Patterns & Insights
Dimensions of a Growth Strategy
I love art, so I sometimes take liberties with analogies related to art and business, because the visual often serves as an amazing source for igniting my own creativity and even prompting solutions when problem solving. Many of you may be familiar with M.C. Escher, and as such, you know that he was fascinated with creating unique studies of perspectives and that he used perspective playfully in many of his drawings and etchings such as the one featured below titled “Relativity.”
Escher once was quoted as saying, “Only in our imagination do we live in more than two dimensions, and with its help we attempt to enliven the flatness of our image with depth. . -M.C. Escher
Engaging the imaginations in multiple dimensions as a business team considers new growth strategies is both possible and necessary to create value and differentiate the solutions in the marketplace. Businesses, small and large, face unprecedented challenges to remain viable and unique to a client base with increasing options and access to those options. As a company explores where and how they are going to seek growth for their business, there is often a tendency to immediately consider a few tried and true “dimensions”. These dimensions are valuable for consideration, make no mistake, but sometimes if the only dimensions explored, can result in limiting the possibilities.
Typically, a company (large or small, the principals are the same) seeking a new growth strategy will often begin to explore some basics around how the products they make are being sold to which targeted customer segments in the marketplace.
Typical and useful questions are posed and considered such as:
- Today we sell Product A to Segment 1, what if we embarked on a marketing and sales initiative to target Segment 2 as well?
- Today we sell Product A to Segment 1, what if we embarked on a development/acquisition initiative, to create/acquire Product Y to sell to Segment 1?
- Today we sell Product A to Segment 1 at a segment penetration of X%, what if we lower our price in order to further penetrate Segment 1?
All well and good, and even sometimes sufficient enough to ignite growth, but what if you expand the dimensions considered? How do you engage the imaginations, brainpower and innovation of your team to “enliven the flatness” of the potential growth solutions to use Escher’s terms? Some considerations that could add dimensions and are very worthy of consideration could also include:
- Identifying potential strategic partnerships that round out your current“offer” from the customers’ needs perspective,
- Not just lowering price, but actually giving away elements of the offer previously charged for (features, add-ons) while creating a completely different pricing structure all together,
- Drastically changing the way you reach out and “touch” your prospective clients through a new distribution model or a broader partner eco-system,
- Making a “ruckus in your industry” (using ideas from recent Seth Godin blog) such as turning a product into a service or vice versa, and other ideas he suggests.
The point of course is to expand the dimensions considered in your brainstorming to find new ways to differentiate your company and delight your prospective customers in support of growth! What other additional new “dimensions” to your strategy might be worth consideration? How can you engage the imagination of your team to develop a new business model, create a new go-to-market, or do a little of both to grow your business?