3 unconventional revenue sources you should consider for your business

Haven’t you faced a situation of your existing sales channels becoming saturated? Or atleast you have struggled to generate enough sales from your network, social media promotion and other traditional revenue sources.

This is when you need to consider more than conventional sources to generate additional revenue for your business.

3 unconventional revenue sources for your business

In this article, I intend to discuss three unconventional, yet effective channels that could potentially become your highest revenue sources.

But before I start, you need to understand that these channels will not bring you a fortune overnight. It takes consistent effort to make the best out of them.

So here we go.

1. From business partners

You work with many business partners for supply of material, outsourcing services, consulting jobs etc. But have you seen them as a potential revenue source? If not, it’s time for you to.

The biggest advantage of using business partners to spread the word about your product or service is that, they give you access to a different set of target audience that you otherwise would not have been able to. And in most of the cases you incur little additional cost to promote your business through this channel, either because you are already paying for some of the resources required for promotion, or there is some benefit for the business partner as well.

This works the best when there is a revenue sharing model or exchange of benefits. Let us try to understand this with an example.

Assume you are a travel company. And you have outsourced your transportation services to a third party firm. Now how can you leverage the third party firm to generate more business for you?

Being a transportation services firm, they would be providing such services to other corporates as well. If you get into a mutually agreed partnership or joint venture, you would be able to tap into their existing customers to pitch your suite of travel services.

But what’s in it for the third party firm? They add more value to their customers by providing all travel services under one umbrella. Their customers need not approach a different vendor for their travel needs. They are more likely to get new customers as their portfolio looks better now. They will also earn more revenue in the form of commission.

So you get the idea here. The intention is to leverage your existing (or new) business relationships to generate more leads.

2. Unexplored markets

If you find that your existing markets are saturated, or there are too many players for you to get a decent share of the market, chasing unexplored markets is an effective way to grow your business.

However, this doesn’t mean launching your business in any market that doesn’t have competitor presence. You need to target those markets which could potentially grow into a gold mine of business opportunities for you. A lot of tech startups recently launched based out of southeast Asian markets is an example for this.

Depending on your industry and business domain, you need to find markets appealing to your products or services through market research. You could choose to hire a market research firm to do the feasibility analysis for you. Consider the following factors when you do the feasibility study:

  • Opportunity of growing customer base in the next few years
  • Consumer behavior and preferences
  • Presence of suppliers and local business partners to support your business
  • Competition – local or international – and how rooted they are
  • Cost of launching your business and ROI.
  • A PESTEL analysis (analysis of political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors)

In such markets with very low level of penetration, the barrier to entry is usually very low. That makes it even easier for you to establish your business in a shorter period of time.

3. Productizing your services/vice versa

With limited resources, there are only a few products and services you can build in a given period of time, unless you are a giant with billions of dollars to spend on R&D and product development. So how can you generate more revenue without a significant additional investment?

The solution is to extend your portfolio by productizing your services. This means converting your services into products through slight modifications and packaging them better. Let us try to understand this through an example.

Consider an IT company which has built an in house platform for implementing automation. It is completely homegrown and independent of any third party tools. But they are not selling it as a separate product, instead they are offering the platform to customers as a part of their managed services construct.

In the above example, the IT company can create a new revenue source by selling the platform as an independent product. They just need to do some rebranding around it.

Similarly if you have a product that you are already selling, building services around it is an effective way to earn more business from existing customers and acquire new ones. A company selling gift items online providing delivery services with custom messages is an example for such.

By extending your suite of products or services this way, you are establishing a new channel to generate more revenue for your business.

Those are my 3 best picks to increase your sales through unconventional channels. Are you already using any of these in your business? Let me know in the comments section.

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