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Six questions to consider when identifying business growth opportunities

Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & MiddleEast

Most business owners are keener than ever to grow their revenues and profits now, regardless of whether they’re already profitable, or still struggling to recover from the pandemic. Yet, achieving breakthrough growth can be difficult in a saturated market or in an economic climate as challenging as the one we face today.

If you’re running a business that has hit a plateau in terms of revenue growth or new customer acquisition, it could be worthwhile to take a step back and draw up a strategic growth plan. This will help you decide how you can grow your turnover through finding new customer segments or adding new revenue streams.

To identify the potential business growth opportunities out there today, you could consider the following:

Have you maximised the opportunities in your existing market?

A good starting point when it comes to charting out a growth strategy is to think about whether you have saturated the opportunities in your existing market. Could you add more customers without changing what you do or the products or services you sell? If so, you could consider tactics like promotions, digital marketing or lowering prices to win new customers.

Could you take your product or service to new markets?

Another way to grow your business without changing your core focus is to expand to new markets. This could mean entering new geographic territories or simply targeting new customer segments and demographics.

Could you add to your product range?

A simple way to grow is to find new products like the ones you already sell and add them to the mix. These products could attract new customers or draw existing customers to spend more with you.

Is it time to add new channels to the market?

A great way to maximise revenues from an existing business is to find new channels to market. For instance, instead of limiting yourself to only selling artisanal baked goods from your bakery, you could set up an online store or mobile app, open pop-up stores at markets and events, or find other shops to sell your products to customers in new markets.

Are you ready to diversify?

If growth is flat-lining in your core market, it might be a good idea to step outside your comfort zone. Diversifying into new products and services can be a risky move because doing so demands new skills and investments, but the returns can be rewarding. In this strategy, you would add entirely new products and services to the mix, with the aim of adding new customers and getting existing ones to spend more money with you.

This strategy has the biggest chance of succeeding when you enter a new sector that is adjacent to the one you already operate in. For example, a tax consulting firm could start reselling licences for accounting software and other IT products. Likewise, a restaurant could expand into offering catered meals or bottling its famous sauces for sale via retailers. 

Could less be more?

If you’re in a hyper-competitive space and struggling to differentiate your offering from those of your peers, you could give your business the growth push it needs by becoming more niche and focused. For instance, rather than trying to sell your eco-friendly sneakers to everyone, make a truly special product with a brand that appeals to a niche audience such as vegans and vegetarians. Distinctive markets can offer an opportunity to dominate a space such as extreme sports fans or vintage game collectors, where discerning customers may be willing to pay a premium.

Research and planning are key to success

Once you’ve chosen your approach, make sure you research the opportunity at length to increase your chances of success. Also, draw up a business plan detailing the marketing strategy, the skills you will need, the investments you now have to make, as well as your revenue targets. These minutiae will assist you in planning and executing flawlessly.

If you plan in the future to chase new opportunities and grow your business, it’s important to watch your finances. Keep an eye on your cash flow to ensure your expansion plans are sustainable and are not straining your existing business. Remember, you need to achieve a careful balance between risk and reward as you continue to expand your business.

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