Welcome to part two of our series on running a successful publishing business. Today, we delve into the exciting and often intimidating world of scaling your publishing business.
What Does Scaling Your Business Mean?
Scaling your business refers to taking what already works and propelling it to the next level. It could look like increased revenue, writing another book, developing a new income stream like audiobooks or direct sales, or even expanding your team. Regardless of the form it takes, scaling can be daunting for any business owner. But fear not: we’ll break it down into manageable steps that will help you scale with confidence as soon as your business is ready.
1. Start with your Cash Flow predictions.
As I mentioned in our previous post, understanding your cash flow is paramount. The cashflow predictor tool is instrumental in planning any investment into your business, and since scaling inevitably requires funds, time, or both, you’ll need to see how much it will cost and how your business will pay for it. Use the cash flow predictor to plan for the months that are most feasible for increasing expenses and to estimate when you can expect to see a return on your investment. This forms the foundation of your scaling plan and prepares you for the financial implications of the growth process.
Tip: When planning for revenue, especially as authors earning primarily from royalties, it’s advisable to plan for revenue when it hits your bank account and not at the time it’s generating. This helps you plan better on a day-to-day basis.
2. Develop your Scaling Plan.
Once you’ve mapped out the financial aspect, it’s time to design your scaling plan. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate, traditional plan, but it should cover key areas to ensure a smoother scaling process. Let’s use this example: you’re a romance author who recently decided to hire an assistant to handle routine tasks. Your simplified plan might look like this:
- Value proposition: Hiring an assistant.
- Previous experience with romance writers
- Proficient with Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Threads
- Familiar with website templates
- Knowledge of self-publishing process
- Availability in Eastern Standard Time or close
- Proficient with Zoom
- Hours per week: 10
- Employment type: Payrolled employee
- Social media management
- Website maintenance
- Book formatting using Vellum
- Uploading new releases to all platforms
- Inbox management
- Metrics: Social media insights, task completion timing, digital competency, responsiveness, reader interactions.
The next step would be integrating the new assistant’s costs into your cash flow predictor to determine your new break-even point now that you have a clearer idea of how much it will cost you. This will inform your marketing plan.
3. Adjust your Publishing Schedule.
Continuing to use our example of scaling to hire an assistant, the next step would be to adjust your publishing schedule based on the expected increase in output, facilitated by the new assistant. Consider how many additional books you can produce and when they will be released.
Operations Plan Continued
- Publishing Schedule
- Increase output by 2 books per year.
- Release schedule: January, April, September, December
- 2 new books to be added to current series, growing the series from 4 to 6 books.
4. Revisit your Marketing Plan.
With a revamped publishing schedule, your marketing plan will need to be reworked to correspond with the additional books. It could potentially start with something like this, and then you’d take each category and expand upon it and grow the content now that you have more products to sell.
Marketing Plan (starting point sample)
- Series 1 (Books 1-6)
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Posts
5. Evaluate funds needed to Scale
The final step will be to consider how you’ll finance the scaling process prior to seeing a return on that investment. Here are a few funding options:
- Line of credit
- Grant applications
- Credit card
- Business savings
- Business loan
Exploring traditional tools like banks and government funding can be beneficial, especially if you’ve registered your business and been in operation for 2 or more years. The Canadian government has small business programs that offer micro grants for things like websites, digital marketing and hiring payrolled employees.
A great resource would be to book a consultation with your local Small Business Enterprise Centre. This is a provincially funded program designed to support entrepreneurs across all industries. In addition to these consultants, find an accountant that has experience with your revenue model to discuss your business’s growth and potential tax implications.
In conclusion, scaling your business may seem daunting, but with meticulous planning and a lot of patience, it can be a lot less scary. It’s the only way you’ll increase your revenue and improve the health of your business, so embrace this exciting phase in your business’s lifecycle and move intuitively in a direction that aligns with your vision…with a plan.
Holly Darling – Owner, Holly Darling HQ – Email Marketing Consulting
Contemporary Romance Writer – Holly Mortimer
Holly Darling is the owner of Holly Darling HQ, a business that focuses on helping authors create and implement their email marketing and business strategies to sell more books and build their brand loyalty. She has worked with creative business owners for the past ten years, helping them grow a business that is data-driven and automated, allowing them to spend more time on writing their books while easily implementing their business plan.
She has appeared on multiple author-focused podcasts, delivered multiple workshops on email marketing and automation at over fifty conferences and appeared on Canadian news channels as a creative entrepreneurship expert.
She is also a self-published contemporary romance author under the pen name Holly Mortimer, and she’s turned her passion for travel into a romance brand that transports readers around the world discovering love inside their favourite travel destinations.