Diversify or Die

Posted by: on October 23, 2009

Diversify or Die
Retail Trends, Small Business Advice May 27, 2009 By Diane Helbig

Business diversification and expansion. Do you know a business owner who is lamenting the current state of the economy? Are they talking about how their business is on life support and they don’t know what to do?

Are you one of them?

Lee Iacocco said, “In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”

The companies that seek out different market segments are the ones that will survive this environment. How do they do it? They look at their product or service and then at their current client/market base. Then they take a step back and ask – Is there another segment that could use my product or service? Can I adapt my process to open up another potential client pool?

According to a May 4, 2009 article in Crain’s Cleveland Business, companies like Wright Tool Company are exploring different market segments like advanced energy and medical technology. Retail locations like Next Energy Store of Kirtland, Ohio are looking for new products to sell.

These companies are looking for ways to continue to provide value. When their current prospect base started to dwindle they stepped outside of their situation and considered alternatives. They got creative and found other markets to prospect in; they found new prospects.

In early 2008 Tree House Gallery in Olde Avon Village, Ohio opened a branch store called Sassy’s to cater to female consumers. While Tree House Gallery sells antiques and home furnishings, Sassy’s offers jewelry and accessories at reasonable prices. The owners realized that people were slowing down their purchases of higher ticket items. At the same time they knew that women will continue to buy lower cost accessories that make them feel good.

Think of it this way – when you are saving your pennies and thinking about every purchase, it’s nice to mildly splurge by buying yourself a trinket. There’s something about an item under $20.00 that makes it attractive. It’s something you can justify. Sassy’s offers just that range of items. So, while revenues may be slightly down for Tree House, overall the company is doing quite well thanks to Sassy’s.

What do all of these companies have in common? They understand that if they continued to do what they were doing they’d die. When death isn’t an option, the creative juices flow. It’s a decision business owners are making everyday – diversify or die.

Where do you stand? Is it time to strategize? You don’t have to go it alone! Include your staff, associates, and friends in your brainstorming. You never know what someone will come up with. The key is to know you CAN diversify; you CAN be creative and find new avenues for growth.

Good economy or bad, it’ll be one of the best things you do for your business.

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Diane HelbigAbout the Author: Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Sales Experts Panel at Top Sales Experts.

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