There are two ways to increase profits in your business. One is to cut back on expenses by adjusting your budget, downsizing, working with less expensive materials, etc. The other is to add new revenue streams.
You can see immediately which of these choices is preferable; yes, sometimes your company may have to adjust its spending, but in the long run it is always better to grow than to condense. With that in mind: as we prepare for a new calendar year, here are a few ways to add new revenue streams to your business for 2014.
1. Create a new product
Who are the people most likely to buy from you? Current customers, of course! It’s hard to sell to your company’s biggest fans if you don’t have anything new to offer. Start 2014 off right by introducing a new product in the first quarter. Look for a hole in your current product catalog — Is there a price point you’re not hitting? An add-on or accessory you could create? — and fill the gap with something new.
2. Reach out to a new market
You’ve probably already done the work to identify the target market for your product. Is there a market adjacent to those customers who might also enjoy what your company has to offer? Keep in mind that new markets always require new marketing strategies. What problem does your new market need to solve, and how does your product solve that problem?
3. Get your wares in the stores
Building your online presence certainly helps increase sales, but having your product featured in an end-cap display at a brick-and-mortar retailer is often just as beneficial. The people who buy your product in stores are a distinct group from the people who buy online; they’re less likely to follow you on social media, for example, but they still may be interested in your product. You’ll never know until you try.
Start at your level. If you don’t yet have the power to get your product into a Walgreens or a Safeway, get it featured in your mom-and-pop market or your locally-owned bookstore. Remember that presentation counts; invest in custom pop displays to show off your wares and make shoppers take notice.
4. Meet new fans at conventions and trade shows
Buy a few extra pop displays and use them to show off your products at conventions and trade shows. At a convention, the people literally come to you — often thousands of them every day. They’re also all interested in what you have to sell; otherwise, why would they be at the Health and Beauty Expo or the Future of Tech Convention? It’s your job to capture their interest and sell your product, but with the right savvy, conventions and trade shows can be an excellent additional revenue stream for your business.
5. Invest in affiliates
Affiliate promotion is coming back, after being an extremely popular method of link sharing a decade ago. Originally, “affiliates” would simply incorporate a product link into a blog post in exchange for a few pennies on any sale derived from that link. Now, affiliate promotions are much more savvy, with local retailers proudly announcing that they are “affiliated with” a particular product or brand.
Do you know someone in your field who might be interested in affiliating with your product? Look for someone with a lot of visibility, either online or in person. Then start building a relationship that could lead towards a product affiliation. When it works, your affiliate funnels you a brand-new revenue stream for your product.
These are only a few ways to bring new revenue streams into your company, but they’re here to help get you thinking about possibilities. Remember: when you need to increase profits, it’s always better to grow than to cut back. Growth is the only way to build a sustainable business.