In the commercial world, change may be preordained but growth is not. Business progress depends on the strategies and actions that entrepreneurs and industry leaders initiate.
The degree to which you implement a market growth strategy depends on your business goals, objectives and philosophy.
Two growth options are available. One, plan to grow the business slowly so you can sustain a small but manageable market stake. Two, develop an aggressive growth strategy that causes you to establish a more flexible organisational structure that can adapt to new markets and rapid growth.
Regardless of the degree of market growth required to meet your business goals and objectives, the need for a plan to accomplish it is fundamental to a successful business.
Planning and achieving market growth, whether aggressive or conventional, requires the application of some fundamental entrepreneurial and marketing activities and techniques.
1. Define your new target market(s)
As you begin your market expansion efforts, determine the demographics and geographic location of the new target market. Document whether you’ll target high-end or low-end customers, or the masses. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) model would be helpful at this point.
2. Do your market research
Once you’ve developed a customer summary and identified the size of your new target market, carry out market research to help you identify key aspects about different players in market. It will identify the trends in the market to confirm if the population is expanding, shrinking or stable. The more you know about your potential customer base and your competition, the easier it’ll be for you to identify your niche.
The goal of doing market research is to equip yourself with the information you need to make business decisions about start-up, innovation, growth and the four Ps: product, price, place and promotion. The entrepreneurs of the quail egg business would have known they lacked the principle of sustainability through market research.
3. Decide on market analysis results
After completing your analysis, you should have a good sense of the growth potential for your merchandise or services, and if you should proceed with your proposed idea. But don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. You may see something in the market that isn’t easily identified by research statistics.
4. Take action/Implement
Once you’ve made the decision to enter a new market, develop and implement a good strategic/business plan for promoting and delivering your products or services. Implementation turns strategies and plans into actions to accomplish objectives and goals. Implementing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy.
The things we fear most in the markets – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances, inflation, competition – are the primary sources of creativity. So, innovate.
[Njeru wa Kaunanku, lecturer at Kenya Methodist University and business development consultant at Intersource Ltd.]