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Thread: How to scale up?

  1. #1
    geekology is offline Guru
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    Lightbulb How to scale up?

    Hi Everyone,
    As the title suggest, I would like to hear from the experts out here how to scale up a blog, site, directory, online service.

    Till the time I am doing things on my own they run quite smooth, time comes when I want to scale up...this is where I tend to falter. For instance, One of my blogs related to software niche(very narrow) is running quite well, I thought to rope in content writers to help me so that I can concentrate on other aspects...I hired one, he wrote quality articles, learned some finer aspects (of my niche) from me and then after a couple of months he ran away only to open a new blog and become my competitor!

    This was just one example, things like these occur everytime I want to broaden up horizons. I'm sure most experts (if not all) must have been in similar kind of situation at some point of time. Would like to ask, how did you people manage to take that plunge? What did you do to move from one-man-army to that "big-thing" ?

    Any opinions, suggestions are welcome.

  2. #2
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    elbandelero is offline Net Builder
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    That's bad luck about the writer going off and competing with you, unfortunately there isn't much you can do about it, but I guess it's something to consider for the future. If you have a good site ranking well in it's niche, then always make sure the site has so much content that to compete against it would be difficult for any writer unless they have deep pockets.

    As a writer myself, I tend to find that most of the people who employ me are in niches that I actually have no personal interest in. That doesn't mean I don't put 100% into the articles I write, but I really couldn't see myself ever wanting to compete with them.

    As to increasing traffic and conversions of our existing sites, I think it comes to the niche you're operating in, do you already dominate the niche, or is there room for your sites to grow? If you already dominate the niche then increasing traffic is going to require growing the niche, and that basically means thinking outside the square and finding new markets for the same product.

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  4. #3
    Will.Spencer's Avatar
    Will.Spencer is offline Retired
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    I've done this with two businesses, one providing IT consulting services to Fortune 500 clients and the other a web publishing business.

    Employees and contractors growing into competitors isn't the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is the opposite -- when they don't grow. When that happens, you have to carry them for a long time - hoping that they will eventually come up to speed. You lose time and money and you gain little in terms of work accomplished.

    It is the rare employee or contractor who is willing and able to become a competitor. Those are the brilliant few who really provide value while they are a part of your team. You can keep them longer by improving compensation, work environment, and authority -- but in the end those people are entrepreneurs who really want to be their own bosses. Two Alpha personalities cannot exist forever in the same organization.

    The key, then, is how to handle to eventual breakup. If you have been a good leader, you have earned yourself a mentorship role. This process starts long before the person consciously thinks about going out on their own. This starts when you think, during every conversation, about how both parties are going to benefit from the relationship.

    When the breakup occurs, it is important to be cordial and as supportive as possible. Junior entrepreneurs may reflexively pull away from your support, no matter how well meaning you are.

    What are the benefits to you? Coopetition. Most niches are small environments where the major players all know each other. Having a competitor with whom you can share knowedge and deals is almost as good as having an employee -- at no cost to you.

    In my IT consulting business, corporate alumni have become vendors, suppliers, customers and partners. I have contracted projects to them and they have contracted projects to me. They have opened doors for me that I never could have opened for myself. In my web publishing business, corporate alumni provide content, links, market information, web sites to purchase, and important contacts within the market niche.

    The successful strategy is to accept this as a natural process. At times it will feel as if you are attempting to fill a sieve with water, but it really is the only working strategy. Think of it as a "two steps forward, one step back" proposition. You still have to walk and you still get ahead, but it's far from a smooth road. Turnover is a side effect of personal growth, which is one of the greatest things about being human.

    Keep a pipeline with team members in every phase of development. As more team members "graduate", make sure you have the pipeline full of new entrants to replace them. Your job is not only to manage, but also to coach, mentor, and lead. In the end, this is far more rewarding than trying to keep people in their current roles.
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  6. #4
    geekology is offline Guru
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    Some great insights there.

    @elbandelero: What will you do in a niche where a post that goes out requires a considerable amount of time and where success is dictated with the quality of posts rather than number of posts? Well, I am not saying large number of posts should mean degradation in quality but in my case it's a technical niche that requires good understanding of subject and takes a considerable amount of time to come up with one single good post. Whatever the posts I have are at #1 or #2 or at the max at 1st page of G for most relevant keywords.

    I wanted someone to take up that content creation part.

    @Will.Spencer
    What are the benefits to you? Coopetition. Most niches are small environments where the major players all know each other. Having a competitor with whom you can share knowedge and deals is almost as good as having an employee -- at no cost to you.
    wow, that can only come from a seasoned player.

    As far my example is concerned, I think blogging is one area that requires the least amount of resources (atleast to kick-start) among all the ways of "making-money-online". Once someone sees a decent and less competitive niche, in no time you can see a blog coming up. My content writer probably took that to his advantage and jumped into it.

    I would like to hear your views for one of my Q's in post above.
    What did you do to move from one-man-army to that "big-thing" ?
    ----------
    btw I can see some good, no-nonsense discussion going on here in most of the threads. Thanks Will for bringing this forum into existence. If the same level of participation continues, it's just a matter of time before it catches up with DP.

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    elbandelero is offline Net Builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekology View Post
    Well, I am not saying large number of posts should mean degradation in quality but in my case it's a technical niche that requires good understanding of subject and takes a considerable amount of time to come up with one single good post. Whatever the posts I have are at #1 or #2 or at the max at 1st page of G for most relevant keywords.

    I wanted someone to take up that content creation part.
    You're asking for a writer to put in a lot of effort researching your posts?

    I'd be inclined to find several good writers with a knowledge of your niche and build your site into the complete authority in your niche, and by employing several writers you can have one of them producing posts while the others work on articles that are longer and more in depth. This short term cost would be higher but your long term success in the SERPs and with revenue growth would be much higher as well.

    Of course not knowing what your niche is I could be off base here, and if I knew more about your site I might be able to give a more informed opinion.

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    geekology is offline Guru
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    I'd be inclined to find several good writers with a knowledge of your niche and build your site into the complete authority in your niche, and by employing several writers you can have one of them producing posts while the others work on articles that are longer and more in depth. This short term cost would be higher but your long term success in the SERPs and with revenue growth would be much higher as well.
    hmmm...nice suggestion there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geekology View Post
    What did you do to move from one-man-army to that "big-thing" ?
    At my consulting firm, I effectively worked two jobs -- full time consultant and part-time salesperson. When I found a client requirement, I identified someone who could fill it and I sold the idea to my client. Eventually a lot of us were fulfilling a lot of requirements for a lot of clients.

    I started my web publishing almost by accident. I was building web sites to relax after work. Then I saw the revenue potential and really dug into the project. I was having fun, but I was ignoring a large number of business principles with which I was already very familiar.

    I was doing the content development and promotion myself. I was doing everything myself. Progress was very slow, and I wanted to accelerate it.

    I started outsourcing tasks to contractors. Directory submissions, content writing, CSS coding, scripting, everything that I could find someone to do.

    This caused the rate of progress to increase considerably. New content is written, edited, and posted dozens of times faster than before. Inbound links are built with almost mechanical regularity and the SERPS slowly climb upwards.

    Now my tasks as an individual contributor are limited to those which I still have trouble outsourcing. Chief among those are keyword research and quality control.

    What I should be doing is determining the strategic direction of the company and leading it there by properly managing my team members. I do this, of course, but perhaps without as much focus as the task deserves.

    My IT consulting firm is still running quite well, but I am no longer running it. The new President is doing an excellent job -- far better than I could do. And, of course, he has focus. That's one of the things I could benefit by learning from him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Now my tasks as an individual contributor are limited to those which I still have trouble outsourcing. Chief among those are keyword research and quality control.
    You forgot to include "cashing checks"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    And, of course, he has focus. That's one of the things I could benefit by learning from him.
    Ha ha ha ha ha... sure an entrepreneur with focus...
    good luck!

    I think if you could focus, then you wouldn't really be an entrepreneur now would you?

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