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How to expand your IoT business

Out of the blocks

You’ve got your IoT business up and running. Congratulations! Many start-ups and small businesses fail early on in the journeys – to be operating successfully in the highly dynamic and highly competitive IoT sector is certainly to be commended.

By now you want to take things to the next level, expanding and growing. What next? Here are our top tips.

Choose your strategy

First things first – business growth depends on sales growth. And, broadly speaking, there are four basic ways of increasing your sales. You can simply sell more of your existing products or services to your current market – a market penetration strategy. You can sell more of your existing products or services, but to adjacent markets – a market development strategy. You can develop brand-new products or services to serve the same markets you already operate in – a product development strategy. Or you can develop brand-new products or services to target brand-new markets – often called a diversification strategy.

Each of these approaches has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own benefits and challenges. The strategy or strategies which suit your business best will depend on your own context. The key point is to actually choose and develop a strategy, since this will dictate your activities, your budget allocation and, in theory, what every member of your team is working towards. The good news is that the IoT is expanding so rapidly and diversifying so richly that there is typically space for organisations to try any one of these strategies.

“As we all know, the IoT is a crowded and fast-moving sector”

Clarify your brand

As we all know, the IoT is a crowded and fast-moving sector. Any business with serious growth ambitions in this space needs to have a clear message to present to its customers – both current and potential. And given the experimental roots of many IoT businesses, and how common it is for such businesses to change their focus after the first year or so, it is also common for young IoT businesses to suffer from a lack of clarity in their branding and marketing. Setting a new growth strategy is a great opportunity to look at your brand and consider whether it needs streamlining, consolidating or cleaning up.

Form partnerships

As we know, the IoT is fundamentally a collaborative ecosystem. Any IoT deployment typically requires input from multiple different businesses, from manufacturers f connected sensors or endpoint devices, to providers of wireless connectivity, to the developers of analytics platforms which make sense of all this newly-collected data. Then there are numerous businesses which provide vital augmenting services, such as specialist IoT security to protected connected devices from criminal interference.

All this means that IoT businesses can develop hugely fruitful relationships with each other. Partnering with complementary IoT businesses can open up rich new markets, as well as improving your own brand by positioning you alongside more established or well-respected IoT organisations. Much of the most exciting innovation in the IoT space is taking place through the collaborative work of two or more specialist organisations.

Be open-minded to mergers

You might think that this is only a consideration for very large and established organisations. But in fact, mergers and acquisitions can be a natural next step on from the partnerships outlined above. If it turns out that another business offers a fantastically complementary product or service to your own, and you can sell more and sell better by working together, might a merger of your brands be the best step for both businesses?

This is by no means a common growth strategy for young businesses, but it is certainly worth keeping an open mind. Once again, the highly dynamic and diverse IoT landscape means that this strategy can be a genuine possibility.