Will Rogers, an actor and social commentator of the early 20th century, said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
In business, if you do not move forward, you move backward – period. It is therefore essential that business development be one of your priorities. But what are the winning strategies? Why does one strategy work for one person and not for another?
The first thing to remember is that there are as many strategies as there are entrepreneurs. There is no magic recipe!
Second, the strategy that works is the one that is natural to you: one that matches your personality, your communication style, your abilities, and your natural talents.
How to identify your X factor
That said, there are essentially two growth categories, and four strategies to grow your business:
The 2 growth categories
1- Organic growth. This is the growth in revenues generated by an increase in sales revenue (due to an increase in sales volume or prices, which is related to an improvement in quality). This increase in sales is itself related to the rise in market share and the growth of the markets in which it sells.
Organic growth is about putting strategies in place to better serve your current clients. This month, we will look at the axes related to your products and services, but several other means also contribute to this growth: the integration of internal processes to be more efficient, a client experience designed to allow you to stand out, etc.
2- New market. This type of growth is fueled by the implementation of strategies outside of your current target market.
The 4 growth strategies
1- Market penetration. This strategy is to increase sales for the types of products and services you already offer to your current market. For example, you could take over a larger portion of your existing clients’ portfolio. This should always be your number one strategy.
Before you try to recruit new clients, it is essential that you serve your current clients in an optimal way (the famous « wow » effect!). Too often, I meet entrepreneurs looking for ways to get new clients without even ensuring that they have optimized their relationships with their current clients.
→ Action: How could you offer more of your leading service to your current clients? Could you offer them a more global plan? Could you provide a second opinion on the solutions they are getting elsewhere?
2- Development of products and services. Client loyalty increases with the number of products and services they have with you. The more loyal a client is, the more he will give you a large share of his portfolio, and the more he will talk about you to the people around him.
The products and services development is at the heart of the movement characterizing the industry: the development of an integrated service offer. The underlying philosophy of this movement is to offer a simple approach to your clients where a resource-person can meet all their needs. This resource-person is you.
You don’t have to do everything, on the contrary. Your clients expect you to bring the best experts to the table to guide and serve them well. In other words, just because something needs to be done doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself.
→ Action: How could you better coach, guide, and help your clients? Could you set up strategic alliances? Develop a 360-degree approach? Hire a specialist offering complementary expertise?
3- Market development. There comes a time when some entrepreneurs decide to operate a new market while maintaining their current service offer. For example, an advisor may choose to concentrate his efforts on a specific market (entrepreneurs, health professionals) or in a type of clientele with one particular psychographic criterion (clients planning to retire in 5-10 years and looking for disbursement strategies; business owners seeking succession strategies on a professional and personal level, etc.).
→ Action: Is it logical to enter another market or work with another type of ideal client? Do you have another strategy that would be particularly suited to a market segment that is little or poorly served?
4- Diversification. Diversification strategies are slightly more complicated because they involve a change in the target market as well as in the service offer. That said, I have seen entrepreneurs brilliantly succeed with this strategy by offering an innovative or first-of-its-kind solution in a market that is currently little or poorly served. However, I don’t recommend this strategy for everyone.
In conclusion, these four strategies are all effective but, logically, you have to consider them in this specific order. Before embarking on a new market, isn’t it normal to serve your current clients first?
Next month, I’ll show you both possible marketing approaches to help you grow your business. It’s a date!
P.S. When you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you design your success.