I don't pretend this little 2x2 grid is in anyway unique, but would suggest that even though many of you will have seen it before, if like are like me, you haven't taken it down, dusted it off and used it anytime recently, I suggest you shut your door for 15 minutes, tell your PA you do not wish to be disturbed and that you complete this twice. Once thinking of your business (be that an internal function or an external business) and then again from your personal point-of-view (a sort of personal marketing strategy). If you find this useful, you might wish to consider then sharing this process with your team and then convening a meeting to go through this at the team level too.
Here is the grid:-
So the first question is "Can I/we sell more or our existing products or services to either our current customers or types of customer?" Then ask "Could we sell these things to new customers, types of customer or in new sectors or locations?" Then, "Could we sell these new products or services (based on our current competencies, or our customer's needs) to our existing customer base or sectors & geography?" And finally, "What new products and services could we offer to new customers, sectors or locations?
"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." Henry David Thoreau
Clearly your answer to the final question should initially be based on your existing assets, knowledge and reputation. Brand extension is a good way of creating new businesses and markets. Think of Caterpillar selling men's shoes, or JCB supplying clothing, or better still confectionary businesses like Mars & Cadbury selling ice creams based on their products.
A lot of business strategy experts encourage people to increasingly specialise, focusing on ever narrower niches. However, If you explore the opposite direction, that too can be very fruitful. Think of what is the higher level category or market you are in. For example, in one direction you might go "We are Accountants" ->"We are tax Accountants" -> "We are corporate tax Accountants" -> "We are VAT Accountants". If you took this in the opposite direction, you might go "We are Accountants" -> "We are Business Advisors" -> "We are Advisors" etc. With each step up the chain, new possibilities come into play.
What is your primary asset, your specialist knowledge or the quality of the relationships that you have? If you can build real trust with your clients then you open up all sorts of new possible ways of working together profitably.
If we project five years forward, I am absolutely sure that many people will think back to 2008 as the year they began the process of making their fortune. the $64,000 is "Are you going to be one of them?" If so you need to plant the seeds of Change today! Remember talking this kind of thing through with someone else makes the process much more powerful!
"Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom." E. B. White
My thanks to C Ragg for reminding me of this model
Richard has a depth of experience and a wealth of anecdotes which always helped me to see things differently and more clearly - Business Solutions Group Manager National Grid Wireless
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Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead