Revenue streams are defined by the various sources from which a business earns money. For a small business, having more revenue streams is far much better than having to depend on the sale of one product/service. There is a sense in which more revenue streams improve your start-up’s profitability and aid you in safeguarding your business from uncertainties synonymous with the start-up world. Having underscored the importance of revenue streams to a start-up, the next important question to ask is how can a small business expand and create new revenue streams for improved cash flow? In this article, I will hint on a few ways in which small businesses can restructure their business models so as to have improved revenue streams.

Put your customers first and find out their unmet needs

Since customers are the life source for any business, there is no harm in making them central to your business growth strategy. For me, customers form the best source to get insights as to what your business needs to do next as it strives to grow. As a small business owner, it is advisable that you come up with a system which ensures that you are constantly getting feedback from your customers. This is important. In such a system you should ensure that your customers are constantly telling you about their needs. This could be in relation to your products/services or concerning things that can complement your product/service which can give added value to your customers.

To create that interactive platform with your customers, begin by compiling a list of at least 10 most and least paying customers. Check with them and start by thanking them for the business they have brought you. This should make them feel valued and perhaps valuable to your business. Then enquire on how they have been coping with your product/service and pivot towards asking them of their unmet needs. You want to know if there is anything you can do to improve on the value you have been giving them. In so doing, make it a point that you enquire on the possible price they might be willing to pay if you so choose to go the extra mile in meeting other unmet needs. You get rough figures to work with as you find a way meeting the unmet needs.

Make efforts to increase your customer base

Improved marketing and advertising is one sure step towards increasing your customer base. This process should be complemented by concerted efforts in making sure that you communicate the value offered by your business to its customers. There are some instances where Start-Ups hype their products/services to a point where the market starts to have high expectations which they then fail to satisfy. You always want to surpass your customer`s expectations instead of the other way around and it would rather be better to promise less while you deliver more.

So, as you try to build on your current marketing and advertising campaigns, ask yourself, what can you improve in your marketing so as to reach more potential customers on a daily basis.

Penetrate the online market

No doubt, we are now in the digital age and what better way to exploit this other than marking your presence on the internet. By incorporating the online aspect to your business, you open up to an even broader market base and not to mention that your business will be on its way to becoming global. Arguably, 21st-century businesses are fortunate to the degree that they have numerous digital tools at their disposal. Such tools as e-commerce or consumer behaviour monitoring systems yield a greater potential of improving revenue streams. Consumer monitoring applications can assist you in pinpointing areas where you can concentrate your online marketing. Better still, with e-commerce, your products are always available online to your customers 24/7 and your business can generate revenue while you sleep. Isn`t that amazing?

Add complementary services to existing products/services

For me, this is an interesting one in that it presents a situation where creativity and innovation meet at crossroads. For small businesses serving the low-income market, this can be a tall mountain to climb because you always want to ensure that your new service/product is attuned to the price sensitivity of your market segment. In the same light, you want to make sure that there is a sense of novelty in your new service/product pegged at prices high enough to be aspirational yet low enough to be affordable. To achieve this, try to find innovative, low cost and valuable additions you can incorporate into your current offering. At the end of the day you want something that add more numbers to your revenue stream, not the other way around.

Some go to the point of further segmenting their target market so as to offer a somewhat customised service/product. For example, If you are into peanut butter manufacturing, you can consider targeting young couples especially the newly wedded ones who you can give affordable weekend cooking classes. Design a recipe book which you give for free complementing your product while you push for your target customers to subscribe to paid weekend cooking classes.

Offer training services

Training as a service always fits well for technical products or services which normally require time for users to be fully knowledgeable about using them. Perhaps you could be trading in solar equipment, consider training people in solar fitting and solar systems repair. Maybe you are into gas wholesale/retail, think of trainings in how to install and repair household gas system. The list of the things you can do is virtually endless but all is largely dependent on your innovative capacity.

From the above, there are even more ways to improve revenue generation from your business. What’s needed is to think in a more strategic manner.