After many years' hard work, a client of mine got his business up to several millions pounds of turnover; the company was profitable, cash positive, and ready to scale.
He asked me a classic question, one I'm often asked: "I'm feeling really bullish at the moment. We've developed a range of services around our core proposition, and we operate in several markets. We've got the resources to grow substantially, the wind is in our sails, what should we do: develop more services for the markets we're already in, or find more markets for the services we already offer? Come to think of it, what about new services for new markets?"
I answered "have you heard of Igor Ansoff?" He looked at me as if I'm nuts. I explained that Igor Ansoff is the man who wrote the book on strategic product marketing for growth. I added it isn't necessary to read it, just take a look at this website and then let's talk again.
This he did, and at our next coaching session, after discussions with his board, he came up with a clear strategy that suited his business.
The reality is there's no right or wrong around the order of play between Product vs. Market.
Each situation is different, and each company's management has a different attitude to risk (have you measured yours?), so each requires a strategy that's right for them.
What's essential though, is to have the best framework to assist with this crucial strategic question.
In my view, nobody beats Igor Ansoff in this area of business thinking.
He died in 2002, aged 84, after decades contributing to business management thinking. He's known as "the father of strategic management".
What a legacy. Thanks Igor.
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