Almost every business wants to grow, expand and make more money. But when you’ve only got one or two product offerings, this can be challenging. Maybe you only have a few ‘items’ that your customers can buy from you? Perhaps you only have one service that you can really deliver?
Either way, you might think that you can’t offer anything more to your audience, and so can’t make any more money.
You’d be wrong.
Whatever business you are in, there are always opportunities to expand and diversify what you offer to your customers – even in the rural or agricultural sectors.
Some might require a lot of time and investment to get off the ground; others might simply be a case of clever marketing.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Go premium
Whether you sell a physical product or a type of service, you always have the option to offer a premium version. Simply take your standard item – a cake, an item of clothing, a process, whatever it might be – and add something extra to make it better.
If you sell food, your premium item could include extra ingredients or extra amounts. If you offer a service, your premium version could be more in-depth or offer more bespoke options.
There are so many different angles you can take a premium offering without changing much within your own business.
Think about the seats on a plane. Essentially, they’re all the same – somewhere to sit whilst you go from A to B. But you can pay extra money for premium seats – with a comfier cushion and more leg room. Or you can spend a lot more on business or first class – a slightly bigger seat with some extra luxuries.
Either way, you’re still in a seat going from A to B. But you have the choice to get something different if you want it. And that’s what you should offer to your customers.
- Go lite
Although a premium offering will enable you to charge more and increase your revenue from each customer, you could also consider the opposite option too - a lite version.
This could be a starter or sampler pack, or a stripped back version of what you offer – perhaps a service that focuses on just one area instead of several, or a product that has only one core feature rather than three or four.
You might not make as much extra money per customer, but you’re giving your audience an easier, cheaper way to try what you do, so you’re likely to get more customers who might then go on to buy more from you in the future.
- Offer a variety
An easy and obvious way to expand your offering, particularly if your business sells physical products, is to give your audience a variety to choose from.
You don’t need to get complicated here just think about the obvious: different colours; different styles; different sizes; different flavours etc. You’ll immediately open your business up to a wider audience without much thought or effort.
For example, if you only sold one type of anything – cakes, pens, invite designs, whatever – you’re closing yourself off to the majority of your audience who want something different – strawberry instead of chocolate, fountain instead of ballpoint, greeting cards instead of invitations.
- Consider your assets – and your waste
One of the best ways to expand and diversify your current business offering is to spend time looking at what you already have within your company and at your disposal.
- Are there any extra materials or any left-over products that you could use?
- Do you have any waste products from your process that could be turned into something to sell?
- Do you have any un-used areas of your farm, your office or your business that you could do something with?
For example, if you sell chicken eggs, perhaps you could look at making use of the natural ‘fertiliser’ your chickens produce by selling off their waste.
If you manufacture products and you have leftover material, maybe you could make the off-cuts into a smaller product to sell along with your main offering.
See also: How to carry out market research
Think about what you could do with an excess supply you have. The company that supplies Ribena with their blackcurrants, for instance, had an abundant supply last year – more than they could sell for production. So they used the currants themselves to make a liquor similar to Chambord, and sold that.
A completely different target audience, but a great way to diversify their business.
You might also be able to do something with any land assets you have. Heaton House Farm for example – a traditional, working cattle farm – found they had several couples interested in getting married there because of the beautiful surroundings. They’ve now converted several of their barns and hold over 100 weddings each year.
- Add on or package up
Another tried and tested method of expanding your business is to add extra items to your offering – and charge more, or turn your products and services into a larger package – again, something that costs more than your usual offering.
You’ll see bolt-ons and packages in every single business, in every single sector. Whether it’s that extra item needed to get free delivery, or a ‘starter set’ for your new hobby, they are all ways for a business to offer you more – and get more out of you.
Take the time to think about who your audience is and what they like. Then create a package or add-on to give them what they want.
- Think seasonality and one-offs
Finally, think about how you might be able to tweak your regular product or service to tie in with different times of the year or with a special one-off event.
There’s a reason why Jaffa cakes turn green for Halloween, or why restaurants have a special Valentine’s menu – they encourage people to buy more – because they’re different, they’re special, and they’re for a limited time only.
Seasonal products or one-off specials are a great way for you to reach a wider audience, encourage old customers to return, and give more options to your current customer base.
Focus on more choice, more cross-selling, and more upselling.
Ultimately, you need to decide what are the feasible options for your business when it comes to expanding and diversifying what you offer to your customers. There are lots of different ways to go.
Follow what big businesses do:
- Give your customers different things to choose from
- Promote similar items and cross-sell
- Suggest extra items or benefits by upselling
Try these out, and you’ll soon see what your audience would like from your business and identify the best opportunities for expansion.