Business Growth: The Power of Adjacent Markets

November 05, 2013

by Mark Paggioli

This post is the third in a series on the business growth opportunities that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can consider as they seek to increase top line revenue.

Those of you following our four-part series on business growth will remember that we began our discussion with the need to diversify the customer base and continued last week with a look at the ways that products impact revenue growth. Today we will discuss the need to find customers (and diversify the customer mix) through the identification of adjacent markets.

When you begin to think about enhancing the product mix, the first step is to clarify the specific needs your products meet for customers.  What problems are you solving?  With the answer in mind, it’s time to look at the markets that are adjacent to those end use applications and to look for prospects with similar problems.

Of course, the fastest way to realize quick business growth is to see what the competition is doing.  Are they serving markets that you aren’t?  Are they active in markets you’ve been considering? Please note: if you don’t know, now is the perfect time to establish a competitive intelligence regimen!

Although the temptation to follow a rival can be strong, it’s not always that simple.  First, there’s the matter of whether your products are a true fit for the market.  Can you be dramatically different in that new space?

When it comes to opportunity assessment, it’s all too easy to become paralyzed by the options at hand.  It can be helpful to think of it this way: if you were presented with two new market opportunities, but you only had the resources to pursue one, how would you score them in order to mitigate the risks and optimize the potential return?

Market opportunities lurking between the lines

One underutilized business growth resource could be the conversations that take place in your trade show booth.  When properly documented, even those that don’t become hot leads may offer opportunities for insight. Why not take a minute to revisit the leads from your last few shows?  There may be new market opportunities lurking between the lines.

These opportunities can extend beyond the booth as well.  If done with purpose, the insight gained by walking a show can yield real understanding of a new market: the problems that exist, the pricing protocol, the prevailing distribution channels, the primary players, and more.

Once you start to build a short list of potential markets to aid in business growth, it’s critical—especially for companies with a limited marketing budget—to use data to prevent jumping after a mismatch for your particular skills or product sets.  This includes understanding the pricing (Are you comfortable with the price points buyers expect to pay?) and production (Do you have the bandwidth to deliver the batch sizes and meet the delivery times they will demand?)

A well-measured market entrance may also require understanding the impact of new technologies (Are there disruptions underway, or just over the horizon?), materials (How experienced are you working with the kinds of processes that find traction here?), or regulation (Are there factors that stand ready to influence growth?)

With a short list in hand, take a brutally honest look at your product offerings.  CONNSTEP has the experience and ability to provide exploratory research on your prospective markets.  We can help you understand the drivers, the alignments, the risks, and the potential rewards.

It’s still not too late to begin the business growth planning process for 2014.  If you’re unsure of where to start your in-depth look at the interplay of growth factors in your business, consider CONNSTEP’s Business Growth Program. The program is designed specifically for small and midsize companies focusing on each of the four key elements of business growth.  Click here to learn more!


Missed the article and first two blog posts? Here they are:

Business Growth:  Strategies for Success in 2014

New Customers are Key

Optimizing Products & Increasing Awareness


CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

AGRussell logo

Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

Prev Next