While managing expenses is extremely important in this economy, it’s also critical to look at the other factor in the profitability equation – increasing revenues. Revenues drive your business, and your products and services drive your revenues.
Most business owners started their companies because they had something other people were willing to pay money for. Maybe it was a new product, or a twist on an old product.
Or maybe it was a concept or service that helped customers become more effective or efficient. Whatever it was, there was a market for it – and that’s what has kept them in business.
Taking a fresh look at your products and services and your market might be just what your business needs to make it through the rest of this challenging economic period.
Products and services. You don’t actually sell products and services – you sell the benefits those things bring to your customers. Why do they need or want your product? How does your service make their lives easier or more enjoyable?
Spend some time with your team brainstorming other uses and benefits of your products and services. Think far outside the box just to get the juices flowing. Get crazy. Develop as many uses of your wares as you can. Then go back and look at those ideas that could have some merit. Don’t judge too harshly – you may put down an idea that could be the next wave of success for your business.
Here’s a real-life example: An aspirin company was a top seller for headache remedy for many years. Studies began to reveal that taking aspirin could cause bleeding and, in certain circumstances, could cause serious harm to children. Non-aspirin substitutes began taking market share.
So, the aspirin company thought of other uses for its product and did the research necessary to vet those ideas. Soon, they were marketing their products as heart attack prevention (blood thinners can be good at times), and even as soil additives to help plants grow better. They diversified their products and stayed strong.
Markets. The groups of people who buy your products and services have ups and downs. If you are concentrated in a single industry, economic challenges for that industry can be catastrophic for your company.
Often, there are other people who could use or benefit from your products that you may not have thought about. Having a more diversified market can mean that one sector is up while another is down. It helps you better weather the economic upheavals.
Just as you brainstormed on new product uses, you should brainstorm on different market applications. In fact, some of the uses you developed above might suggest other markets.
You might also start from the opposite angle and research markets and industries that are performing well in this tight economy. Then brainstorm ways those markets might benefit from your products or services.
In the above example, the aspirin product’s use in growing plants opened up a different type of market for the product. So, put your thinking caps on and see what you can do to drive revenues. It may be the start of something exciting for your company!