Consider Expanding Your Customer Base

2 min read

Have you ever considered how many customer groups you can sell to?

Your current customers are probably not the only group interested in the products/services you have to offer or the kind of impact you are trying to create in society. It is quite likely that there is more than one type of customer that your social venture might sell to.

An education venture, for example, might consider selling directly to parents, schools, as well as alumni. A solar power company could experiment with selling its solar kits to local organisations such as schools and hospitals as well as directly to rural households.

Ventures very often settle on just one type of customer when there might be others that would be more suitable or equally interested. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to try and find out whether you have exhausted the customer base or if there are others that you could potentially sell to: 

  • How many other ‘customer groups’ could my venture be selling to?
  • Is there a group I haven’t thought of that might be more attractive?

To effectively explore your options take the time to brainstorm as many potential ‘customer groups’ that you can think of for your venture. Start with your beneficiaries, then write down as many related groups as you can think of. The aim here is not to select one group, but to come up with as many possibilities as you can. Once you’ve identified the alternative ‘customer groups’ go through each of them and write down next to each one what product/service you would be selling to that particular group. For each one, also decide what a selling campaign might look like.

Once you have completed the exercise above go through your list of potential ‘customer groups’ and rank their sales potential out of 5 (1= lowest, 5 = highest). For early-stage ventures, you want to start with the easiest customers first, such as starting with those that will help you generate revenue the quickest. If you’ve made an extensive list there is no need to try to do everything all at once, you can always add new customer groups later.

Investor Tip:

When you are analysing potential customer groups also consider the idea of calculating your estimated ‘cost of customer acquisition’ and have that figure ready for when you meet with investors. The ‘cost of customer acquisition’ refers to an estimate of how much on average it costs you to bring in one new customer, compared to how much income that customer will provide your venture over time.

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