While listening to a "Great Courses" business book on marketing, I was introduced to the Ansoff matrix. It's a simple 2x2 matrix that intersects customers, new and existing, with products, new and existing. I wanted to talk about the Ansoff matrix as it relates to my personal business offerings. I'd encourage you to repeat the exercise for yourself.

+----------+-------------+-----------------+
|          | Existing    | New             |
|          | Customers   | Customers       |
+----------+-------------+-----------------+
| Existing | Market      | Market          |
| Products | Penetration | Development     |
+----------+-------------+-----------------+
| New      | Product     |                 |
| Products | Development | Diversification |
+----------+-------------+-----------------+

If you decide to sell existing products to existing customers, this is market penetration and is the lowest risk approach if you can pull it off. I encourage those who attend my training sessions or watch my video-on-demand to sign up for more. These are customers who have already seen the quality of my work and are likely to return.

Selling existing products to new customers is market development, which requires more effort but may open up new markets you didn't consider before. This includes promotional campaigns for a popular technical book I wrote years ago, which no sane person would buy twice. This attracts new readers.

If you decide to develop new offerings for existing customers, this is product development, which carries greater risk as it is hard to forecast whether customers will buy it. In early 2019, I converted a traditional book into "book as code" with tooling that I pioneered. I also recorded a YouTube video on its creation. The book already had about 50,000 readers and I was targeting the same people.

Last, developing new products for sale in new markets is called diversification and is the riskiest move of all. Think of General Motors trying to sell chocolate bars. When I entered the network automation space and started creating open-source tools, it was completely new territory for me. Both the code and my knowledge of the network automation market was limited at the time. This turned out to be both a wise business and personal decision.

The goal of the Ansoff matrix is not to do all four, but to choose one. Sometimes it is appropriate to choose a different strategy for each offering as I attempted to do. I experimented with different things because I wanted to learn. Figure out your best path for business growth and aggressively pursue it.

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