Identifying growth opportunities for your business
Growth drives prosperity, but identifying ways to expand your business might not be clearly evident. Growth opportunities don’t always pop up right in front of you; sometimes you have to look in less obvious places.
What is “edge strategy”?
Dan McKone of London-based consultancy firm, L.E.K. Consulting, believes ‘Edge Strategy’ - recognising the needs of your existing customers - is a powerful catalyst for business growth. According to Dan:
“Edge Strategy starts with your core proposition, re-calibrates it slightly, but it does so with marginal investment in a way that pleases many more customers much more effectively.”
In other words, altering or adding to a product or service can increase profits. Insight and innovation consultancy Brand Genetics gives some excellent examples of ‘Edge Strategy’ offerings, including:
Convenience – paid accessories or add-ons that save time and effort in your core offer; think Hertz offering prepaid fuel
Peace of mind – paid accessories or add-ons that ameliorate the anxiety associated with the core offer; think Apple Care warranty
Passion – paid accessories or add-ons that expand the experience of the core offer; think behind the scenes tours at Cirque du Soleil
Knowledge – paid accessories or add-ons that enhance the core offer through education or training; think one-to-one Apple lessons at the Genius Bar
Market research shouldn’t be an afterthought
Big opportunities can be unearthed through market research. Many businesses only do this sporadically, if at all. Market research gives you enlightening answers to the big questions, including:
- Is my product or service still relevant? Can it be updated to attract new customers?
- What is the competition doing? Should I do it too? Can I do it better?
- What is the competition NOT doing? Is this an opportunity to fill a gap in the market?
- Are my customers happy? Will improvements appeal to a wider audience?
- What have I done that has worked? And what hasn’t worked?
- Is my marketing strategy working?
Every answer is an opportunity. This underlines the importance of market research, so if you don’t have the time to do it, employ a professional who does.
Provide a product or service that everyone will talk about
The Social Media Today website features research that shows 75% of people don’t believe advertising but 92% believe brand recommendations from their friends. So, while word of mouth seems like an old-fashioned concept, it still represents a massive growth opportunity.
Market research will show you where improvements can be made, and once these are in place, you can provide a customer experience that will have lots of people talking about you to lots of other people. In the social media age, this chatter can be enormous in its scope. With this in mind, cast a critical eye on what you’re offering, or ask neutral observers to do it for you, and make it so good that everyone will talk about it.
Go online to expand your reach
Your customers shop online. They date online. They watch TV online. They book travel online. Online is where your consumers are and it is where you should be as you look to expand. A stronger online presence will show your brand to millions of people. Regularly updated web content will make you visible to potential customers looking for your type of business through a search engine, while fast and helpful engagement on social media will raise your profile exponentially. If you’re already online, take steps to increase your presence through improved Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a mobile-friendly website, or a move into new social media platforms.
Develop your talent, grow your business
Finally, don’t just look to people outside your organisation to help you grow your business (e.g. new clients). The people INSIDE your organisation could also drive growth. Up-skilling your team members will make them more productive, more capable of generating word of mouth, and more innovative in making and selling your products. And if you needed further validation that improving your own skills is an investment worth making - being able to grow your business is surely the ultimate incentive.