Want New Business?
Get a Strategy That Goes All the Way
By Marsha Lindquist
professionals think about getting new business, they think about
brand new markets to penetrate and focus on, or launching new
initiatives to appeal to a new crowd. They attempt to identify
potential customers they have ignored or those who have not been
apparent to them in the past. They look for the new and
different—for the proverbial “shiny penny.”
people fail to realize, though, is that getting new business is not
about veering off into a new market or following the hot new trend.
Rather, it’s about looking at the big picture of your business and
having a strategy that penetrates all the markets that make sense
for you. That’s when you have a strategy that “goes all the way.”
As you identify the new business you want to capture, keep the
following three guidelines in mind.
1. Keep the
big picture in sight:
about new markets, you first must have a clear picture of what
business you’re in. Remember, this is not about the shiny penny, the
latest craze, or hot innovation. Look at your entire business
structure and ask yourself, “What business am I really in?” Answer
honestly and thoroughly. Do you sell sofas? Or do you sell home
décor? Do you provide plumbing service? Or do you do complete home
The problem is
that when going after new business, many people suddenly forget what
business they’re actually in. They inadvertently ignore the very
aspects of their business that made them successful in the first
place. So if you’re a plumbing company and have a loyal clientele
for your services, you don’t want to drift into doing home additions
just because that seems like a growing market.
just because someone says you should go after a new market, or just
because a new product or service appears in high demand, doesn’t
mean that suggestion makes good business sense for you. So
look at the entire picture of your business, and then determine what
move makes the best sense for you, given your current strategy. Look
at the entire story and see everything.
2. Gather the
correct puzzle pieces:
Once you fully
realize the big picture of your business, you can start looking at
the individual pieces. Remember that all of the products or services
you provide must fit the whole puzzle of your business. For example,
you wouldn’t call in a decorator to re-upholster your sofa in a
sophisticated new pattern when the rest of your living room looks
like a throwback to the 1970s, complete with lava lamps and beanbag
chairs. That simply wouldn’t make sense, because the new sofa
pattern wouldn’t be a good fit for the overall room.
strategy is no different. Before going after new business or
offering a new product or service, you need to look at all the
individual aspects of your strategy and decide if the new piece
you’re throwing into the mix matches and fits. If it doesn’t fit,
your business will be disjointed, and your company’s overall image
will look less than ideal to customers. Therefore, keep your
decisions logical, not emotional. What does your whole business
strategy say you’re going after? If this new aspect matches that and
complements the other parts of your business, then you likely have a
good fit. If not, then this new area may not be territory you want
to venture into.
As you analyze
what business you’re in and whether this new market or offering fits
into your entire strategy, you may come to the realization that your
old business model no longer suits you. If that happens, you may
need to throw out your current business model and start over. Should
this revelation occur, don’t be afraid to discard what is just not
working for you anymore.
products or services have evolved to a different place—a place that
doesn’t fit into your current business strategy—then maybe it’s time
to completely change your strategy. Realize that everything, even
businesses, evolve over time. So as you look at your business with
fresh eyes, be willing to throw out what you’re currently doing if
needed so you can do something different. Even though this step may
be scary, it’s a bold move that will enable you to enjoy future
To really get
an idea of whether a new market, product, or service will fit your
business, talk to your current clients, past clients, and even your
competitors. Go on a fact finding mission. Ask them, “In your
opinion, what am I doing that works for you, and what am I doing
that doesn’t work for you?” Really listen to what they say and
compare their responses to your business strategy.
Why is this
step important? Because if you’re looking for new business, or if
you want to make a new offering, you need to know the pains of your
clients or potential clients (which is why you talk to your
competitors). Your clients and past clients can tell you what
they’re reaching for, and then you can know if you have a chance of
attaining that business. If you don’t have this key piece of
information, then you don’t have a clear idea of whether your new
strategy will work.
Go All the
Way…And Then Some!
When you have
a strategy that goes all the way, you don’t leave any stone
unturned. You see the big picture of your company, and you know,
with certainty, how every aspect of your business fits into that
grand scheme. The more you stay true to what your business is really
about and avoid the “latest craze” that can easily take you off
track, the more you can leverage opportunities that best serve both
you and your customers.
Read other articles and learn more
about Marsha Lindquist.
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