📈 4 Ways to Grow
Once you have made your first sale, it is an exciting moment! You can do this! Only. . . where do you go next? As soon as you believe that it is possible to build a business around your content, it can be overwhelming to decide where to focus your time and attention. There are countless ways to grow your business, right? Wrong! There are only four ways to grow any business, online or not.
Igor’s 4 Paths to Growth
There are many different tactics you can try, or trendy techniques you can use to grow your business, but on a broader scale there are only four different ways to grow your existing business. That insight comes from Igor Ansoff, who published his product-market strategy framework in 1957, known today as The Ansoff Matrix:
The Ansoff Matrix classifies business growth strategies into either new or existing products, new or existing markets, or a combination of each. The framework also clarifies the relative level of risk with each approach, to help you decide where to focus. This is a useful tool in any business, but it definitely applies to creating content online. Lets walk through each section, with an explanation and example for each.
This is the least risky growth strategy, where you take your existing products into existing markets. In other words, you promote your current products to your current audience to get more sales. If you have an online course or an ebook, when was the last time you emailed your list about that product? Send a promotional campaign to your audience to tap into growth through Market Penetration.
Relative to Market Penetration, this is a slightly riskier strategy, where you develop new products for your existing market. In other words, you create new products to sell to your current audience. Maybe you don't have an online course yet, or you don't have a product that addresses a common problem your audience has. Create a new product to solve that need, and promote it to your current audience to grow via Product Development.
This strategy is similar in risk to Product Development, where you take your existing products into new markets. In other words, you look for ways to get your current products in front of new people. For example, let's say you already have an online course that is selling well to your audience but you know of a couple of people with engaged audiences in a similar, adjacent niche. Coordinate an affiliate launch to promote your product to a new audience, and you have grown through Market Development.
The riskiest growth strategy of all is to develop new products for new markets. In this case, you are essentially creating a new business from scratch. It can be alluring to chase opportunities, but it takes a lot of work (and a good bit of luck) to pull this type of growth off.
For example, let's say you have an online course about one topic and you decide to create a course on a completely different topic that doesn't relate to your brand. You need to develop the new product and expand your reach into a new market (with a new audience) so this will take a lot of work.
Sometimes, diversification is still worth it, as part of an overall strategy to pivot or reposition your business, but generally you should pursue this growth strategy last. Which growth strategy will you use next?