In business, there's lots of media talk about growth. It's like the only legitimate way to be a business is to grow at all costs until you're big. But, for many a micro, growing this way to become a big business isn't really on the agenda.
However, there is the kind of growth that keeps a business alive, resilient and maintaining some momentum. It might be some smaller financial growth where your business gives you some money freedom or perhaps it grows to employ a small team to give you more time to do what you really love. What I want to talk about today is the growth into new markets.
New Markets? The opportunity to offer what you do to new people, in a new way or perhaps to innovate and change direction.
This can be an empowering process for several reasons. It may simply increase your income and that's lovely. It may mean you get to work with or sell to more of the people you want to. It might mean that your business gets more interesting as you develop new offers. What it will certainly mean, if done well, is that you business will be more resilient and able to 'manage' the peaks and troughs of outside pressures.
So how to access, reach or attract new markets then? I've shared 5 ways that this could work for your business. Remember, this is a How To Guide, so not designed to give ALL the answers but to kick off a new train of thought or plant an idea for something fresh, new or exciting.
Set some goals - a great starting point is thinking about what you want from your business. You could revisit your vision or mission but certainly think about what you want. This might include:
more customers, more bed nights or more footfall
more of the customers you like & less of the ones you don't
more time to do what you're good at
less day to day stress
a chance to try something new
Find new customers - focussing on what you already offer in your business, you can look for other people who would be keen to buy. For example, you might own a cafe that attracts lots of lunchtime customers but it all goes quiet at 3pm. You remind local homeworkers that you offer free tea refills with every bought slice of cake and super fast broadband to work at your cafe after 3. Ask yourself, who else would love what you do?
Create a new offer - introduce a new line of products or services that would 'add value' or be a welcome addition for your existing customers & grow the market itself. For example, you make beautiful hand made gifts and grow your business by introducing a new wedding range. Perhaps you add in a complimentary extension to an existing range gaining more income from each customer.
Deliver your offer differently - perhaps you've offered a pay as you go service that could be offered in a different way. For example you could offer a membership or subscription offer that spreads the cost for your customers but provides a more steady income for you.
Innovate something new - take a look at your skills and experiences & identify what else you could offer that you currently don't. For example your cafe lies empty in the evenings and you open it as a live music venue by night. Perhaps you branch out and start to offer a hamper service or do wedding catering. New venture, new customers & new opportunities.