Ever felt like you're trying to unlock a secret level in a game, but the code just keeps eluding you? That's what growing your eCommerce business can feel like sometimes. You know there are successful online stores out there – crushing sales targets, racking up repeat purchases, and fostering loyal customer bases. But how do they do it?
I get it; I've been there and so have most of my clients and students.
This journey isn't about quick fixes or magic formulas. It’s about diving deep into marketing strategies that work, pushing through your fear of paid ads, and capitalizing on the power of storytelling to connect with your audience.
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Why Focus is the Key to Growth
Unlike many eCommerce businesses, Larissa Loden wasn't a COVID boom story. Before the pandemic hit, Larissa's revenue was 70% wholesale and 25% in person, with very little impact from her eCommerce store. She learned a hard lesson that year; I remember because I was there for it.
While growing their eCommerce business had always been a goal, it often got the back seat to the rest of the business. But that experience lit the fire they needed to put more focus on growing the online store. Once Larissa made the decision… in 2023 they saw a 383% increase in their online business and a 65% increase in their business overall.
The Power of Paid Ads for eCommerce
When it comes to achieving rapid growth in your eCommerce business there is little that can fast track your success like paid Facebook Ads. Larissa had been dabbling in ads here and there, but she never quite went as hard on her investment in them before now.
After talking to multiple ad agencies and partners, it was the one who told her that in order to get the growth she was looking for, she'd have to invest $25,000/month on paid ads… which was much higher than her original intended budget.
Like a true entrepreneur, she listened to her gut and took a risk. The good news is… it paid off.
Building a Strong Team for Your Small Business
One of the things I'm most impressed with when it comes to Larissa's business is that she's built a kick-ass team of dedicated employees who care for the brand and the business like it's their own. As expected, it hasn't always been smooth sailing when it comes to hiring and leading people. There was actually a moment when Larissa had such a bad experience they were afraid to hire new team members.
But with a little grit and a lot of development, including in herself as a leader they've gotten back in a great groove as a team and they rely heavily on the Entrepreneurial Operating System to keep themselves on track.
Hiring for Core Values
One of the most important things Larissa focuses on when hiring new employees is ensuring they share the core values of the brand. Either they have it or they don't, you can't develop core values and so that has become a non-negotiable.
Should You Hire For Skill or Attitude?
When you're early in your business you're hiring Swiss army knives and janes/jacks of all trades. Then as your business grows you start hiring more specialists, and more strategists. But you also have to be careful not to get too top-heavy. All the strategy in the world isn't going to help you grow your business if you can't actually implement that strategy.
Require Your Interviewees to Complete a Sample
A new practice Larissa implemented in her hiring process was to add an “audition” to each interview. From creating content to packing orders, it's important for Larissa to see that they can really do the job. At the end of the day when you're hiring someone in your business, it's really important that the person you hire can do the job better than you.
Should You Hire for Potential?
If you don't quite have the funds to hire an experienced employee, you can consider hiring someone who has the potential of developing the skill. Skills can be taught. But core values, positive attitudes, and culture fit are either right or not.
Be careful with taking this approach though because you don't want hiring people to be more work which can happen when you have the wrong person on your team or in the wrong seat.
Invest in Consultants & Fractional Support When Needed
When you truly need high-level support but don't have the budget for a full-time person, that's when a strategist, consultant, or fractional employee can be a great addition to your business. This is also a great way to get your strategy dialed in with less investment and when you're ready you can bring it back in-house.
Hire People for What They're Great At
As your business continues to grow, it's important that you get your team as dialed into their specialty as much as possible. People who are truly good at both the art and the science of business are very rare and you'll be better served by finding people who excel in one or the other. This is something you'll be able to do from the very beginning, let's when fractional support can be really helpful.
I started Larissa Loden with one simple idea: that you can look good, feel good, and do good all while being a badass.
It started as a middle school art teacher’s side hustle, and has morphed into a dream-come-true small business.
My favorite work comes from simply playing in the studio or with my kids, with no agenda. It’s my form of meditation.
Being an entrepreneur is a wild ride. So much so, that my friend and I started a podcast about it. The World's Okayest Entrepreneur Podcast