The battle is real. Every company is fighting for survival – some already on the crest of a wave, and others just trying to hold on. But survival isn’t the reason you started your business. Survival isn’t the reason why you chose to lead your organisation. It might be where you find yourself today, but that’s not the ideal you had for yourself, let alone your business. And so it comes as no surprise that as you focus on just making it through today, or tomorrow, the prospect of taking a step back and look at where it is you want to be going, is probably very low down on your To Do list.
But you could be missing out on some huge opportunity.
The art of discovering hidden, dormant revenue streams is not as difficult as you think. Uncovering potential profit that lies bubbling just beneath the radar is probably one of the biggest oversights that many business leaders make today. And whether you are unaware of them, or whether you are completely aware of them, but know that they require accelerated growth, neither option is one that should lie untouched for much longer – especially in our eat-or-be-eaten economic climate.
Here are 9 things that you can do today, to start unearthing your own hidden revenue streams.
Speak to your Customers
We’ve purposefully put this one at the top of the list. Most organisations would be tempted to start with what they know. Call it navel-gazing, or self-absorption, many organisations are too focussed on the internal, that they neglect to become fully aware of what their market, and their customer, is doing or desires. Find any and every way to speak to your customer and understand what their needs are. And we don’t necessarily mean, “send your sales team out to report back”. Sometimes, it requires you – as the leader of your organisation, to get face-to-face with your market. In fact, we’re probably all very aware of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and his reputation for putting the customer at the centre of every decision, every process, every product. Whether it was to include an empty chair in every business meeting that represents the customer, or whether it was taking to the street himself, having a customer-centric strategy has always been an integral part of his business plan – one that has paid dividends, and still does. And it’s no wonder, when their mission is to make Amazon “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company”.
Know the Basics and Ask the Right Questions
To identify new, you have to know the now. Before building any type of plan for acceleration, it’s important that you take the time to develop a basic understanding of what you already have. As a leadership team, take a step back from your day-to-day, and map out your current revenue process – highlighting any which are underperforming, or not-performing at all. Ask yourselves some critically honest questions that challenge the company’s focus. For example: Is our company focused enough on the right moneymaking products or services? How big a share of the market do we own and what is the potential? How can we further monetise what we are already doing?
Start from the Ground Up
While you’re mapping out your business’ current landscape, you may want to consider mapping out your Ideal World strategy – regardless of current bottom-line balances, workforce demands, outstanding invoices. You may want to lock yourself away just for a moment to draw up your ideal – and that usually starts with Strategy. For a moment, forget your current structure and focus on what you are trying to achieve. To do this, you’ll need to contemplate the following:
- What’s your sales strategy?
- How are you going to market?
- What market opportunities or weaknesses are you going to exploit?
- What competitors are you going to take out?
- What new markets are you going to penetrate?
- What industry changes are you going to leverage, etc?
Your strategy needs to align itself with your revenue goals because without a solid strategy, there’s no hope of achieving your revenue goals. The more you start to flesh things out in this “Perfect World” scenario, the more you will start to identify opportunities to exploit. And your questioning now turns toward:
- Where do we see areas to exploit?
- What opportunities are presenting themselves?
- Where are there latent revenue generating windows?
- Where is the competition failing?
- What is our current customer base doing?
- What market dynamics have changed?
While focussing on your business of today is important, neglecting to look ahead could be the final blow for any proposed structural or strategic change to drive revenue and accelerate your growth. Maximise your core business, but make sure you are also focussing on where your business is headed, and evaluate whether your business (either in its current form, or within the strategy you’ve planned) is set up to perform. Are you positioned well enough to take advantage of future business opportunity? Do you have the right teams in place to flex with the demands of a changing market. Does your infrastructure and company culture support change and are they ready to adapt as and when opportunity arises? In our own experience, we’ve seen many organisations that, despite having the best intention and fool-proof growth strategy, have been irrevocably held back simply because their outdated infrastructure and the technology which underpinned most of their internal processes, simply didn’t have the right agility to handle change. The sacrifice ended up being much bigger than the discomfort of change.
Review your People Strategy
Probably the number 1 cause of strategic failure is simply not having the right team in place to execute. And that covers anyone from the management team through to the person that answers the phone in reception. Sadly, this most important aspect of business is also often the most overlooked one – as organisations are fixed simply on the numbers. Without the right people in place, who feel engaged, involved and part of the strategy, your plan will stay exactly as it is; a plan, not a result. This is a good time to review:
- Do you have the right people in the right roles?
- Does the team have the right skill sets?
- Do they have the necessary knowledge?
- Is the team performing at the level required to be successful?
- Can you measure the strength of your team in relationship to your strategies?
- Do you even know what skill sets are required to be successful in each of the roles in your organisation?
- Do you have the right culture in place that supports what you are trying to achieve?
- Does your team take ownership and responsibility that contributes towards your strategy?
But it goes further than that. Often it is not the case of simply having weak or disinterested people in your business, but a case of people not having the right skills, experience or understanding. Very few companies have a culture where people feel free to mention their shortcomings – even less encourage people to be open about this. That’s where we come in. CFPro Ventures and our Partner Network can help with role-specific coaching. Our people are not interested in taking over the role full-time. We simply want to help you to become the best you. And that starts with your people.
Do your research
Sometimes you have to do more than simply rely on what your customers are saying. Very often, it’s in the unspoken that the true signs of market fluctuations and behaviour lie. How are they buying? Why are they buying? With advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to identify purchase behaviour in your market, and uncover trends that may have you falling short of where you are headed. Understand why they’re not buying from you and what you need to do to convince them otherwise.
For many organisations, attracting and retaining new customers underpins most of their sales strategy at the moment, while their CRM systems contains lists and lists of dormant, or inactive customers that once believed in their business, but have somehow fallen by the wayside. Unless you change your offering, that trend is not going to change, and the customers you are working so hard to attract today, will become the dormant records of tomorrow. Breaking that cycle starts by adding value – reasons for any and all of your customers to continue building a relationship with you, and your products and services, reasons for them to keep coming back to your organisation, reasons for them to continue choosing you, and not your competition. Adding value is a great opportunity to lure back old customers that have long since forgotten about you. Offering them new promotions and opportunities that once again spark interest in what you are doing, offering them suggested complimentary products based on their past purchase history.
Sales strategies can no longer rely simply on the direct – but require lateral partnerships and acquisition that build reputation, penetrate new markets and build new revenue opportunity. For many organisations, that means building a networked ecosystem that connects to other businesses also focussed on growth. Whether this be through referral schemes, or additional promotional opportunity, considering a partner channel may bring revenue opportunities that simply didn’t exist before. But, to keep consistent with your core focus, you want to find partners that are the right DNA fit to your organisation – believe in your core values, and who will represent your brand and service as you expect them to.
Uncover the Mediocre
In a recent working example of business turnaround published, we discussed the pitfall of leaving an underperforming, beneath-the-radar, revenue stream unattended – and the value loss that represents to your organisation. We have been helping organisations for many years to re:focus their activities – strategic repositioning, corporate structuring, improved productivity and regaining profit share. For many of our clients, however, it’s not always a case of saving them from distress, but more so to uncover un-productivity and value-loss, and changing course towards profit.
If you’re ready to uncover the mediocre and reignite lurking revenue streams, then you need the right team on your side. We’ve done this for others and we’d love to speak to you about doing the same for your business. Here’s how to get in touch with us.