If you are like me, one of your goals is to continually grow your business. You probably also struggle with finding growth that is real, authentic and sustainable.
Business growth comes in three flavors
Increase market share in the market you are already in. A restaurant owner could expand his facility in order to serve more patrons on a busy Saturday evening. Or, he could open restaurants that serve a different food cuisine in his market(city), maybe even next door to his first establishment.
Grow with the market. The same restaurant owner might join or create organizations that promote dining out. Or, he might join an organization that represents the shopping district his restaurant is located in. The goal being to increase the total number of people out and about ultimately looking for a place to dine on their evening or afternoon out.
Expand into a new market. He might open restaurants in other cities to attract a whole new geographic demographic. Or, he might find a way to distribute his brand to grocery stores for home consumption.
My recipe for growth. I prefer my home brew, which is a combination of increasing market share and growing the overall market. I focus on growing the market first. The same size slice of a bigger pie has a much greater potential for being sustainable. You grow the market by giving freely of yourself and participating in conversations that explain to your audience the value of what you do (not your specific implementation of what you do). For example, that’s why ColorMetrix has a blog and participates in several industry associations.
Growing market share. Let’s be honest there’s only one way you are going doing this. You’re taking business away from a competitor. There’s no way everyone ends up happy when this happens. Get used to it and be a little greedy. If you’re one of the people carrying the load for growing the market while your competitors rest on their laurels, well then you have earned the increased market share. As long as you grow market share in ethical and moral ways, there is absolutely nothing wrong with picking off your competition some of the time.
Expanding. I’m just not a huge fan of diversification solely for the sake of growth. If the other two methods are not working because you are in an industry that might be going away, then sure this makes sense. Or, if you control a huge percentage of the market you are in, it could be time to try expanding outside your existing markets. For me, sticking to what I know best and learning to do it even better has been working out pretty well over the last couple of years.
Your turn. What’s your take on growing your business?