How to diversify your small business for growth and not just survival

“It is not a failure to readjust my sails to fit the waters I find myself in.” ― Mackenzi Lee 

Life changed, literally overnight for everybody worldwide. The pandemic has changed habits and adapted the way humans think about everyday things like going to the shops or interacting with a service provider. It would therefore be naive to think that companies would survive this pandemic unscathed. As the adage goes: Adapt or die; however, there is an alternative: Adapt and GROW! 

Traditionally, businesses diversify in order to grow which we all agree with. Survival-mode is temporary, while the pandemic’s impact on human behaviour could actually be long lasting. It’s time to rethink the way we do business during and after the pandemic. 

Try our 5 tips to diversify your business for growth in the year ahead:  


1. Diversify your products/services

Bring in change. The current state of affairs, requires companies to pivot their business model so as to be more sensitive to a lockdown society’s wants, fears, needs etc. But this is a similar requirement that ‘growth’ asks of businesses in general. So instead of seeing it negatively as a means to only survive this wave, see it as a positive, and pivot to improve sales! 

Brainstorm:

  • How can you do what you do better? 
  • What are your customers looking for from you? 
  • How can you solve a challenge that customers may face? 
  • How can you reduce face-to-face contact with fearful customers? 
  • What product/service can you include in your service offering in order to improve sales and cater to your customers’ needs better? 
  • Which local company can you collaborate with in order to provide a value-added service and take advantage of cross marketing in the process? 

Ideas:
Consider selling online or delivering products to homes, if you haven’t been doing this already. If you bring a service to someone's home i.e. a plumbing service, be vocal about your health protocols to ensure peace of mind, but also start selling products that would make sense for you to sell i.e. drain cleaner, antiseptic bathroom or home cleaner. 


2. Diversify your audience

Just because you’ve spent years marketing a particular product or service to a specific audience, doesn’t mean you cannot bring in new products or services that only cater to this audience. Grow your audience, and thereby grow your profits.

Brainstorm:

  • What is your current target audience and why?
  • What can you do/sell to grow your audience without losing your current clientele?

Ideas to start you off:
Are you a florist that specialises in weddings? Then start arranging for other events too, or why not target the corporate market by doing spectacular arrangements for company reception areas? Do you have a shop in a local mall? Take your business online and increase your local delivery area to include other suburbs that you can cater to.

 

3. Diversify your marketing messages

In tougher times people tend to focus more on those ‘must-haves’ rather than “nice to haves’. Should your shop or business sell more of the latter, then it is time to diversify your marketing approach. People might not “need” what you sell but they still want and deserve a treat, so tell them why they should indulge themselves with your products and services.

Brainstorm:

  • What can you do or say to deepen your customers' loyalty to your brand? 
  • Why should your customers still buy what you sell during times like these? 
  • How can you accommodate your customers with regards to product price, delivery costs, etc.? 
  • How will you position your brand so that customers also see it as ‘essential’. 

Ideas to get you started:
Consider ramping up your marketing efforts to be more authentic, and to be more vocal about what you stand for, and why your customers should continue to buy from you. Bring in a loyalty programme, offer freebies, run promotions, etc. to keep customers returning.

 

4. Digitize your business

If you haven’t started making use of software, or ticketing systems to streamline internal and external productivity, start rethinking this immediately. Digitizing your business operations enhances communication between staff members and customers, automates certain mundane tasks (saving time and effort) and eliminates errors. 

Brainstorm:

  • Which software solutions could help your employees be more productive and cut down errors while reducing the need for face-to-face interaction at the same time? 

Ideas to start you off:
Get a website, if you haven’t already, consider a programme like Microsoft Teams for internal communication and video conferencing, Asana for project management, Quickbooks for accounting, VoIP for voice calls etc. 

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