Growth is driven by energy in the market.   That market force manifests as customers buying your products.  If you’re trying to grow your business, you have to figure out how to tap into more of that energy.

You might visualize your business as being powered by a water turbine in a low valley.  To make the turbine run, you have to tap into lakes, rivers, and streams higher up and channel some portion of them into your pipeline to power your turbine.

To tap into these market energy sources, you could:

  1. Raise prices on products to existing customers or sell more of the same product to them.
  2. Sell a new product to your existing customers.
  3. Sell a new product to your current market.
  4. Figure out how to get more customers in your current market.
  5. Sell your product in new markets.

Of these five tactics, the first three are in your control.   They are optimizations of your current capabilities.  

For our water turbine example, raising prices might be like increasing the size of the pipe that drains water from those higher up ponds.

All five have hard constraints.  For example, at some price increase you start to lose customers and actually shrink your business.

Entrepreneurs gravitate towards getting more customers in the current market.  It doesn’t have the risk of raising prices or the risk and cost of product development or finding new markets.

But it’s only one of several options.  It’s worth considering the viability of other energy sources.  Raising prices or selling more to existing customers are often the low hanging fruit and can have a big impact.  E.g. One of my friends doubled his prices and then his team in just a year by systematically testing price increases.

The point isn’t to raise your prices, though you probably could.   It’s that you have multiple areas of opportunity.  

When I started my first business, I called up my former boss, a contractor who had been working for 40 years building custom homes.  I asked him for advice.  I expected him to say something inline with all the business books I was reading- maybe something about systems or marketing.

Instead he said, “a plan is only as good as its options.”  That was it.

Your ability to grow your business is limited by what options you perceive.  So it’s important to spend a little time exploring what’s possible in getting that turbine spinning and driving growth.

Featured Image Attribution: L. A. Pelton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons