Most business sectors are struggling to grow. As a results, CEOs and executive teams are under increasing pressure from Boards and shareholders to achieve sales and profit targets.

In any market, being number one or number two is vital to gaining the scale that generates profitable growth. So, if you are stuck in the pack, or worse, and face the possibility of more severe competition in the months and years ahead, what can you do about it?

One option is to redefine your market so that you can become the market leader and generate new growth opportunities. Take these examples:

  • Dyson accelerated its growth by redefining its market from vacuum cleaners to the ‘air movement’ business (hand-dryers, hair-dryers, air fans, heaters and purifiers);
  • Back in the 1990s, Ryanair succeeded when it decided to redefine itself from challenging BA and Aer Lingus in the full-service UK-Irish air travel market to becoming Europe’s #1 low-fare airline;
  • Steve Jobs transformed Apple Inc. when he shifted its focus from being a niche computer business to serving the far bigger and opportunity-rich personal technology, software and online services market;
  • Greggs has delivered dramatic and sustainable growth over the past 10-15 years by moving from the UK bakery market to becoming the customers’ favourite for food-on-the-go; and
  • Netflix grew (and transformed global entertainment) when the company shifted focus from being a DVD rental business to streaming content on-line.

The good news is that customer needs and priorities, technology, competitors and your own organisation’s skills are constantly changing. As a result, you need not be trapped by your existing market definitions. Redefining your market may be the catalyst for driving step-change growth for your business, enabling you to become number one.

Off The Record: Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

I did not believe the information

Just had to trust imagination

My heart going “boom-boom-boom”

“Son,” he said

“Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home”