7 Business Growth Ideas
By James Atkinson, LLB
Web Analytics - Here are seven business growth ideas using web analytics:
Choose A High Growth Market
In his book Blueprint to a Billion, David Thomson studies the characteristics of businesses that achieve a billion dollars or more in revenue. It may sound obvious, but one of the features that distinguished these companies from their less-successful counterparts is that the billion dollar companies chose high-growth markets.
Fortunately, internet businesses can easily do extensive market research with pinpoint accuracy before entering a market. You can:
- Assess how much money is in a market and
- See which markets have lots of real buyers,
- Which markets have the highest traffic,
- Discern how enthusiastic the buyers are in a market,
- Reverse engineer and learn from competitors, and most importantly,
- Easily ask prospects in the market what they want!
My own testing shows that markets with lots of buyers, traffic, and competitors are the most lucrative and have the biggest exponential growth potential. With the right market research you can set yourself apart from competitors. Owning a “slice of the pie” in a large, competitive market is usually more profitable than owning a bigger piece of a smaller market.
And with a unique value proposition, you can view competitors in a new way: as potential partners to grow your business. However, some markets simply do not have the right characteristics to achieve exponential growth.
For example, the market may just be too small – there are not enough prospects available. Or the market may be a “one hit wonder”, where customers want to solve a problem and forget about it, which means no backend for you. Don’t put your efforts into markets that cannot grow.
Focus On Your Best Customers
Another insight from David Thomson’s Blueprint to a Billion studies is that billion dollar companies focus most of their efforts on their best customers.
The 80-20 rule, which is widely used in business, states that 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your profits. I can certainly attest that this is correct.
This is borne out by the results of billion dollar businesses. They identify their best customers, and focus most of their efforts on them. This creates a much more profitable business. Minimal time is spent on customers who spend less.
More resources are then freed up to devote to the most responsive customer segments. You can survey them, find out what they want, and then give it to them.
Develop new products and services for them. Give them the best customer service. Follow up and develop relationships with them. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why spend a dollar and get $1.25 back when you could get $100 back for the same amount of work?
Identifying your best customers and focusing your efforts on them is another powerful form of leverage – getting dramatically better results for the same effort.
Multiply Results with More Revenue Sources
Many businesses rely on only one marketing technique to grow. It could be Pay-per-Click it or it could be a Yellow Pages advertisement and so on. Whatever it is, total reliance on one income source is a bad thing!
If your business is based on just one source of income, you’re in a very vulnerable position. What do you do if your one approach becomes less effective? You’ll lose customers and market share. You also can’t achieve exponential growth.
Using one marketing approach is a linear way to grow your business. With only one form of marketing, you’re unquestionably leaving a lot of money on the table.
You can only reach a certain percentage of the market with any one approach. But if you combine them, you’ll expand your reach and your income. The way to achieve exponential growth is to build your business on a foundation of multiple income sources.
Each extra profit source is an improvement that adds up to exponential growth. Even if a new product or traffic source only adds an extra 10% to your bottom line, the multiplier effect of many profit sources equals faster growth with greater stability.
When you increase the number of “columns” of income supporting your business platform, you increase its strength and revenue. There’s a lot more growth leverage in using multiple marketing approaches.
The military term for this concept is “force multiplier.” It means attacking the enemy with everything you’ve got: air, ground, sea, missiles, tanks, everything!
You’ve got to approach the challenge of exponential growth in the same way. Throw everything you’ve got at it. Think about the growth potential when you:
- Add just one up-sell - get customers to buy from you four times a year instead of two
- Make your sales letter convert 1% better
- Rank in the top 10 for your keywords rather than the top 100. See Step 5 of internet marketing strategies.
These are achievable goals, and they add enormous exponential growth potential to your business. You owe it to yourself to commit to making that happen! By the same token, taking your business from offering just one product to multiple products opens up a new world of growth potential.
If you offer only one product, your profit is tiny compared to what it could be.
Start thinking now about how you can add new revenue sources!
There are so many ways to do it. Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing …
- Find new traffic channels
- Create new products that are natural extensions of your current ones
- Repackage your products or services in new combinations
- Create “laddered” products (e.g. light, regular, and pro versions)
- License other people to use your products or methods
- Create partnerships to tap into other people’s customer lists in exchange for a percentage of the sale (this is great because you get access to proven buyers, and you “piggyback” off of the list owner’s credibility)
- Add complementary affiliate products to your backend
- Add an up-sell
- Suggest related products (cross-sells) at the point of sale and in follow-ups after the sale.
Once you start to think in this way, the possibilities are limitless.
Exponential growth doesn’t just happen. You’ve got to commit to producing ideas, innovation, quality, and growth, and sustaining them.
- How can I engineer innovation and quality breakthroughs into my business?
- Is this going to contribute to my growth or not?
- Is there a better way I can be doing this?
- What can I test to maximize results?
- Can I optimize my process?
- How can I get more feedback, and implement the feedback I get?
Most businesses are so caught up in day-to-day thinking and administration that they don’t facilitate their continuing growth.
Learn From Other Businesses
An internet business is very fortunate because it’s easy to reverse engineer so much of what other businesses are doing. Learn what works and what doesn’t work by studying both competitors in your market and businesses in other markets. See 'Competition": SEO Strategic Roadmap.
There are enormous leverage opportunities in understanding how other businesses do things. Look at their:
- lead generation,
- sales process,
- value propositions,
- products, and
- back end systems.
Build all of their good ideas into your own systems, and learn from their mistakes without having to repeat them.
Studying other markets can really put you ahead of the game. Most businesses only reverse engineer their direct competitors, but you can learn so much from looking outside your industry. For example, the adult and gambling industries are among the most cut-throat markets online.
Whatever your moral views about these businesses, they are the best of the best at thriving under intense competition. You can learn from them and apply their strategies to your own business.
And take it one step further - study offline companies too. Learn from their strategies. Find different and better ways to do things. Chances are your innovations will take your competitors completely by surprise.
Use Alliances to Expand
I mentioned above that when you carve out a unique position in the market you start to view competitors as a source of potential complementary alliances you can use to grow.
In fact, leveraging alliances is exactly how billion dollar businesses have reached the top of their industries.
In its simplest form, you might decide to expand your reach across the market by offering customers the convenience of a range of other people’s complementary products that you sell as an affiliate.
In my view this is the only way being an online affiliate works as a business model.
At the other end of the spectrum, you may have a more complex joint venture (JV) or contract arrangement with a partner.
Social networking has proven to be a very productive way to forge alliances online for many businesses.
It’s a great environment for networking with potential customers, as well as attracting the attention of the movers and shakers in the market.
The Backend - Where The Real Profits Are For Many
A business backend is made up of products or services that are sold to existing customers after their first purchase. They can be your own products or other people’s.
The backend is all-important. It’s where the vast bulk of the profits are in any eBusiness. You can’t afford not to have a backend.
Why is the backend so important?
It’s a lot easier to get an existing customer to buy from you again than to make a sale to a new prospect. Your existing customers already like and trust you – this is a huge advantage.
It’s also cheaper to make sales to existing customers, so you have a much bigger profit margin. You can contact your customers anytime you want for free!
The backend is a great place to sell other people’s products that complement your own. This lets you extend your reach across the market, giving customers the convenience of buying everything they need from you.
If you set up a successful backend, you can outspend your competitors to acquire customers, and make more profit too! You should test on the backend as well as the front end. The backend offers you an enormous amount of leverage. You can experiment with all sorts of offers, for example: signing customers up to an ongoing contract or monthly fee structure.
Most businesses never even try to make repeat sales to their existing customers.
I hate to think how much money they’re leaving on the table. Don’t let this happen to you. Some business models are not well-suited to creating a backend – avoid them.
Let’s move to the second element of web analytics – marketing metrics.
Web Analytics > Setting Up an Evidence Based Business > Test Track and Optimize > Planning and Process > Exploiting Business Metrics > Creating Business Growth > 7 Business Growth Ideas > Marketing Metrics.
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