In business, your growth potential is almost limitless. Almost. And while there is not much we can do about the external limitations there are some internally imposed limitations on our businesses we can do something about. Growth is all about increasing revenue. Sure you can talk about more customers or more products but the idea is to increase your revenue. So if you’re in a business and have been wondering how to increase your revenue here are some questions you should ask that can deliver the answer.
Who are my customers?
All else becomes clear once you understand who your customer is. It’s great to know them by name but it’s best to know their motivations. What is their problem? Why do they choose this solution? Why do they choose you? It provides vital information that you can use to your advantage. Having worked in the web development world targeting small businesses that want to get online the moment that changed everything was realising that businesses big or small don’t want websites but rather an internet presence. Armed with this information we massively cut down the time between first contact and agreement. It sounds like a small thing but it has a huge impact when done right. Understanding your customers is step one.
Where are they coming from?
We can look deeper into who our customers are by understanding where they are coming from. This doesn’t mean the geographic location. To illustrate if you sell butter your customers would come from a baker or a flour salesperson (baking) and so on. The idea is to understand what drives them to need your solution. I’ve seen salespeople struggle with sales conversations because they don’t understand why the prospect is in front of them. It also helps you to understand what they might combine your solution with. If you’re offering Facebook social media management you might want to throw in some Instagram and Twitter there.
Where are they going?
This is the most powerful question you can ask in the pursuit of increased revenue. Where are they going after buying your product? One good example of this thinking in practice is how alcoholic spirits for the most part are not consumed alone, they are usually mixed. In the 1990s no premix spirit drinks existed in the market and the best you could find was a store banded pack of a spirit and a mix. Fast forward 20 something years and the market is dominated by spirit mixes. That’s what happens when you figure out where your customers are going. To separate this from the last question the difference is causality. In the previous question, you are asking what causes people to come to your product. In the current question, you are asking what your product cause people to need.
Where do they like to consume your product?
You also need to pay close attention to where your product is consumed. Don’t be quick to assume this only applies to physical goods. Media companies figured out that as soon as it was possible people preferred consuming media on their phones and that’s why Facebook, Youtube and Twitter amongst others became apps. Understanding where customers like to interact with your product gives you insight into where and how to catch their attention as well as how to present the product. Those Coca-Cola branded fridges in the smallest and most remote eateries are another great real-world example of this sort of thinking in action.
What else can you offer?
The simple answer to this question is anything but it is not the most appropriate answer from the perspective of a business. What else are you able to offer at a competitive advantage to the rest of the market I suppose is a better question. When Fresh in a Box added meat and liquor to their offering they looked at things they could offer at a competitive advantage. Jik being the makers of their famous bleach had an advantage in making their surface cleaner. I guess the main point here is that your next revenue source isn’t a whole business away but rather just a product line away.