Jennifer Williams is back with another very enlightening post. Today, she writes about a topic that most entrepreneurs have to deal with at some point - Expansion.
While every businessman wants to run a large successful company, it's important to realize the hurdles that expansion creates. Jennifer does a great job at laying it all out for you in this post.
It was an easy intention -- a reputation had been earned; a service had been strengthened; and a business was to be transformed, allowed to dominate more than its tiny corner of the online world. The desire was always to change, to reach beyond the confines of small (but steady) profits. You wanted to succeed and that demanded expansion. Your ideas were to be reinvented, offered to a much grander audience.
Such reinvention has failed, however.
All attempts to redefine your image, to generate greater revenue, have been disastrous. Your efforts have increased but so have your mistakes. The need for your products has been met with awkward organization. And the clients you once freely conversed with have been lost to the sudden static of requests, pleads and constant revisions. Service has tumbled and sales are quickly following.
Your need to expand has offered only worry. And the reasons are tragically simple.
Lack of Support
Your business began with a singular purpose -- to offer a service from the comforts of your home. It was to be a convenience, stimulating income without demanding an excess of time (or other employees). As you try to increase productivity, however, you realize one great flaw: your career is controlled by you and you alone. There is no support; there is no aid. You are own your own and expansion therefore becomes impractical. You simply lack the hours, energy and ability to do what is now required.
Loss of Intimacy
The customer is always right; and, for small businesses, the customer must also be understood. Forging connections with consumers -- using online survey software -- has been the cornerstone of virtual shops. Interaction breeds familiarity; familiarity breeds sales. When you choose to change, however, you lose the ability to address your clients. All efforts must instead be devoted to tracking shipments and creating products. Service suffers and individuals become frustrated with the silence. They will then seek out alternatives and leave your business behind.
Stress and Error
The desire was always to escape a cubicle, to avoid the managerial sneers. A business was to be formed at home, enabling quick profits and easy days. As you become recognized -- and subsequently sought -- by the masses, however, those days are shaped into tediums.
Every moment is an exercise in panic: you have orders to answer, goods to ship and an inventory that’s forever dwindling. And this causes you to become overwhelmed. Errors are made and apologies must be offered. You fret over each second, trying to manipulate their worth.
The wish to work from your living room becomes an unfortunate reality -- and you regret every new customer and every new request.
All businesses seek to become more than their humble beginnings: to gather clients, credence and cash. Achieving this, however, is not a simple thing.
For many virtual stores (so limited by their own ideas), it instead becomes impossible. The search for expansion devolves into worry. Time is consumed; connections are lost; and every instant becomes a proof of stress.
Bigger is not always better. It is instead a demand for what you cannot give.
Jennifer Williams is a writer, turned traveler, turned blogger, who is slowly slinking her way into the social media and blogging landscape. You can follow her (extremely) new Twitter account: @JToTheWilliams.