The digital economy has brought unprecedented opportunity for companies with a unique value proposition and a plan to scale it. But because the barrier to entry is so minimal these days, it’s ushered stiff competition regardless of the market a company operates within.
Any company looking to grow and get a leg up on their competitors needs to bring in more money. While profit is definitely the end goal, it’s hard to keep scaling profit without first untapping more revenue streams.
Here are seven ways to uncover new revenue streams and grow a business.
Keeping Customer Preferences at Forefront
Regardless of the industry a company operates within, improving customer experiences is at the forefront of the data revolution. It might seem obvious to suggest a company pay more attention to their customer’s preferences, but if it were standard practice, there wouldn’t be countless companies with gross revenue totals they can’t seem to improve. These companies scramble to improve their profit margin and end up hurting their revenue growth. But that’s inverted; find ways to generate more revenue and if you’re paying attention to your operating costs, your profit margin will improve as well.
According to Statista, the U.S. robotics market is estimated to be worth $500 billion annually. Some of this is attributed to the commercial market products like personal voice assistants and self-driving vehicles, however, customer service robots, supply line automation, and in the shipping realm, drones, offer big revenue-generating potential. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2028, nearly 40 percent of all packages will be delivered within two hours. Drone shipping innovation is a big reason why.
Business intelligence is nothing new, being leveraged as early as the 80s as a means of informing a company about their operational health. But modern business intelligence technology is a whole different animal. With platforms that can integrate with an organization’s entire data load to provide instant ad-hoc analysis through detailed data visualizations, companies no longer have to play the waiting game. Instead of hiring a team of data professionals and filling their workloads with report creation, modern business intelligence tools allow employees to access data directly, improving decision making, increasing productivity, and boosting efficiency across the organization.
Improve Employee Morale
We all know engaged employees are more productive than their unmotivated counterparts, but the data goes deeper than that. According to a 2017 Gallup Report, engaged employees are more present in their roles, and thus more aware of the efficiencies of day-to-day processes, standards and systems they work within. They’re also more cognizant of customer needs. Increased revenue is an indirect benefit of improved employee morale, but engaged employees are the ones most likely to come up with an innovative idea or a tweak to an existing issue, not checked-out ones.
Develop Partnerships, Acquire Smaller Companies Relevant to Your Future
It’s difficult for a company to get to a high-growth stage without leveraging additional companies’ expertise, so why not turn outward in efforts to grow? Developing strategic partnerships can be a huge boon to internal company initiatives. Granted the capital exists, acquiring a smaller company working on an exciting technology that aligns with your future growth is also a wise move. As noted above, competition is as fierce as ever, even if you’re doing OK in the present, if you’re not thinking long-term, you’re dust.
Improve Reverse Logistics
The internet’s convenience gave rise to the equally convenient e-commerce experience. But thanks to Amazon, many e-retailers aren’t loving their margins, and the culprit is reverse logistics. Reverse logistics involve costs related to the reuse of products and materials after reaching their final destination as a means of either capturing value (reselling them) or disposing of them (defective items). Consider that around 30 percent of e-commerce orders are returned compared to under 10 percent in brick-and-mortars. Any online store (or a brick-and-mortar looking to expand online) will benefit from an optimized reverse logistics supply chain.
Nobody wants to play copy-cat, especially with their competitors. However, it’s worthwhile to check up on what companies in your space are doing, how they’re experimenting and what’s working for them. It helps to form a relationship personally, too. Obviously this doesn’t work as well for two companies that are direct competitors, (i.e. they have the exact same customer and more or less the same product/service) but for companies in the same space with slightly different offerings, new tips and innovations can be shared and enjoyed by all.
Increasing revenue is an exercise in creativity. There have been countless companies throughout history that have offered similar concepts, yet, only a handful persevere to become industry leaders. Think of the above ways as a means to kickstart your own internal brainstorms, and remember: always think toward the future, otherwise you’re history.