Growing your business is one of the challenges you have to face as a business owner. You need to have a plan for future growth, but it comes with dangers that can make it a difficult subject to face.
The cost of expansion of any kind is enough that you should treat the subject carefully, but it’s not just money you stand to lose if you don’t plan carefully. The bigger damage can be done to your reputation – the closure of a branch that doesn’t find it’s customers, a new product that flops, or an attempt to break into a new market where you can’t ship your products reliably can all damage your brand and make people less likely to shop with you.
The public perception of having failed can be difficult for a brand to escape from – it affects customer opinions about your business even in areas untouched by the poor decisions or bad luck that saw an attempt at growth founder.
Launching a New Product
Launching a new product can be one of the most dangerous ways to grow your business and customer base, even if it’s also one of the most rewarding. You need to make sure your ideas are rigorously tested at every stage before launch to ensure that what you’re making is something your customers understand, want and see the value of. You only have to look at the disaster that was the release of New Coke, and the narrow margin by which the brand was rescued to see the dangers waiting for you in this area.
Your new product development processs needs to have testing and feedback built into it, ensuring that your ideas are constantly measured against the reality of whether customers really want or need them. Working with a market research company can help here, getting you accurate data and also helping you understand how to market this product most effectively when you’re ready to launch it.
Marketing and advertising a new product is another point of danger. Even if the product itself is well designed and a great fit for the rest of your brand, if you don’t communicate that well, it can still be perceived as a failure. You need to ensure your advertising communicates the strengths of your new product, and how it’s a great fit for your customers while also drawing attention to the consistency with your existing brand: this is an addition rather than a reinvention.
Once again, testing is vital here. Even simple a/b testing can show you which elements of a campaign your customers are responding to and allow you to present a new product, a new venue or enhanced service in the way which connects best with the people you need to spend money on it.