At Third Road Management we have the honor of working with businesses and non-profits across a spectrum of industries, ownership structures, tenure and financial status. Through our experience we have gathered some wisdom that can hopefully be helpful to business leaders outside of our current network of clients. This is our venue to share some of our ideas.
Today we’d like to cover a topic near and dear to all…how to grow the top line by identifying new revenue opportunities. As someone wise once said, there are very few problems that more sales can’t solve!
As simple as that sounds, in practice a lack of time, energy and focus can leave businesses in a rut of fresh ideas to keep the new sales coming in. During these times, at Third Road we sometimes employ a tool we call the “wheel of fortune.” Calm down Pat Sajak, we’re not trying to steal your thunder!
Anyways, here’s how it works: Step 1: Carve out a half or full day of distraction free white space to think (yes, put the phones away). Step 2: Invite colleagues to collaborate, bringing with them some diversity in roles, experience and perspectives. Step 3: Spend time brainstorming through the categories below. Step 4: Identify the best opportunities among them and execute!
Here are the categories you could consider (yes, someone more artistic could probably draw a sweet venn diagram or something for this, but alas)…
– Same Customers, Same Products/ Services (deepen current relationships). Key question: How can we do more with our existing clients? More volume? Increase prices? Cross selling opportunities?
– Same Customers, New Products/ Services (new offerings to existing relationships). Key question: What do our current clients need that we are not providing them, but should?
– New Customers, Same Products/ Services (broader reach w/ existing goods…better conversion rates..new industries reached…etc.). Key question: Who should we be doing business with (or more business with), but aren’t?
– New Customers, New Products/ Services (broader reach w/ new goods). Key question: Is there a product or service that we can offer, but aren’t currently, that will broaden our target client audience?
– Same Customers, Same Products/ Services, New Geographies (geographic expansion). Key question: Does it make sense for us to expand geographically into a new market?
Yes, we know that this is basic blocking and tackling, but sometimes the combination of white space + great thinkers + simple questions + a white board can kick up fresh ideas and/or stoke the flames of excitement and energy.
It’s also probably worth noting that there are likely some deeper questions that can be asked (eg- right product/ service, right pricing, market depth, marketing messaging, right staffing, acquisition opportunities, etc.), but for our purposes in the interest of simplicity we’ve assumed that those have already been vetted.
If you need help leading this exercise or have questions, please feel free to call us at Third Road. This is part of the normal value we provide in our Fractional CFO services.