15 Questions To Ask Before Expanding Your Product Line


As your company grows, it’s natural to consider expanding its offerings. When done correctly, launching a new product or service can increase revenue and entice new customers. However, jumping into a new launch without consideration—of your current audience, your business itself and the market as a whole—can be detrimental in the long run.

If you’re debating expanding your product line, first ask yourself these 15 questions, shared by the members of Forbes Business Council.

1. Is The New Product Consistent With The Current Brand?

Ask yourself if the new product offering is consistent with your current brand and target audience. If not, it could confuse buyers about who you are and who you serve. A new product that aligns with your current target market and offers them more options can be a great way to build both your brand and your sales. – Jamie Trull, Balance CFO LLC

2. What Is The True Investment?

What is more important, revenue or new clients? For increased revenue, one may want to add a new product line that can be upsold to existing clients. For new clients, one may want to offer an existing product line in a new territory or use a new partnership or channel to sell the existing product. One must look at the true investment of adding a new product and must always start with a small pilot. – Lalit Bakshi, USEReady


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3. What Offers Customers The Most Value?

When debating how to expand our product line, we ask ourselves what will give our customers the most value. We also apply a layer of questions that reside in values. Would expansion help customers bridge the divide between intentions and outcomes? Would it give data clarity that helps employers confidently make decisions to scale faster and reach their full potential? – Thanh Nguyen, OpenComp

4. Will It Grow Current Customers’ Loyalty?

Make sure that expanding the business’s current offering can increase existing customers’ lock-in and defensibility of the business. It is far better to grow current customers’ loyalty first than focusing on easy money from new customers who can still easily switch to competitors’ products when the going gets tough. – Georgi Putra, Gravel Inc.

5. Will The New Product Fulfill Needed Demand?

First of all, you need to ask yourself if there is a demand for your company that you cannot fulfill with the current product line. If the answer is no, you should not expand it yet. If the answer is yes, the second question is if increasing the revenue by adding a product line will help you achieve where you want to go. It all depends on the destination you want to go. – Yuzuru Ishikawa, Globalcube Limited

6. What Is Driving The Desire?

Entrepreneurs should always go back to basics when they reach a strategic crossroads like this. They have to ask what is driving their desire to add a product. Is it fulfilling an important need for their customer? Does it align with the core focus of your business, or might it distract from who you are and what you’re truly good at? – Dustin Snyder, Wayforward Associates

7. How Will Expansion Affect The Rest Of The Business?

In determining whether to expand your current product line, look to gross margin, of course—but also consider how the expansion will affect other aspects of the business. Will you need to expand the team? Will you need to expand space or buy additional equipment? Will it affect current customer or vendor partner relationships? Does it jive with your brand, and what does it do to the bottom line? – Joan McKinney, Aurora Exhibit Solutions, Inc.

8. Will It Help Future-Proof The Business?

With markets and technology constantly evolving, the key focus of all business owners should now be future-proofing their business to enable flexibility for scale. One needs to successfully meet the demands of the market while enabling the growth of the business. Focusing on optimizing what you do today and building what you can do for tomorrow will ensure success for your business. – Jay Kulkarni, Theorem Inc.

9. Does It Solve An Important Problem?

One necessary step every entrepreneur should take when debating whether to expand a product line is asking whether it will solve an important problem that the industry faces. If the answer is yes, the next steps are to surround yourself with a supportive team, do plenty of research and determine the best approach to expand in a scalable, profitable way. – Robin Gregg, RoadSync

10. Does It Align With Customers’ Needs And Wants?

Nowadays, building relationships with your clients should be at the core of your business activities for long-term continuous growth. This dynamic will give you better insight into your customers’ needs and wants. Product expansion should be based on this and not primarily driven by profit. – Ildeme Mahinay Koch , DE MOI® by Demee Koch

11. Will It Impact Productivity?

When expanding your product line, it is crucial to first consider your company’s core infrastructure. Consider how your support teams function and how bringing in a new product line would affect productivity. One of the most common ways a business fails is by expanding too quickly without first considering the day-to-day changes necessary to incorporate the additional workload and processes. – Mo Mostashari, AMIBA Consulting

12. What Effect Will It Have On Overall Profitability?

It’s important to consider the effect of expanding product lines on overall profitability. Will it be an opportunity to cross-sell or will the new product line be competitive and cannibalize the sales of existing products? Finding the right product mix will come from a strong understanding of one’s market and customers, and will ultimately mean maximizing profits. – Roshni Wijayasinha, Prosh Marketing

13. Will It Contribute To The Company’s Core Purpose?

Consider whether the expansion will take away from the core purpose you are looking to serve with your company. Often, expansion decisions result in dilution—they not only dilute the brand in front of customers, but they also dilute the sense of purpose that employees have within the company. This is the most important question to ask before any kind of investment is made in expanding one’s solutions. – Ujwal Arkalgud, MotivBase

14. Which Problems Can Be Stacked?

Do an exercise called problem stacking where you make a list of every challenge your customers are facing in life and then survey them so that you can better understand what matters most. Based on this newly defined prioritization list, you need to then assess which problems make sense for you to solve based on your current offerings so it’s a natural add-on or an upgrade. – Jared Yellin, 10X Incubator

15. How Will The Product Fit In The Ecosystem?

Think of your products like an ecosystem. Some products are an entry point into more products, some are your core products where most of your profit comes from, some complement your core products to make a complete solution and some products exist because you would be at a competitive disadvantage without them. What will the product do for you in the ecosystem? – Malinda Gagnon, Uprise Partners



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