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Increase your market share

    Increase your market share

    Every business needs to think about getting the most out of its marketplace. If you’re not increasing turnover every year, your business is shrinking in real terms.

    Many businesses simply try to pick up extra sales wherever they can. While this opportunistic approach can be effective in the early days, it is unlikely to sustain longer-term growth.

    There are several strategic options you can pursue to get the most out of your marketplace such as:

    selling more to existing customers
    focusing your customer service and marketing efforts on retaining customers
    expanding your customer base to include similar people who are not currently customers
    selling through new channels or into new markets
    using your core competences to create new products or services
    This guide describes methods you can consider to increase your market share and how to plan, manage and monitor the growth.

    Assess your customer base
    There are many ways to sell more to existing customers and potential customers like them. But before you start trying to maximise your market share, you need to make sure you understand how you are perceived by your customers.

    Work out the key questions
    The first stage is to address the core questions about who buys from you, how and when they buy. You need to be clear about:

    who your customers are
    what they buy
    why they buy
    how they buy
    who else could buy from you
    the typical budget of existing and new buyers
    where else they buy from
    See understand your customers’ needs.

    Position for the future
    Remember that the reasons customers buy from you now will not necessarily be the reasons they buy from you in six months or a year’s time. If you consider expected trends in customer behaviour and your market, you may be the first to exploit a niche and gain market share quickly.

    For example, how will your customers prefer to place orders? While they may prefer a phone call or face-to-face visit now, is there a trend in your market for online ordering? If you are one of the first businesses in your sector to offer the facility, you could gain significant market share.

    Predicted future developments in your marketplace could also provide significant opportunities for growth. For example, with the growth of home computing, IT support developed from a mainly business-to-business service to a larger customer base of consumers.

    Use your research to get as clear a picture of the future as you can. It’s often difficult to predict with certainty. However, the more you know about how your customers and market will look in the medium to long term, the more likely you are to successfully build your market share.

    You can use commercial market research to assess trends in your sector. See market research and market reports.

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