Today, the print on demand business world is fiercely competitive. Companies’ path through adapting their strategies has become more sophisticated, and to survive, they have to completely change all approaches. Of course, this is good if your product is sold like McDonald's burgers and has its unique audience. But what if you expand your strategy to other markets without losing the vast majority of your investment?
Scaling is the gateway that distinguishes a startup and small business from a profitable company. For example, Fortune 500 brands were born from an idea developed and scaled at the right time by an enthusiastic entrepreneur. Nights of continuous work, absolute focus on the business, and a talented team have played a significant role in developing and extending the print on demand business horizons in today's digital landscape.
Let's look at how to scale small print on demand business and adapt an online store for different markets.
What does scaling a business mean?
In light of recent developments, the word “scalability” has become very popular because every entrepreneur tries to establish a flexible business and increase income. Investors will also tell you that they prefer to invest in ready-to-scale startups. In simple terms, this means you can increase your profit with minimal extra costs.
Internet business models are scaling almost endlessly because digital technology is intangible. An online store on Shopify is a classic example: it assumes the initial costs of creating, and in a short time, its appearance on the market notes a steady inflow of minimum profit. The concept of rapidly increasing margins in a short period consists of new customers while using extra resources. In addition, eCommerce assumes low operating overhead, lack of warehouse space, and developed infrastructure, which is also a distinctive feature of scaling companies.
On the contrary, the small business growth strategy always comes down to the entrepreneur's financial capabilities: by increasing production costs, a profit grows. You can sell 500 more hoodies than before, but their production requires the expenses on designs creating; respectively, the business will grow by increasing assortment.
The signals for scaling business up
There is no magic potion to help you determine when to expand. Still, the reasons why a company is a “sitting duck” generally fall into four categories:
Lack of opportunity
The strategic solution to implement scaling isn't always appropriate for enterprises that don't have the goal of exponentially growing and expanding. A slow but steady increase can match the nature of the business and the owner’s temperament.
Very often, a produced product, niche, or marketing can seem boring for an entrepreneur. They want to concentrate on a new startup and essentially rewire the core business.
Lack of staff
Best print on demand companies‘ growth concept includes increasing the number of highly specialized employees who take specific tasks. For example, marketers and designers are the backbones of a business and the impetus for its rise. If you're afraid that your short-term profits will start to fall, and the salaries of employees will only inflate, then in 100% of cases you won't earn more by working alone.
Too much focus on the outside world
In pursuing a long-term plan to achieve business goals, corporate purposes can be overlooked, e.g., when employees can't keep up with increasing conversions. That leads to customer attrition, decreased employee productivity, and diminished referrals.
You can easily replace these points if you answer the suggestive questions:
- Whom should you hire right now?
- What internal problems need to be corrected to increase profits?
- Does your business have the opportunities to convert prospects into clients?
- Do your clients know that your business is still alive? If not, how are you going to change that?
- How are you doing with additional sales and referrals?
- What is your communication strategy?
A list of questions is endless, but their essence is quite clear. The decision to expand is entirely up to you.
To create an effective eCommerce model, you need to understand the scaling factors. Let's consider the main ones.
Light asset base
Significant investments such as the creation of production facilities or warehouses lead to reduced scalability. On the other hand, light investments such as omnichannel or outsourcing drive higher scalability.
The degree of operational processes automation directly affects scalability. For example, the PodZa Framework assumes a dropshipping business model: as orders come in, task pool management is simplified and doesn't require constant monitoring by the business owner. In particular, PodZa automates the ordering processes, packaging, logistics, and reporting.
When your business model integrates the workforce, it'll lead to expansion. Of course, in the print on demand business, you shouldn't focus on cheap labor like taxi services. Unpopular and unprofessional designs failed marketing strategy, customer dissatisfaction after talking to customer support and poor website usability, etc., will be just the tip of the iceberg.
The degree to which your POD model can be replicated in other markets affects scalability. If your business has a universal cultural identity, it'll be lighter for you to scale up (just look at the H&M brand).
Increasing production while keeping costs low has never been smooth or easy. Implementing a business expansion model requires identifying resources, challenges, and stakeholder interactions to enhance the value proposition. Next, we'll look at practical tips to help make your startup more scalable and investment-friendly.