Continuing our series on ways in which you could possibly improve the results of your business. Today, I’d like to suggest you study trends in the marketplace as an indicator of possible new business opportunities for your business. I also suggest that you look beyond your normal market sector to give you a chance of finding something new, novel, or original which you could bring to your marketplace. If you can do so it will give you a chance of being a market influencer, or at least it will reduce the number of competitors.
A practical way to study trends is to read business and trade magazines which feature well-researched articles on market developments, rapid growing businesses, and successful entrepreneurs. In many ways this process resembles research and development tailored to the limited resources available to most small business. Accept that many of the ideas, developments, or individuals will not be applicable to you and your business but hidden somewhere amongst that information is your new business. In every research and development exercise many concepts are rejected to find the gem which becomes the market winner.
As an example of this process I’d like to suggest you study the current edition of ‘40 under 40’ within Fortune magazine. You will see Nate Nanzer, who is the Commissioner of Overwatch League, featured as one of the 40 under 40. Nate is going to manage a new business trend whereby people watch other people playing video games, esports. That might seem like a very odd thing to do. However, spectator sports are very big business. Just think of golf, football, tennis, or Formula 1 racing. This new esports franchise generated $1 billion of revenue for the parent company, Activision Blizzard, in its first year of operation. Surely that marks a trend worth studying.
The next question is how could you make money from this esports trend? Think about how other spectator sports provide business opportunities. For example, a local cafe or bar should be able to negotiate screening license for this new spectator sport. Advertised in the same way as the screening for football, this new Overwatch League is certain to attract some customers to spectate and enjoy the crowd atmosphere. Food and drink sales go together with spectator sports and friends.
Big spectator sports always generate merchandise opportunities and esports is aiming to replicate that same commercial success. That is another opportunity for small local businesses to expand their product or service range by incorporating the esports merchandise.
If you aim to expand your digital footprint, then esports looks like a natural choice to feature because many of the spectators will be comfortable with social media. By featuring articles about esports, including the games, the players, the venues, the results, and the merchandise, your website and social media pages are likely to draw attention and create discussion. That is a good starting point for expanding your online business activities.
Nothing in business is certain, but following trends, especially one like esports, which is growing so rapidly, increases the chances of finding a new or novel way to expand your business and improve the trading results.
Watch Your Numbers for clues
As we always recommend, keep a close eye on your numbers. They should tell you whether the new marketing initiatives are working or not.
In a small business, you can start by modifying your bookkeeping process to capture the required sales and marketing expense data when each transaction is processed. You will want to avoid the cost and complexity of custom-made sales and marketing software.
Next, configure your bookkeeping software to automatically produce the KPI dashboard, action alerts, and management reports to show how your numbers are changing as each new feature is added to your product or service range.
You must expect to evolve through a trial and error development process. The numbers must be your definitive guide to alterations and eventually to future expansion.
Happy to help
At ad+ we are always happy to meet ambitious business owners to share our expertise in designing information and management systems.
Get in touch with David Charles to arrange your initial discussion with one of our Chartered Accountants to learn how we could help you transform your business.