Entrepreneur: Your opening act was a success. What do you have for Act II?

Success in business is a moving target, and today the target is moving more quickly than ever before:

  • Competitors push the target further away.
  • Changes in technology move the target to one side or the other.
  • Consumer preferences and demographics evolve, changing the size and shape of the target.

We talk about having a laser-like focus on implementing your business plan, but if that laser focus doesn’t have any peripheral vision or limits your ability to look further down the road, you can find yourself in big trouble after having successfully piloted a startup or small business to a profitable beginning.

Let me give you a common scenario. You’re first with a new product or service, or a fresh approach to an existing product or service. If you’re successful, prospective competitors will soon be hatching their plans. And, since you’re doing well in your lane, they’ll be looking for the “next thing” that will be more appealing to your customers. In other words, rather than compete with you directly, the smart competitor will try to find ways to do what you’re doing but do it better somehow.

Therefore, you need to go into any new business with plans to protect your position and your financial structure. Of course, a major component of this is to be constantly improving your core offering. In addition to that, you need to start any entrepreneurial project with a list of items that will be your “next big thing.”

Some of the software as a service and app developers are excellent at this. Let me give you an example.

I use ThriveLeads on my WordPress website. It was a major product of Thrive Themes when I first adopted their software. I thought it was one of the better choices for creating opt-in forms. The core mission of ThriveThemes is converting website visitors.

Since their initial offerings – A WordPress opt-in plugin and template themes – the company has expanded by adding a Content Builder, its Landing Pages app and templates, a quiz builder, and recently Thrive Architect, a WordPress visual editor.

You don’t have to be in the technology sector to have these kinds of plans and strategies. Retailers can always experiment to find ancillary products that will complement their legacy core and even one day replace it.

Traditional service providers can do it as well. A one-person house cleaning operation can expand to clean rentals, homes going up for sale, and commercial properties. However, don’t think that this merely means adding more services to your brochure or business card. Expanding into these related service areas would take a different approach to marketing. More is required than just saying you service landlords with their rental properties.

Let me add one more note to this that is specifically directed to one group of entrepreneurs. If you’re thinking about pursuing investors, they will be keenly interested in what your follow-on plans are after you get your initial operation up and running. If you can’t show that you have the ability to see beyond the immediate horizon, they will be reluctant to believe your project holds the promise of sustainable success.