Four (Not So Simple) Ways to Grow Your Business

Fourth quarter is often a time of reflection. It is a time to focus on strategy for the coming year, while trying to end the current period strong.

Questions that may be top-of-mind include: Are you planning to expand your business? Do you know where to start in your strategy planning? Are you weighing between investments in sales and marketing? Are you weighing between serving a current customer more fully or expanding to new accounts?

Here are your choices, in a nutshell, along with what these choices might entail:

1. Sell more of what you sell today to your current customers. Meaning invest in more marketing and sales resources to improve your win rate. (This is the least risky option.)

2. Sell new products or services to your current customers. This might require some development. It might require marketing and sales investment to broaden your consideration in new categories. And you may have to leverage your brand and relationships to gain a larger share of wallet.

3. Sell more of what you sell today to new customers. Typically requires investment in marketing and sales to expand your consideration, as well as branding to raise awareness while at the same time  focusing on lead generation and cultivation.

4. Sell new products or services to new customers. May mean transforming your business with investments in all major functional areas. (This is the most risky option.)

These options are illustrated in the legendary Ansoff Matrix (pictured), first published in the Harvard Business Review in 1957 and relevant today. I have found the Ansoff Matrix useful as a discussion-facilitation tool. Have your team brainstorm ideas onto sticky notes. Then draw the matrix and ask them organize the ideas into quadrants.

It even works well for career planning, as you consider applying current and new skills in current and new environments.

Don’t let a simple 2×2 matrix fool you. Growing your business over a sustained period isn’t easy. All of the alternatives will have advantages and risks and 2013 might just be the year for bold action. Happy strategy planning!

Jennifer Davis

About Jennifer Davis

Jennifer Davis is the Chief Marketing Officer for the international business of Leyard and also serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Planar Systems and Runco International. She is a high energy, articulate senior executive who uses entrepreneurial skills to build high performing businesses, product lines, and go-to-market strategies. Jennifer can be found @jenniferdavis on Twitter and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin/in/jenniferbdavis.

One Response to “Four (Not So Simple) Ways to Grow Your Business”

  1. Excellent article! I’m in a strategy phase right now and it’s good to see these options laid out like this.