Virtually every business needs or wants more customers. Why? To stay in business. As CB Insights found in their analysis of nearly 300 failed start-ups, no market need (i.e., customers seeking a solution) was the top reason for failure. To this end, if you have customers, then why stay in business? Many answers exist, but the essence is to serve a need (i.e., solve a problem). To continue solving a problem—or creating value—many businesses must grow, which can mean different things to different people. The more a company grows, the more resources it can devote to creating value. Growth comes in many varieties, including financial (e.g., gross margin or net income), customers served, personal (e.g., leadership and professional development), and mindset (e.g., abundance instead of scarcity), amongst others. The bottom line is customers, especially new ones, validate a business's reason for being. Otherwise, failure, idling, or decline occur.
Business growth occurs in four ways, all of which revolve around your product or service offering and its market (i.e., distribution). Igor Ansoff was an applied mathematician and business manager who consulted and taught at many distinguished universities. He’s known for developing strategic management and corporate strategies—one that suggests growth occurs through one of four product-market strategies called the Ansoff Matrix. This happens when existing or new offerings (i.e., products or services) are introduced to existing or new markets. The result creates different go-to-market strategies that support each growth goal.
One option is to increase your market share. It’s easy for businesses with existing customers and an established distribution channel (or more) to select this path. This is the best option if you want to grow an existing market with the same product or service. Customers, offerings (i.e., a given product and/or service), and a distribution channel are used as the foundation for growth through increased market share. And, ideally, your market is growing. But, in short, this growth path means you intend to take customers away from competitors.
In addition to taking customers away from competitors, increasing your market share typically means your business has the ability to incorporate additional marketing tools. Discounting and promotional options are common tactics that, when added to your competitive advantage, create growth potential. As a business leader, this path also means you have a lower risk tolerance and want a smaller, more immediate return than developing a new offering and/or market. If this sounds like you, then here are five ways to increase your market share.
To recap, increasing your market share is the way to go if you have:
This whole process will enable you to develop and implement a vision for making money, saving time, and reducing risk. The more you follow this path, the more your business will create a growth cadence around the priorities that matter most. And, the more you consistently focus on this path, the more you increase the likelihood of success by leverages what makes you better. There’s no sure bet here. But, as the saying goes, luck favors the prepared.