The greatest enemy of growth is not decline: it’s stagnation. A business that does not find new ways to earn revenue opens itself to increased competition in its primary niche with no opportunities to make up the difference. Extending business services allows companies to diversify their income while increasing their flexibility.
As 2020 showed, inflexible businesses struggle when the unexpected happens. No one could have predicted the specifics of the disasters from last year, but the principle of disruption is not unique to the pandemic. New competitors, political unrest, industry changes, and evolving consumer expectations can all force businesses to reimagine how they deliver their services.
With more uncertainty on the horizon, businesses should not seek a return to pre-COVID norms. Some industries may resemble their past selves, but in most cases, the pace of change will continue, not slow down. New technologies and new demands will force businesses to get creative to stay competitive.
That creativity looks different for every business, but a few common themes can help companies across the board insulate themselves from risk while opening up new opportunities for potential revenue.
1. Serve A New Market
Perhaps your B2B business only serves other small- to medium-sized businesses. You may not have the capacity to go after the biggest enterprise contracts, but that does not mean you can’t take a small slice of the enterprise pie for yourself.
Large businesses are just a lot of small businesses working together toward a common goal. How could you expand your business to serve a specific department or team within an enterprise-scale organization?
Perhaps one part of your primary product would make sense as a SaaS option for companies that can already do most of what you offer but that could use help in your niche of expertise. Uber Eats and Doordash, for example, offer packages to businesses as a way to provide a new perk to employees working remotely. Both companies focus primarily on B2C, but the B2B angle introduces a new revenue stream.
2. Expand Into New Regions
Once you become known as the best provider of the services in your niche or local area, your options for growth are limited unless you broaden your horizons. Expanding into new regions, states, or even countries can introduce your company to a new group of consumers who may be eager to buy what you’re selling. In the era of remote work and social media, it’s easier than ever to expand your operations quickly by capitalizing on your existing brand authority.
Take Neil Patel, for example. When Patel wanted to expand his company to attract more Brazilian marketers, he tapped Caio Beleza to make it happen. Beleza began managing a team of translators, converting Patel’s blog posts from English to Portuguese, before becoming the leader of NPAccel in 2015. Since then, Beleza has led NPAccel to substantial gains in Brazil and in the United States and has helped grow the brand in both countries. It would be easy for some entrepreneurs to miss out on opportunities if they overlook the potential of an international market.
3. Push Harder Into Partnerships
No business can do everything alone. Companies depend on one another to find mutual benefits, such as common customer bases or complementary service opportunities. Partner marketing is an excellent avenue for companies to expand their business services while strengthening their networks.
Creating a partners program (or investing more in your current one) could help your business earn clout and cash at the same time. HubSpot’s partner program, for example, is a major driver for the company’s growth and reputation as a top marketing and sales solution. Partners are eager to join the HubSpot program for the growth opportunities and association with the HubSpot brand, while HubSpot benefits by establishing itself as the go-to marketplace for a variety of related solutions.
4. Talk to Your Team
The people working in your business know more about the challenges and opportunities in front of you than anyone else. They see what works and what doesn’t, but they rarely feel called to speak up because they’re not responsible for this or that. By empowering your employees to share their ideas, you can gain access to a host of valuable knowledge you may have taken for granted.
Set up a feedback system and allow anyone to contribute. This should not be an exercise limited to director-level people and above. While working as a janitor for Frito-Lay, Richard Montañez came up with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Not long after, he earned an executive position, all because CEO Roger Enrico gave him a chance to pitch his vision.
Where should your business services expand in 2021? That’s up to you. Whatever you do, though, keep pushing forward. New normals mean new changes, and if you want your business to succeed, you must be prepared for what comes next.