling Factors is another key area that can help you maximize your Scaling Potential and help you scale much much quicker. I will share more on this next time if you guys are interested. LMK).
Here’s the thing – If you’re not spending most of your time on your Critical Scaling Factors because you’re spending too much time on these pillars then you’re not maximizing your Scaling Potential.
This is also what it means to work “on” your business instead of working “in” your business:
When you’re spending too much time executing on these ecom pillars because they are not automated, you’re working “in” your business instead of “on” your business.
And that’s the worst thing that can happen to any store owner looking to scale quickly.
(BTW, working “on” your business also means you have time to work on your Critical Scaling Factors. But that can only happen once you have automated your ecom pillars)
Every minute spent on your Critical Scaling Factors (CSFs), your store will be able to scale even quicker.
This creates an exponential growth curve that propels your business to the next level. Aka high Scaling Potential.
Every minute NOT spent on your Critical Scaling Factors, or factors that can help you scale quicker, are minutes wasted. Aka low Scaling Potential.
A sign that your store has high scaling potential is when you’re accelerating your Critical Scaling Factors.
And that can only happen once you have automated your key ecom pillars.
(This always happens in the fastest growing ecom brands).
Your Scaling Potential will be maximized when you spend as little time as possible on these pillars and most of your time on your Critical Scaling Factors.
This is feasible. Our clients are able to delegate and automate most of their key ecom pillars to the point where the business can effectively run without them.
This saves them up to 30-40 hours of their time each week.
Time that they can spend working on their Critical Scaling Factors and accelerating their business growth – or having fun and relaxing with their friends and family.
And the way to do that is by automating these key business operations so that they will be performed optimally and consistently, and ready to scale as needed, without your involvement in the process.
How To Automate Your Key Ecom Business Operations
The first thing you need to do is to identify all the key business pillars.
As mentioned earlier, key business pillars are critical operations that are essential for your business to survive and thrive.
From there, break them down further into sub pillars.
Identify what are the KPIs and success indicators for each sub pillar.
Then, identify the key activities, processes and systems that will help you achieve these KPIs.
Here are a few examples:
- Media buying
- Creative Production
- Email Marketing
- Funnel / Conversion Rate Optimization
- SMS Marketing
- Content Marketing
💈 Fulfilment / Logistics / Warehouse
- Make sure that you don’t go out of stock while not overordering to manage cashflow
- Make sure Shopify/Amazon orders are synced to warehouse
- Make sure customers receive the right order on time
💈 Customer Support
- Keep refund rates low
- Keep fan page score high
- Handle disputes
- Answer product questions
- Handle refunds
- Reduce refunds / customer recovery
- Paypal reconciliation
- Team Management
- Product Development
Like I have mentioned, a lot of these things can be delegated and automated to run without your involvement.
Now, in order to automate these pillars so that they can function without you, there are usually 4 different types of systems you need to build for each pillar.
These 4 systems are like your Business IOS (integrated Operating Systems.)
The goal of these 4 systems is to help ensure:
- All the key pillars and sub-pillars are functioning optimally, consistently with as little friction as possible
- You’re able to scale up the operations as needed.
- You spend as little time as possible on these pillars and most of your time working on your business.
- You know what’s going on at any point in time without having to personally check in on each department frequently to find out what’s happening.
The 4 types of systems are:
1. Operational Systems
Basically, these are all your processes and SOPs from each pillar that are essential for your business to function.
For example, for customer service:
- How to reply to customers
- How to handle refunds and disputes
- How to answer different types of questions
You can break down all your pillars and sub-pillars into key processes and SOPs.
For the Operational Systems, we want to turn all tasks and activities into standardized processes and SOPs that can be tracked and managed.
2. Organizational Systems
These are systems and structures for how your entire organization works together effectively.
Examples of organizational systems are your organizational chart, reporting structure, how your team communicates, project management tools, Company handbook, onboarding system, training system, knowledge database, etc
If you ever find that things get messy, chaotic, not sure what’s going on, having communication gaps, things are not being done on time, and you do alot of fire fighting…
It’s because of the lack of good organizational systems.
3. Observational Systems (Information)
Observational Systems are reports, sheets, and statements that help you to understand how your business is performing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
They track, measure and report on important activities, projects and results.
The simplest way to understand is like your ads manager that shows you how your campaigns are performing every day.
From there, you can make decisions and take actions based on these results.
Having Observational Systems is also useful to give the business owners a peace of mind knowing that the business is performing well.
We often see that many business owners tend to micro manage, constantly check-in on every single operation and make sure that every single work has to be approved by them before they can proceed.
To put it simply, nothing can proceed without the business owner’s involvement.
And because a lot of time is spent doing this, the business owners become the bottleneck, slowing down the entire process and limiting the Scaling Potential.
Not to mention that it takes away time from working “on” their business
But once you have observational systems set up, you will know exactly what’s going on without having to constantly check in with the team, giving you more time, energy and headspace to focus on more important things.
Here are a couple of Observational Systems that we create for our clients:
- Daily/Weekly marketing and store performance
- ROAS, CPA, Revenue, Adspend, Profits
- Performance from different traffic sources
- Ad campaign metrics and dashboard.
- Inventory control, Stock management and projection
- When to reorder based on current daily order rate and rate of scaling
- Number of tickets answered and potential problems from CS team
- Refunds and disputes – Daily, weekly, monthly
- Cash flow forecasting
- Sales activities summary report.
- Reporting and dashboards.
- Expenses tracking.
🚀 Project management:
- Track progress/performance of tasks, projects, results, timeline
4. Optimization Systems (Systems that optimizes systems, processes, SOPs)
Optimization Systems are systems that can help you optimize and improve your team’s performance, results and operations.
Optimization Systems probably the most important but often neglected systems that every business owner needs.
When done right, it can help you to automatically create exponential growth.
As mentioned earlier, optimization systems help your team to improve your team’s performance.
Imagine if your team’s performance improves by 1% every day. This means that the results double every 72 days.
One example of an optimization system we built for our clients is a built-in feedback loop and scorecard metrics that show your team how well they are performing and help them to improve automatically.
They are systems that can help you optimize performance, results and operations of your team.
To automate your key ecom pillars, you need to:
- List down all the key business pillars.
- Break them down each of them further into sub pillars.
- Identify what are the KPIs and success indicators for each sub pillar.
- identify the key activities, processes and systems that will help you achieve these KPIs.
For the systems, you want to identify the 4 types of systems each pillar and sub-pillar should have.
Once you have identified the 4 types of systems you need to build for each ecom pillar and sub-pillars, the next step would be to create them.
Many ecom store owners don’t do this because it can take a lot of time.
Whenever we help our clients to create these 4 systems for their key pillars (AKA Business IOS), they are able to visualize and understand how their business operates every day without having to constantly check-in every single one.
Knowing that all your key pillars are functioning optimally can save you a lot of time and headspace to focus on more important things in your business.
So investing time to create these 4 systems are definitely worth it.
Once you have all these systems and processes in place, the next step to automating these pillars is to find A+ team players and delegating to them.
Finally, the last step to automating your key ecom pillars is to make sure that the entire team is performing like a well-oiled machine.
I won’t go into this now as it’s gonna take another mega post to go through them.
But one of the best ways to do that is to have an Operations Manager.
In our agency, we provide a solution to this by providing our clients with an Atomatic Business Manager (ABM).
An ABM is like an operations manager or COO in the company…
Someone who will manage their team, and make sure that everyone is performing well and hitting their KPIs.
An even more important responsibility is that ABMs will ensure that all systems are continuously optimized and updated.
This will allow all team members to get better, more efficient, and more effective, and the business owners will free up a huge chunk of their time.
If you don’t have an operations manager or COO, then you should consider investing in one as it can free up 90% of your operational things, including many of the things I’ve mentioned above.
If you’re interested to know more about how to systemize, delegate and automate your ecom store, feel free to start a discussion below! 🙂