There’s an old adage that says “don’t have your fingers in too many pies at once”.
As a general rule, I believe this is good advice, and I ask my own clients to narrow their focus so they can deepen their authority in their chosen field or niche. It’s too easy to fall into “Popcorn Brain” mode and tackle several projects at once, thus diluting your impact.
But is it always true? That depends on the stage of business you are in.
Are you in the Start-Up Stage of your business?
When you are in the start-up stage of your business, typically in the first 12-18 months of business, you’ve often found a niche slice that you’re serving and sales are starting to come in. There’s inconsistent revenue and not a lot of profit yet, but there are sales! You’ve demonstrated that your idea and experience has merit and you’re juggling excitement, overwhelm and oscillating self-belief.
At this stage of business development, your focus is best applied to marketing and sales, marketing and sales, marketing and sales. Growing visibility in your market is vital, getting in front of potential clients both on and offline so you can build awareness and interest in your core offer. You’ll likely be investing 80% of your time in active marketing and core service development, with the remaining 20% in and delivery mode. Consolidation is the priority here.
Are you in the Deepening Stage of your business?
At 2-5 years, you’re usually entering this business stage. This is where you get to see how your investment in consistent marketing, visibility, audience building, content and experience creation is paying off, and you are reaping the rewards in the form of enquiries and leads. You may have leveraged your time further in a group program, raised your prices to reflect your increasing experience and deeper mastery. Your sales and revenue generation is more predictable and reliable. You begin to breathe a little easier.
This is a great place to reach for many a businesswoman, and you may be perfectly content to maintain this level of growth and stability, as it ticks all of your “why I am in business” boxes. Many of us want a business that complements but does not commandeer our lives.
But the deepening stage can also represent a developmental ceiling that many of us yearn to break through and, in addition to hiring staff, one of the best ways to do this is to move into new growth mode, and that’s where the Ansoff Matrix comes in handy.
What is the Ansoff Matrix?
The Ansoff Matrix is a strategic planning tool that provides a framework to devise strategies for future growth. It’s named after Russian American Igor Ansoff, who created the concept. There are four category options for expansion:
- Market Penetration
Increase market share among existing audience/ customers/clients
- Market Development
Attract new customers/clients to existing products/services
- Product/Service Development
Create new products/services to present audience/clients/customers
Introduce new products/services to new audiences
I like to add a fifth category of my own:
5. Personal Satisfaction/ Special Projects
Developing new ideas for new or existing audiences, or for yourself, for the sheer pleasure of creativity
Where are opportunities often overlooked?
There are a plethora of opportunities open to you when you are ready for new growth. Oftentimes we play primarily in the territory of 1 – 3, relying on expanding our tried and true methodologies. Nothing wrong with that and there are dozens of ways in which you can pursue growth within these categories. But if you’re willing to stretch a little further, you might be surprised at the opportunities that are right under your nose.
To help you open up to these, I’d like to share a couple of examples from two of my clients.
Wendy Kendall – Practice Accelerator
Wendy has worked with me in a personal mentoring program, before joining a Circle Mastermind for two rounds and then this year, stepping up into my Diamond Mastermind. She is based in Wales in the UK and markets under a personal brand with expert positioning and a developing delivery team.
Working with multinational companies, Wendy specialises in coaching and mentoring global leaders as they move across borders on global assignments with a focus on maximising the value created through the move. Through this, she also helps companies to retain more of their talented leaders and to capture the ROI of international assignments so that they can show they’re providing value to the company.
Wendy has developed an Offer Staircase with her Global Leaders ROI Program with a growth strategy based on Categories 2 and 3 and has generated substantial increases in revenue as a result of her focus and aligned actions.
But she has also beautifully leveraged Category 3, Diversification. Wendy is a qualified Psychologist, with a BSc (Hons) in Behavioural Sciences and an MSc in Applied Psychology, who has “escaped” the traditional practice model and associates work to forge this new path in her business. She recognised there was an interest in her trailblazing approach and in 2018, launched her Practice Accelerator, a mentoring/masterminding program for psychologists who are developing their own private practices in new ways and will be launching cohort 3 in March of this year.
Sarah Gillis – The Registered Migration Agents Network
Sarah originally came to me for a VIP Day several years ago and has since joined a Circle Mastermind for two rounds before also stepping up to the Diamond level as her business grew.
Sarah is based in Sydney and is the Founder and Chief Dream Weaver of Aspire Australia. She has been involved as a leader in the Immigration industry for more than 25 years, providing immigration advice and services to companies wishing to bring skilled workers into their team, and to individuals who want to make Australia their home – specifically skilled workers and marriage partners. Sarah and her team specialise in tackling the complex cases that other agents tend to shy away from.
In 2018, Sarah stepped strongly into the Diversification, Category Three in the Ansoff Matrix when she recognised and responded to the need for fellow Registered Migration Agents, at an earlier stage of their own business development journey, to have access to Mentoring and support. Not only did she host a conference specifically designed for Agents to network and grow their agencies whilst taking care of their own physical and mental health, but she also established the Registered Migration Agents Network, with a number of group and personal mentoring programs. The Network is developing into a strong Business unit providing a second, distinct revenue stream, leveraging Sarah’s deep industry expertise and knowledge.
What opportunities can you uncover?
If you are confidently anchored in the Deepening stage of business, I challenge you to pause and consider your growth opportunities that are slightly out of the ordinary. The diversification quadrant in the Ansoff Matrix has the potential to open a whole new area of business for you – the trick is to leverage your expertise without it detracting from your core focus or depleting your energy. When you can invest yourself successfully in this mode of operation, you are entering the Expansion Stage of business, the next step after Deepening, and the subject of a future post, as that’s when my favourite additional category, the Personal Satisfaction and Special Projects phases kicks in the strongest!
If you feel on the edge of a new stage of growth and would like a fresh perspective and new insights on your opportunities, consider booking a Personal Strategy Session with me. A key zone of genius of mine is finding the gaps and possibilities in you and your business that you might be overlooking. More details are here.