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Action Your Business Growth: How to Grow your Business
September 27, 2018

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

No idea works until you do the work. Building dreams and ideas is great, but what makes mastery is the execution. Business leaders continuously explore various growth strategies to retain and grow market share.

How to thrive
Being in business is about thriving — not just surviving. To thrive, marketing gurus insist that you need three things: You need to attract more customers, they have to spend more, and they must buy more often.

The million-dollar question is: How do we make it happen? We always start with our marketing strategy. It will inform our operations, which in turn will inform our human and asset capital and, lastly, the financial investment we have to make.

A guiding tool
There are many tools to challenge and guide us, but the most respected and often used is the Ansoff Growth Matrix. It was first published in the Harvard Business Review in 1957, written by strategist Igor Ansoff to help management focus on the options for business growth. Ansoff suggested that an effective strategy considers four growth areas, varying in risk. These are market penetration, market development, product development and diversification. When displayed visually, the four areas create a matrix. This strategic planning tool guides us to understand our current situation, contemplate strategic options and consider the associated risks.

    1. Market penetration
      Market penetration has the least risk of the four options. Here you are selling more of the same things to the same market. You know your product and market well. The question is: How can we defend our market share and sell more to our existing customer? You may consider special promotions or introduce a loyalty scheme.
    2. Product development
      Product development is slightly more risky as you introduce a new product into your existing market. The advantage is that you sell to a customer that you know and they trust you. The questions is: How do we grow our product portfolio? Do we add new products or modify our existing offering?
    3. Market development
      With market development, you target new customers with your existing product. You sell more of the same things to a different market. You can consider new sales channels, online or direct sales. Do a proper market dissection to target different groups of people, considering different age groups, gender and demographics.
    4. Diversification
      Diversification is very risky. Here you consider introducing a new, unproven product into an entirely new market that you may not fully understand. You may need new expertise, acquiring another business or venturing into another sector. The main benefit of diversification is that during difficult times only one business may suffer.

Visualising with passion
The Ansoff Matrix is a great way to visualise your current position. It allows you to consider four possible ways to take the next step. Visit the following website for more insight: smartdraw.com/ansoff-matrix

John Hagel (a management consultant and author who spent over 30 years in Silicon Valley) argues that passion is the single element most critical to success. It allows business owners to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and advocate for the customer. Not always easy, it requires confidence and courage. But in the end, passion determines your success.

Betsy Ings (Courtesy of Betsy Ings)

This is the fourth in a series of six articles dealing with managing your business growth from Betsy Ings, founder and managing director of Tradelane Training & Project Management. For more information, visit www.tradelane.co.za.

Interested in taking the next step with your business? Check out our #YALIEntrepreneurs page.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blog posts contributed by members of the YALI Network.