15 Expert Tips for Scaling Your Small Business


05/13/2019
Smart companies are not just those that have intelligent leaders. They also have systems, tools and proper planning in place that allow every department or function to run together seamlessly. To become a smart company, you need to integrate smart ideas into every facet of your business. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community.

Manage Your Website Effectively
Your website is one of the most important tools your small business has. To manage it effectively, you need access to the right tools. In this WP Buffs post, Brenda Barron provides a full explanation and walk-through of GoDaddy Pro, so you can see if it may be helpful for your business.

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05/10/2019
SBDC Centers offer free consulting and free or low-cost training. (Find yours here.) Their results speak for themselves: SBDC clients grow sales by an average 18.1%, which is 4.3 times the national average. March 20th is SBDC Day, and to celebrate, we assembled some tips from their experts.

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05/08/2019
Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often do not have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves from hackers, viruses, malware and whats called ransomware. And owners who are focused on customers and employees may not ensure that their defenses are up to date.

But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity.

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05/06/2019
Whether you are an entrepreneur plotting to launch a startup or a CEO strategizing where to put another office, knowing where the next hot city is would be a game changer. Should you expand to Raleigh? Would you attract better talent in Austin or Atlanta? With the new Surge Cities Index, Inc. and innovation policy company Startup Genome crunched the data to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation. Finally, here’s the smartest way to answer the age-old question: Where should you go next?

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05/03/2019
We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.

Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life.

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05/01/2019
Big companies often have big perks. That is especially true in the technology Opens a New Window.  space, where free meals, gyms, and even day care are quite common. Even more traditional large companies that do not offer those kinds of benefits still have things that smaller businesses Opens a New Window. do not — there are more opportunities for advancement, more training opportunities, and maybe even the option of transferring to another location.

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04/29/2019
The latest report from Clutch says 39% of small businesses will add sales and marketing employees.

This data point underscores the importance of sales and marketing in today’s digital commerce. You must optimize websites, social media channels and eCommerce sites to make it happen. And you need sales and marketing employees to do  the heavy lifting.

Some small businesses have already created a digital presence. And the job of sales and marketing generally goes to in-house staff. This job often goes to employees with the necessary skill sets or to someone learning on the job. But remember how important these positions figure in the company’s growth.

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04/26/2019
Billing your customers is, of course, vital — but even more critical is getting paid for those bills. Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are more payment tools and platforms to choose from to help find the perfect option for your business based on how many payments you receive, the type of business you have and your budget.

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04/24/2019
Ever wonder how people get chosen to speak at TED? Well, it is curator Chris Andersons job to weed through the thousands upon thousands of possibilities and choose who will appear on the events prestigious main stage. Clearly, the guy is amazing at separating the wheat from the intellectual chaff.

Which is why TED fans (or anyone looking to make themselves smarter and more aware in easily digestible 20-minute chunks) should pay attention to Andersons picks for the 10 best TED talks of 2018. Touching on topics ranging from astronomy to social justice to artificial intelligence, they are guaranteed to change how you think about the world.  

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04/22/2019
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but you have got to make some moves if you’re spinning your wheels at your current job. Tech industry jobs are hot right now, and you can make great money once you’ve got the know-how to compete with other tech candidates. Here’s a breakdown of the fields with the best opportunities.

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04/19/2019
What is the best retirement plan for a self-employed person? Which is the best retirement plan for a small business owner? More importantly, which is the right retirement plan for you – as a business owner and / or a self-employed individual? Choosing the best retirement plan for you and your personal financial goals will depend on a few factors. Those include how much you can save into a retirement plan, whether or not you have employees and when you are setting up the retirement plan. Is it during the tax year or when filing taxes? To name a few.

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04/17/2019
Here are 15 examples of great integrated marketing campaigns that work by combining content, digital and website marketing, with traditional marketing methods like PR.

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04/15/2019
Here are three popular things that are actually not mandatory for all small businesses:

1. Aggressive Marketing

It is easy to go overboard with marketing. With so many tools available, your gut instinct is to try anything with the slightest potential. Even if you stand to lose money, you want the assurance of knowing you are doing everything you can to gain the interest of your target audience. And it is difficult to ignore a marketing tool that has worked marvelously for other small businesses. If they had to do it all over again, these businesses would likely spend 10% of their time developing their products or services and 90% marketing them.

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04/12/2019
So what sets those who actually take the plunge from those who only dream? What pushes a keen hobbyist or excellent amateur into actually becoming a business owner? A recent study of more than 400,000 people out of MIT came to decisive answer, and it is not the one you are probably expecting.

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04/10/2019
Many successful entrepreneurs were inspired to start their businesses after noticing a hole in the marketplace that needed to be filled, whether it was Bill Gates creating an operating system for home computers, Pierre Omidyar starting an online auction site, or Elon Musk building a reliable electric car.

But what happens when you want to jump feet first into a marketplace thats already crowded? We spoke to the entrepreneurs behind a wide-ranging group of successful companies in some of the most competitive digital spaces — from butchers to home brands to eco-friendly cleaning products — to get their insights into what makes a business that lasts.

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04/08/2019
Today, tens of thousands of people are considering starting their own business, and for good reasons. On average, people can expect to have two and three careers during their work life. Those leaving one career often think about their second or third career move being one they can run out of their own home. The good news: Starting a home-based business is within the reach of almost anyone who wants to take a risk and work hard, as are a plethora of other low-cost ideas.

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04/06/2019
Now, I do not want to burst any happy bubbles for those of you who are already treading the traditional pathway, but that traditional narrative no longer makes much sense, because over the past two decades, big corporations, big academia, and big corporatist government have rigged the business world so that the longer you wait to start your own company, the less likely you are to be successful.

Because of this, young entrepreneurs (Mil

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04/04/2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a bevy of changes that will affect the 2018 federal income tax returns of many small and medium-sized businesses and their owners. As tax return time approaches, here are the 10 changes that are most likely to affect your business or you as an owner.

1. New flat 21% tax rate for corporations
Before the TCJA, C corporations paid graduated federal income tax rates of 15%, 25%, 34%, and 35%. Personal service corporations (PSCs) paid a flat 35% rate. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the TCJA establishes a flat 21% corporate rate, and that beneficial rate applies to PSCs too. So the tax cost of doing business as a profitable C corporation is greatly reduced, and this favorable development will show up on 2018 corporate returns. Enjoy.

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04/02/2018
When done correctly, a tagline can become synonymous with a brand. A good tagline should communicate your companys message quickly and effectively, helping your target customers understand how you can help them in a way that’s easy to remember.

Since it is something that will likely appear in all of your companys marketing materials and may stick with you for years, your team should put a lot of care and consideration into crafting your tagline.

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03/29/2019
A business plan is a written description of your business future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have written a plan, or at least the germ of one.

Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities.

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03/27/2019
Very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background. Here are four tips to ensure your small business is achieving profitable growth.

Most small business owners start their own business because they have a passion for something, a new idea, want to be their own boss or are seeking more financial stability and/or earning potential. However, very few entrepreneurs have an accounting or finance background.

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03/25/2019
The standards for small business success have unquestionably gone up. Todays small businesses must do a lot more to stay competitive than their predecessors. Myriad businesses, however, take this notion a bit too far. Once they discover yet another resource or strategy with the potential to elevate their success, they jump all over it. This is partially due to the many online articles urging business leaders to devote more effort to virtually every element of their businesses.

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03/22/2019
Many small businesses start out with a single location or product offering and grow over time. Expanding your business is a good way to increase your long-term profitability and reach a wider audience.

But while growing your venture might be something you’d like to do eventually, now might not be the ideal time to dive in. Here are four reasons you might choose not to grow your business, and instead stick with the status quo.

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03/20/2019
Get out your pink paint. Or your coral, or yellow or teal. By the time you finish reading this column, you’re going to be painting one wall of your small business a color that will pop on Instagram.

Why? Because Instagram is today’s powerhouse social media site for consumer businesses. And if you give customers an inviting way to post to Instagram, they’ll advertise your business for free.

A few years ago, if you wanted to reach retail consumers, the social media site of choice was Facebook. While it may still work for reaching certain demographics, many consumers – especially female Millennials – love Instagram.

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03/18/2019
A new report is saying that almost half of people recently hired (41%) used an online job board to find work and 61% flagged automatic job alerts as helpful. What is more, a full 14% found their present job using social media. The findings from How Do People Find Jobs? published by the B2B research firm, Clutch, highlights how today’s candidates are connecting with small businesses and vice versa.

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03/15/2019
How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?

I have been in the technology industry for 25 years. I am a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges–all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.

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03/13/2019
Step 1: Set meaningful goals.
People do nott achieve goals unless the goals are meaningful to them. Sure, every seller has a quota for this year, but so what? If you want to maximize your motivation to achieve the goals, you must know why achieving it is important to you. To do that, go beyond your one-year quota-focused goal.

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03/11/2019
Are you making big changes to your small business?

Whether you’re entering a new market, eliminating services that your clients love but no longer work for you, or changing the structure of your business entirely, follow these three tips to shake up your small business without losing revenue or hurting your reputation.

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03/08/2019
Most working class Americans are employed by companies that either require or offer retirement savings options in the form of a 401(k), 403b), or pension plan. Because these contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s paycheck, saving for retirement tends to be a rather painless process. Over time, the cumulative effect of regular monthly contributions leads to a nice sized nest egg that can be used in the retirement years.

But for entrepreneurs, the story is a little different. With no steady paycheck or employer-sponsored plans, many of these hardworking individuals forgo retirement contributions.  And though it may not seem like a big deal in the early years, this misstep can prove to be dangerous and irresponsible as entrepreneurs age.

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03/06/2019
Crowdfunding has become a viable form for funding a venture, project, cause, event and much more. For small businesses looking to bypass traditional sources of financing such as bank loans, angel investing or venture capital, it is now a great option.

If you have been thinking about starting a campaign, it is important to note there are different types of crowdfunding. And this does not mean the platform or portal such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others.

The confusion stems from clumping crowdfunding under one umbrella, when in reality there are different types or models. Depending on your project, choosing the right model for your small business is critically important to ensure the success of your campaign.

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03/04/2019
Being a leader can be a difficult, and sometimes thankless, job. You work long hours, make tough decisions, and try your best to make your employees and your customers happy. But things don’t always work out the way you hope.

Every leader can use a bit of inspiration and humor every once in a while. Adding some fun to your day can make it all come together and, at the same time, perhaps even put a smile on your face.

The next time you feel down, here are 17 funny leadership quotes to perk you up.

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03/01/2019
Procrastination is an odd compulsion. Everyone has experienced it, but the underlying reasons can be tough to pin down.

After all, procrastination delays the very activities that bring people closer to their goals — whether that is building a thriving business or stronger triceps. So why do not humans just sprint toward that brighter, fitter future?

The science.
Scientific studies of procrastination have spiked over the past 20 years. Researchers once considered the issue a basic time-management problem, but they now view it as a complex and highly individual phenomena.  

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02/27/2019
Not every step you take to move your business forward will be a big one. But sometimes, even small steps can make a large impact on your future. Here are some recent tips and insights from members of the online small business community about big and small steps you can take to really make an impact on your business.

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02/25/2019
Like departments and agencies throughout government, the Air Force is tuning its acquisition methods to get closer the speed of technology, and will be holding its first live pitch day in March, with an available funding pool of $40 million.

The Air Forces Small Business Innovation Research program has issued a call to start-ups and small businesses—those with fewer than 500 employees—to offer pitches on innovative technologies for secure communications, down-range battlefield operations and digital technologies.

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02/22/2019
I am pleased to bring you my top five tricks for disconnecting – and at least temporarily escaping the job stress.

1. Make the business case.

Taking time to recharge is not just good for your mental and physical health — it is the smart thing to do for your business. Studies have shown that increased stress leads to reduced productivity, while decreased stress levels lead to increased productivity.

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Today in Global Small Business: Scaling Up SME Financial Inclusion


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What’s affecting me, my clients, my colleagues and other global small business owners:

How to Choose the Right New Location When Scaling up Your Business

choosing a new location

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Though running your business from home might be a feasible option when you’re just starting out, as you grow, your business might require a new location. “Location, location, location” is a well-known popular phrase when it comes to real estate, and for good reason.

Your business location is just as important as your service or product offering. Therefore, choosing the right location is key, as this could ultimately be the deciding factor in your business’ success or failure. Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing a new business location.

Does your location support your business activities?

The new location of your business should be consistent with your business style and image. As Startups explains, the kind of space you need all depends on the type of business you’re running. A casual, laidback business would look out of place surrounded by formal, designer stores for example.

Equally, the population demographics in your new location are important. Are your target audience also situated in your new location? Consider who your customers are and whether your proximity to them is important.

Finally, when moving your business to a new location, do your research on the area. Take a look at the economic situation and whether or not this will have a healthy impact on your business operations.

Are you accessible?

Accessibility isn’t just important to customers and clients. Your new business location should be easily accessible to your staff and suppliers too. When it comes to location, look for areas that have strong transport links, sufficient parking and adequate roads. Inner city locations guarantee this but can be costly. For advice on different UK cities research

Consider your working days and hours and ask yourself if your new location supports this. If your building is surrounded by other businesses who are closed on the days your open, this might dissuade customers from visiting you.

Being surrounded by other businesses could also affect your business. If your business is scaling up, moving to a new location with plenty of restaurants or other services such as hairdressing might generate footfall for your business. At the same time, too much competition could cause problems to your operations – although this is an opportunity to build networks, and establish key relationships, as Forbes explains.

Consider all the costs involved

Of course, the cost of rent is important when it comes to choosing a location. However, there are many other costs associated when moving to new business premises. For example, are building maintenance or utility bills included in the rent or separate? Do you want to renovate your new space? Even the cost of moving can be pricey if you aren’t careful. Using a site such as Compare the Man and Van will allow you to find the best removal quote and dodge hefty prices.

Do you have room to grow?

The reason you’re looking for a new business location is to scale up your activities. So an important factor of your new location should be whether it will accommodate future growth or a spike in demand. If you want your business to remain there long-term, then this is not a consideration to overlook.

5 Methods For Scaling Your Facebook Advertising

Harnessing the power of Facebook’s advertising platform is a tricky road to navigate; this is especially true when it comes time to scale your advertising efforts. Just because you have experienced success at lower spending amounts doesn’t mean that you simply spend more money and generate the same success.

The Facebook algorithm is a finicky beast, and scaling must be done carefully and according to best principles.

It is important to understand that increasing your investment in Facebook ads is no minor decision. Sure, there is a vast audience to reach, but you want your pitch to those potential customers to be efficient and successful.

Let’s examine a few strategies that will propel your Facebook marketing and advertising into overdrive, moving your business forward and keeping your goals squarely on track.

#1. Increase Your Budget (Wisely)

Increase your Facebook budget wisely

You may be thinking, “Well, duh, isn’t that the whole point of scaling?” Admittedly, it is the most elementary entry into our list. Even so, you must tread carefully and make smart decisions about how and when you apply more funds to your advertising.

Don’t blindly throw large sums of money at an ad expecting similar returns (even if that ad previously performed well). See, here’s the deal — Facebook optimizes your ad sets over time, which is why ads often perform better as time goes on. If you throw too much money at an ad too fast, it can throw off the algorithm, which then causes your ROI to massively drop.

Scaling up too quickly means overcommitting your resources before they have any time to prove themselves. While you may have an ad that knocks it out of the park at a lower tier, it will still require time to prove its value at a higher level. Depending on the size of your audience, an ad that performs well at a lower ad spend may struggle when you increase the amount of money behind it.

You need to be sure that the ad will continue to generate a high ROI as you increase the amount you spend. To ensure this, moderately increase your spend — too much too fast is asking for trouble and plenty of lost dollars. 

On your ad manager, go to the ad set you want to revise and click ‘edit’. Click on ‘adjust budget’ and you will be able to increase it by a certain percentage. Generally speaking, don’t increase your ad spend more than 20% per day. 

The longer an ad has to find and engage with its target audience, the more likely its performance will increase over time.

Once you do increase your investment keep a close eye on the ongoing performance of your ads. Even the best ads — ones proven though plenty of testing and past positive returns – will grow stagnant over time.

An unwillingness to change will cost you money.

#2. Use Facebook Audience Insights

Audience Insights for scaling Facebook ads

The thing about Facebook having so many users is that it knows a lot about those users. By a lot, we mean A LOT.

In utilizing their ad platform, you also have access to that trove of data. So make use of it. Using Facebook’s Audience Insights tool, you can expand your reach to an even larger group of potential customers.

How?

Click on ‘Audience Insights’ on your Ad Manager page and enter the custom audience details for the ad you want to scale. 

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Assume your initial advertising focused on those that loved the outdoors. However, through audience insights, the data showed that those same folks also loved dogs.

Not only can you retarget that original group with their interest in canines, but you can also create content aimed directly at dog owners that are active nature lovers too and discover pages that your target audience is likely to follow.

You can view this information under ‘Page Likes’; this is a gold mine of information and lets you tap into a new set of audience who are most likely to be interested in your ad. 

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#3. Create Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences

Another key factor in scaling your Facebook ads is allowing the platform to do some of the work for you.

Using the Facebook pixel, you can track what tasks a user performs on your site after engaging with one of your ads. From there, Facebook will analyze the activity data automatically, then create a wider target audience based on those actions.

For example, assume that a large contingent of purchases made on your website is from college-educated users that live in New England. Facebook can use that data to create a similar, yet much bigger audience which you can then target with advertisements.

Under the ‘Audience’ tab, click on ‘Create a Custom Audience’. Start with picking your strongest lookalike audience — it can be from your customer purchase list, app download list, website visitors, etc.

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Once you have uploaded the data, Facebook will match it to the corresponding profiles on Facebook. Now, you need to establish the size of the audience, between 1 and 10% which will define the post reach. Remember that as you increase the percentage, the quality of your audience will continue to decrease. 

#4. Go International With Your Audience

International targeting

When setting up your business, you may not have planned on going international, but through the help of platforms such as Facebook, the world is shrinking. You should definitely take advantage of it too.

The first step is seeking opportunities in countries that speak the same language. For example, if you live in the United States, you can expand your audience to other English-first countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

From there, all it takes to grow even further is to translate your ad into the language of your target country or countries.

One item of note is that even if the principals of Facebook remain similar internationally, the users do not. Before expanding beyond your own backyard, recognize that some things get lost in translation from one country to the next.

This tip applies not only to your ad content and the product or service you’re selling but also to the spend and ROI (the cost to convert in one country may be uneconomical versus another).

Regardless, few things are more exciting than realizing your appeal reaches far beyond your city or state.

#5. Freshen Up the Content

Freshening up your ads

When scaling your ads, it is essential to avoid ad stagnation. If you start to see a high-frequency score on your ads, it may be a sign that your audience is seeing the same ads too often and that you need to freshen up your ad sets.

Consider creating ad sets using a variety of approaches, such as videos and slideshows, which add a nice bit of variety to the standard ad format. You can change different elements in the ad like the caption, link or creative.

On the ‘Adverts’ tab in Ad Manager, click ‘Duplicate’ for the ad set you want to edit and replace the text and/or creative. 

If you replace the advert, remember to stop the previous ad and if you wish to test both the ads, let both of them run and compare the results. 

It is also a good idea to use one ad format when doing the initial targeting of an audience, then use the other when retargeting; this keeps your audience from seeing the same ad repeatedly and prevents ad fatigue.

Final Thoughts

Taking the next step and scaling your Facebook advertising certainly comes with a bit of uncertainty. Adjustments may be necessary early on, and the potential to lose some of your ad dollars in the initial stages is ever present.

The benefits though far outweigh any risk. A greater audience equals more engagement, more customers, and more sales.

Remember, budget and increase your spend wisely, develop your audience through multiple channels, and provide them with content that ensures their engagement no matter where they are in the buying process.

Scaling your Facebook advertising can mean plenty of success for your business. Mapping out the road ahead ensures a smooth ride later on.