When people seek to grow their business they usually look at doing it two ways:
1. They do more marketing.
The truth is, there is no more effective way to grow a business than increasing marketing efforts.
If your business is not rocketing along, it is almost always because you aren’t spending enough of your day learning and applying new marketing methods.
2. They introduce new products.
This method can also quickly grow a business. If you used to sell one product and now you sell two, then some people will choose that second product and some will choose both. Result? Increased sales. If your business isn’t growing as fast as you’d like, then simply think of ways you can introduce new products – you’ll usually get a quick uplift in profits.
But there’s another way of growing a business that very few people think of, and I’d like to focus on that today.
3. Change the distribution model.
By simply changing the way the product is delivered, you can unlock enormous wealth.
Let me give you an example.
Because I coach people all around the world on improving their business, I am often asked by entrepreneurs at social events to give them advice. (Lucky me!) Last week I was at a lunch and an owner of a vineyard in Napa Valley (USA) was complaining about how tough the wine business is.
They pointed out how hard it is to differentiate their wine from the other ten thousand wines available.
I totally agreed. But then I said something that really got them thinking.
I said that instead of trying to compete at the same level as all the other winemakers, they should just move to another distribution model.
I gave them two ways they could do this:
Firstly, they could create a new model where they sold shares in their winery for say $150. For this price someone who likes wine can actually achieve a dream – becoming a part owner of a winery.
As an owner, they could even have their name printed on every bottle they buy.
Now think about this for a moment. If you owned a share in a winery and had your name on the bottle, wouldn’t you buy a lot of that wine?
Of course you would. Think how cool it would be if at dinner parties if you brought your very own wine with your name on it! It would be very impressive.
The primary owner of that winery would get the upfront $150 which would help cash-flow enormously, then also get far more regular sales of the wine. You could even send shareholders a bottle a month (charging them an annual fee for this of course).
I also suggested a second way of changing the distribution model.
In America (and much of the world) the TV reality show ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ is a huge hit. In case you haven’t seen it, the shows follows a family around as they go about their lives, which are full of drama, tension and fun.
I told them they should do a deal with the Kardashians and produce a Kardashian wine.
It would appear at every meal they have on the show, their huge army of fans would buy it, it would get loads of press and many liquor stores would stock it just for the novelty.
Bottom-line: they’d sell a lot more wine.
Notice how neither of these ideas were about doing business as usual.
They were focused around how to change the business model by focusing on the distribution method- the first via getting people to ‘own’ the winery and the second by getting the Kardashians to expand the distribution to their fans, not just to the average wine lover.
So think laterally about your how your company can sell its wares.
If you’re in a market where it’s really tough to compete, then change the game. Move the battle to a new field, where you are the only player.
It takes guts, but it often works.