Sometimes, when you’re in business, you don’t see opportunities that can help grow your business to new heights. Finding closely related markets that you can “sidestep” into is often extremely cost effective, and opens up your business to new revenue streams. For example, if you own a residential cleaning business, can you offer carpet cleaning, or industrial building cleaning along with your residential services? If you own a bookstore, can you add greeting cards and a coffee bar to your store to bring in more buyers?

Here’s another example of sidestepping into another related business relatively seamlessly. Say you own a store that specializes in banners and flags, but you want to bring in other customers, too. You develop a side niche of locally themed games and trivia books to add to your products. You gain a reputation of being an expert on local history and folklore, and you add to your bottom line, while you sell a state flag here and there to your fans, too. Sidestepping allows you to identify items that closely resemble your own products and services, and costs far less than creating new product lines or developing other services. Just look for more potential, and look for what your customers are buying, and not buying.

How to Find Related Markets

You should identify all your prospects in the markets that you want to serve. For example, if you’re a plumber or electrician, you may concentrate on residential services. But what about industrial or commercial clients? Often, you can get the contract to maintain an entire building or group of buildings, which can add greatly to the success of your business. You also need to identify what kind of product users your customers are. Do they use a lot of your products, or only a few? Are they repeat customers or one-time consumers? Know your customers and their wants and needs to know how to market to them effectively. Do they buy from your competitors, and why do they buy from them? Is it because they offer better service, more choices, or lower prices? If you learn from your customers and competitors, you can learn how to recognize related markets and reap the profits from them.

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