How to identify new business opportunities for your small business

Most business owners are even more keen to grow their revenues and profits now, irrespective of whether they’re already profitable, or still struggling to recover from the lockdown. 

Yet, achieving breakthrough growth can be difficult in saturated markets with plenty of competition or in an economic climate as tough 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 by finding new customers or adding new revenue streams.

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

Have you maximised the opportunities in your existing market?

A good starting point for 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 what you sell? If so, you could consider tactics like promotions, marketing via social media, or lower 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 targeting new customer segments and demographics. For example, if you sell financial services products and consult to people in Ekurhuleni, you could target customers in the wider Gauteng area.

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 entice 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 selling artisanal baked goods only 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 time to step outside your comfort zone. Diversifying into new products and services can be a risky move because it demands new skills and investments, but the returns can be worth it. 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 is often most successful 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. Or 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, you could grow 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 games collectors, where discerning customers may be willing to pay a premium.

Research and planning are key to success

When you’ve chosen your approach, be sure to research the opportunity in detail to increase your chances of success. Also, draw up a business plan detailing the marketing strategy, the skills you will need, the investments you will have to make, your revenue targets, and so on, as this will assist you to plan and execute flawlessly.

If you have plans on the table 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 not draining the life from your existing business. There is a careful balance to achieve between risk and reward as you expand your business.

This article was written by Viresh Harduth, Vice President, Small Business, Sage Africa & Middle East.

Featured image: Tim Mossholder via Unsplash 



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