Change is Constant
Markets and customers’ business needs change. New technologies render old ways of doing business obsolete. As the economy fluctuates, customers have either more or less money to spend on your products and services. New competition emerges and existing competition alters the way they do business.
Despite these changes, you want to grow. You need to look for new customers and expand the amount of business from existing customers.
At a minimum, you may change prices or ramp up promotion of specific products or services. You might increase networking and make more calls to clients and prospects.
Conceptually, you can change the products and services you offer, develop new services, utilize different sales channels and develop new markets. These options require more thought before they can be implemented. Before making any decisions in these areas, take a look internally at your capabilities.
What are your Capabilities?
There are several components that make up a company’s capabilities. They include financial resources, staff expertise, the technology used to conduct your business, your internal processes, and the products and services you sell.
As companies evolve, people are hired. Customers ask you to perform specific services. New technology brings increased functionality. Processes are created and implemented to operate more efficiently.
These evolutions add capabilities that can result in new revenue generating products and services and other business building benefits.
Let’s look at some potential areas.
Expertise is made up of the skills and knowledge of your staff. Productive employees perform tasks and become assets to the company. Could these employees make even greater contributions by generating additional revenue?
A software development client hired an experienced engineer to develop an internal quality system. Management recognized that quality systems consulting would be useful to many clients. A new service was created that generates significant revenue and is a competitive advantage.
Each company develops processes to run its operations. Some of these require interfacing with customers. Could an internal process become an external value added service?
A client used a project tracking report for payroll and client billing. One of their customers requested more information to substantiate the amount billed. A new report was created which provided both project hours and costs from inception through the current month. This report is now available to all clients. This confirms that projects are proceeding on time and within budget. By furnishing this proactively, customer confidence and trust are built. This is a competitive advantage and has generated more and larger project revenue from current and new clients.
New technology comes with new features and functions. When new hardware and software are installed, the first priority is to replace pre-existing functionality. This new technology can be used to generate revenue from customers.
A website development client used an outside vendor to host their own website. They periodically experienced issues that caused them to switch vendors. Their other customers experienced similar problems which my client resolved for them. Many of their clients don’t have the internal staff or time to resolve these issues quickly. A website maintenance plan was developed and offered to clients. This website maintenance plan provides peace of mind to clients that their website issues will be resolved quickly. It generates additional revenue for the website developer.
Customers initially buy from you because you satisfy a need. They may continue to purchase the same products, but may not be aware of others you can provide. As a group, meet with your sales, delivery, customer service and billing staff regularly . Ask them to share what customers have told them about your products. Have your staff suggest changes.
Reach out to customers to get their opinions on current products. Ask them for suggestions that could complement existing products. This will result in business from new customers and more business from existing ones. It will strengthen your relationships and improve your competitive position.
Consumer goods companies use these techniques regularly to insure that they continue to provide the right mix of products to respond to customers’ changing tastes and needs.
Review unique services performed with your staff periodically. Ask customers to suggest additional services you could provide that would help them manage their business more effectively. The implementation of their collective ideas can generate new or improved services. The results can yield increased customer satisfaction and additional revenue.
A project management consulting and training client developed a web based reporting system to measure project team effectiveness for a specific client. The system was enhanced and offered to all customers. It was incorporated into their consulting services to measure the difference between existing project team effectiveness and team performance after training enabling clients to measure the effectiveness of the consulting and training. One of the system reports is offered as an annual industry thought leadership survey that generates new leads and has resulted in additional business.
Review your capabilities
Implementing hidden capabilities may be one of the least expensive ways to grow your business. It begins by reviewing your expertise, processes, technology, products and services. Any one of these areas can yield potential areas which can generate revenue, strengthen your competitive position, and advance your reputation as an industry leader.
Many growing companies don’t have the time or manpower to review their capabilities. Berger Business Advisors can provide the additional manpower and expertise to turn hidden capabilities into revenue generating products and services and other business building benefits. Contact us for a free consultation.