Growth and StrategyOutside Contributor
Sometimes businesses forget the very simple principle that it is easier to sell a new product to an existing customer than it is to go out and find a new customer.
There is a cost associated with acquiring each new customer in your business. Once you have gained a new customer you will want to get the biggest return on that investment you can. Growing your business is good, but making more money is great. So when you are looking for growth ideas for business, always start by asking yourself if it will provide a positive outcome.
First, take into account your team’s capabilities when evaluating a growth idea. Do you have the proper training, certification, licensing as well as practical knowledge necessary to be successful with the new product or service idea? The landscape industry has low barriers to entry, and unfortunately, many people start offering a new product or service and do not have the knowledge or skills to know how to properly estimate and perform the service.
Second, consider how well your new product or service idea actually matches your businesses current assets such as equipment, tools and your current staff. Ideally, the new product or service you want to add should be a part of your company’s overall strategic direction. As Richard P. Rumelt notes in his book Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, “A good strategy doesn’t just draw on an existing strength; it creates strength through the coherence of its design.”1
Your ideas should be included and complimentary to your written business plan. For people who are not very familiar with the landscape industry, they may believe that the services provided by landscape professionals does not require a great deal of knowledge or skills. And even for those of us who have been in the industry a long time, many people under estimate the complexities that are in each new product or service category.
The difficult part of the landscape industry is so much of the actual training occurs on the job, from manufacturers and suppliers and from trade associations. Getting yourself trained on a new product or service you are considering can often be difficult, but training is critical for you to profitably offer a new product or service.
Third, as with all aspects of your business, make sure you will have a written process for the product or service before you start offering it. Ask yourself if this new product or service is going to detract or negatively impact the processes you currently have in place. You probably have heard of the law of unintended consequences. Adding a new product or service can create situations or outcomes you might not have foreseen. A little bit of home work on the front end or writing out a process first can help you avoid mistakes down the road.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you have a strong working knowledge on how to properly estimate and price your new product or service so you are making money offering it!
The good news is that whatever part of the landscape industry you are participating in today, there are many growth opportunities for your business you may be overlooking everyday. When you get started just make sure it fits your company’s strategic plan. As Rumelt reminds us, “Good strategy requires leaders who are willing and able to say no to a wide variety of actions and interests. Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do, as it is about what it does.”1
1 Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, Richard Rumelt