Most entrepreneurs do not know when to modify, branch out or diversify when it comes to their businesses. They remain glued to the primary focus of their businesses even when it is necessary for them to modify, branch out or diversify. It is important for the management—or founder—of a business to know when an era has ended. In the nineties, those secretaries who didn’t see that the era of typewriters had ended lost their jobs to young and vibrant secretaries-turned-personal assistants (PA) who mastered the use of computers.
Same goes to some camera producing companies—don’t want to mention brands or names—who didn’t see the innovation of mobile phones produced with too-good-to-believe-mega pixels. When was the last time you took a digital camera to a picnic? Sorry, it is the era of selfie when you simply hold your phone a little bit above your head and of course blow yourself a kiss with a sharp click of the menu button.
Companies like Samsung—sorry I needed to mention the brand—knew when to metamorphose, modify and branch out. It started as a trading company selling dried fish, locally grown groceries and noodles. Did I just say dried fish? Yes, I’m right. But I bet you probably know the company for the sleek smart phone in your hands.
Now, how do you know when to modify, diversify, branch out or completely flush your primary product or service down the drain. Here are the signs to watch out for:
When a new era is fast approaching, then it is a time to start looking for the opportunities that are available for your business. An era will always leave for another to come. Just like we are presently in the information intense or call it the social media era. It will be madness to start thinking of setting up a terrestrial TV house when you can create another or compete with Netflix. It will be another madness to start setting up a hardcopy newspaper house when everyone is reading from their mobile phones and other digital devices. Very soon, the era of hardcopy books and newspapers will be gone forever. Trust me, it will.
When your primary product or service isn’t doing well in the market, then you need to either modify or branch out. But before you do, make sure the management of the business is doing what is necessary. Check the 4 important areas (Production, Marketing, Delivery and Administrative) of your business if they are working on autopilot. If one of them is not, then fix it before you think of modification or branching out. But if they are intact, then it is either you have saturated your market or you have suddenly becoming boring. If you have saturated your market, branch out into another industry. If you have suddenly becoming boring, innovate and recapture your audience.
When something is trending, don’t be left out. When you see where all the people are moving toward or they are talking about something or getting involved in an activity, don’t sit back and watch. That is foolishness. Get in the bandwagon. Assign a team to study what is trending and how your business can leverage on it. These days everybody is ganging-up on IG, why isn’t your business on that platform either to reach your market or create something for your audience? When something is trending, there are opportunities hidden in it. Don’t wait another day, find and grab the opportunities.
When your instinct tells you to branch out, do it. This may sound crazy, but most times, your instinct is 100% right. When your gut feeling wants you to branch out, then do it. But don’t just jump into it, research into what you are about to get into. Have a good understanding of the industry. Write a business plan for what you are about to do. Find small players in the industry and see if you can partner with one of them. If not, then take the bold step, step in and shake-up the industry.
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, the founder of BusinessIQ magazine. He is a Business Development Consultant with over a decade of experience. He is the business management facilitator for Simplinteriors School of Entrepreneurship and a regular contributor to Business Day National Newspaper.