The last month has been the most difficult I’ve ever experienced in my business.
But, I do think we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was difficult because we began implementing our big software switch.
Previously, I had 2000 members, in a club which delivered digital AND physical products, built on simply a PayPal button and a WordPress plugin.
I knew at 500 members, that this was going to become an issue, but I had no idea what to do about it, let alone how to do it.
The longer I waited, the bigger of a mountain it became.
I got a few quotes to have a system built for me. The lowest quote came in at $100K, and I wasn’t ready for that yet.
I finally figured out back in January what I would need to do, and it took all these months just to put it all into place. It’s now May and we are just now getting our members moved into the new system we built.
At this point, we have a little over 3/4 of the members moved. We had to ask them to RE-SIGN up for the membership. Yes, they had to basically PAY AGAIN to be in our new system, because of course, PayPal would absolutely not allow me to move their current subscriptions, no matter how much I begged and cried.
The fact that so many people DID switch over is utterly amazing and I am so grateful.
Yes, things got ugly in some cases. We have a brand new site for those who made the switch, and this created a LOT of confusion. More than I expected, and we were taken by surprise. We had about a 2 week period where my assistant Janelle and I were answering more than 100 emails a day. I lost a few members who were frustrated that we did the switch in the first place. This was really hard for me.
The last 400 people – I am now not sure what to do about. I am going to make a last-ditch effort in a few days to get this last group into my new system, but for those who don’t do it – I am trying to decide between going ahead and canceling them, or trying to continue running both my old system and my new system simultaneously.
Running both systems at the same time, and trying to keep track of who has switched, getting those people out of the old system, and not shipping kits out twice to that person, has been a complete nightmare.
It has been SUCH a nightmare that I am actually considering letting 400 members go just to avoid going through it any longer.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned through all of this is that you must be prepared for growth. In the beginning, I was focusing on growing my club, but I wasn’t prepared for it.
I still have my post in the works on the system I ended up creating. It is built on Infusionsoft as my CRM, and AccessAlly as my membership software. With those two pieces, I could have a membership site that allows me to deliver the digital parts of my product, but also the backend system that lets me handle the physical parts. Best of all, it automates a LOT of things that we were having to do manually before.
That post will be soon!
AllyMay 25, 2017
I appreciate this post. My question is how do you plan for growth when setting up for the ‘big’ business is a financial stretch when you are still building. I can’t incur expense for the (hopefully) large business growth while you’re still very small. Ideally having a setup that grows with you would exist, but it seems to be a challenge. ~Ally
Staci Ann LowryMay 25, 2017
Ally, I totally hear you. (Thank you for reading my post by the way.)
I guess my best answer to that question, is do what you can now… but be very prepared to upgrade as soon as you begin to realize you’ll need to. In my case, I knew a year ago that my system would not scale. Even then, the thought of upgrading seemed too hard, but now looking back, it would have certainly been much easier than it was doing it now.
Infusionsoft is a good example of something I wish I’d started using a long time ago… but even knowing that now, it was just too big an expense for my business. I couldn’t have afforded it back when I wish I’d started using it.