A lot has changed in the business community over the past two years. However, if there is one thing that remains constant, it’s that your market and your customers are always evolving.
Standing still in the business world allows other companies to step in and fulfill consumer needs.
To ensure you stay ahead of the pack, here are a few tips on how to uncover growth opportunities for your business:
1. Self Evaluation
It is extremely important to first evaluate the existing business.
Examining each service or product from its bottom line allows the business to understand what appeals to its customers and what it is doing well. The process also allows you to recognize the “stragglers” and phase them out to make room for new opportunities.
A SWOT analysis allows you to identify your business’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in an organized manner. You can leverage your strengths to capture the opportunities.
2. Understand Market Trends
A business must stay on top of the current trends in its industry in order to uncover new business opportunities. For example, the current trend toward sustainable business practices has created a huge market for “Green” products and services that have little or no impact on the environment.
Market trend analysis doesn’t need to be scary. Simply put, it’s the comparison of industry data over a set time period, designed to recognise any consistent trends or results that could be used to map your business strategy – aligning it with the general direction of your industry.
With the increase of online consumers and more businesses adopting e-commerce, social media is a powerful tool to keep track of industry developments. Try looking at, and tracking, influencers in your industry and consider their points of view to remain part of the conversation. Another helpful tool is the The Beginner’s Guide to Business Research, which can be found via the UBC Small Business Accelerator Program
3. Identify Gaps in the Market
Most successful businesses don’t follow the crowd; they innovate and break new ground in order to stand out from the noise. However, identifying potential new products and services takes dedication as well as effort. Consider the following for review when looking for gaps in your industry:
Listening to what your customers are saying will help you to understand whether your business fulfills their needs. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers directly. Look at what is being said in online reviews and social media.
And keep your ears open for verbal cues—they may already be asking for something you can provide!
Be aware of what your three closest competitors are up to. Have a look at their website, customer reviews and social media channels. This will give you a good idea of their market position and if they are acting on any emerging trends.
Make the most of digital tools and analytics to assess industry behaviour. There are some extremely useful tools out there to help you discover what consumers are searching for online. For example, Google Analytics gives you a look at what users are doing on your website and Google Trends shows a long-term overview of niche trends while, Answer the Public uses search engine data to display what people are asking about.
Entrepreneurs are visionaries by nature, and while you might be ready to grow your business with new opportunities, just remember where you started.
Developing a growth strategy that is sustainable requires a new set of skills and strategies—it’s not an option to simply work more!
Remember, you’re not alone and there are many resources to help you and WeBC are here to support you at every stage of your business journey – take a look at what we have to offer!
This article is based on information provided by Sandy Huang, President at Pinpoint Tactics Business Consulting, Vancouver.