by Joe Barton
If you are looking to expand and create new businesses, or you have already begun doing so, it’s important to make sure you incorporate a variety of tactics into your growth. You need diversity in order to grow quickly enough to find some stability, and you need diversity to balance out high- and low-risk business opportunities.
Wide vs. Deep
The two approaches to growth are going “wide” or going “deep.” What I mean by that is, if you are in a niche of basketball training videos, for example, you have the option of going wide and also doing baseball, football, tennis, golf, rugby, soccer, hockey, and fencing training videos. Or you can go deep, and develop your expertise in basketball training and do videos about shooting, passing, defense, rebounding, etc.
There are pros and cons to both, but when we were starting out, we went wide. The first few years of my business were filled with launching as many new products in the health niche that we could, because replicating your business model and going wide allows you to reach more people and duplicate successful marketing plans from one market to the next. As a new business, it was essential that we reached as many people as possible.
However after reaching a certain level of success, we’ve grown by going deep. Going deeper lets you focus on fewer topics, become more of a trusted authority in the field, and deliver more valuable content to your market.
Some new business ventures are obviously more risky than others, but there is always some level of risk involved in business. It’s important to remember that risk in itself is not a bad thing. Higher risk usually means higher reward. And, thankfully, there are ways to approach risk and prepare for it.
Before we launch a website, we usually spend several months researching the market, which includes surveying people and asking them questions that will give us an idea of what conversations they are having inside their heads. If you can help answer the questions that your market is thinking, they will trust you and respect you. The better you can understand the person you’re selling to, the better you can make your product valuable for them and give them exactly what they want.
The hard part is that sometimes the answers that people give in a survey aren’t really true. For example, if I was launching a product in the fitness market, and I asked someone, “What is the biggest reason why you think it’s important to exercise regularly?” he might answer, “So I can be healthy and feel better.” But if you dig deeper, you might find out that the real reason he thinks he should exercise regularly is so he can be more attractive to the opposite sex and boost his self-image.
Understanding the true conversation going on inside your potential customers’ heads will allow you to provide better solutions to your audience’s problem and, eventually, you will sell more products. The more products you sell, the more money you make, hence less risk of failure.
If you don’t have much time to invest in researching and surveying your market, you’ll have to do this on the fly after you launch. No matter what, always test and tweak your offers, and do your best to understand your market.
Embrace Self-Sustaining Companies
Diversifying your business portfolio is extremely beneficial financially. You want different kinds of companies that might bring in money at different times and have different levels of stability, so that they balance each other out. If one endeavor doesn’t do well, your whole business won’t be ruined because it has other, more profitable, businesses to fall back on. You need to develop a business that is profitable and requires few resources. This type of business will provide you with the capital to test out new ideas and business models.
This brings us to companies that are more self-sustaining. We’ve dedicated a team of writers to write on a new topic each month in our membership site at www.homecuresthatwork.com. This is a perfect example of a self-sustaining company. It’s technically not purely self-sustaining because it still requires writers, but it has minimal upkeep, and the information published on the site is timeless because an apple will take care of heartburn just as much today as it will in 20 years.
You’ll never be able to completely get rid of risk, or mimic exactly what a similar company has done to be successful, but you can start strong with the business model you have and grow from there. You can evolve as you grow wider and then deeper. And you can, and should, diversify and balance your growth in order to reduce overall risk and be a successful in business overall.
Joe Barton is the founder of Barton Publishing and other websites that promote natural health through teaching people how to cure themselves using alternative home remedies (using simple grocery store items, herbs, vitamins, exercises, and more), instead of expensive and harmful prescription drugs.