Eddie Mugulusi, Founder at Fab Creations Ltd
(In the pictures; pouches of our condiments and two beverages yet to be launched).
For many years now I have been an ardent consumer of Fresh Diary yoghurt with Vanilla flavor being a favorite. Interestingly after so many years of Vanilla enjoyment, it appears I have taken on a new liking for newer flavors. So lately it has been mango, blue berries and of course the occasional vanilla. I’ll give it up to them, Fresh Diary has sure done a good job of keeping me engaged and loyal as a customer. Just like Fresh Diary, large brands have excelled at adding new products to their portfolios. Coca Cola as a company for instance began with just one product (cola) but has since expanded to more than 500 brands across the globe. This got me thinking, what is it these companies see that we ought to be paying attention to as small business owners?
From my experience doing business, I have come to understand that a company cannot survive on a single product given the competitiveness of today’s markets. Even if it appears you have a good thing going, you are bound to get competitors who can make the same product or render the same service cheaper, better or faster. Choosing to expand the product line is just one of the best ways to minimize this risk.
At Fab Creations, when we introduced our flagship product (Shake Ketchup) in schools, we gained a lot traction and our numbers soared quite fast thereon. In time we noticed that consumption of our Ketchup was mainly among the A-level and the Senior 4 students. The lower classes who made up a big percentage of the student population consumed regular tomato sauce from other manufacturers. They charged a lower price per unit than we did with the ketchup and they sold quite a lot. At this point we realized that in order to grow the Shake brand, increase our market share and revenues as well, we had to join the tomato sauce market. We had to expand our product line and we did.
Not long after we launched Shake tomato sauce and a little later also introduced Shake Appeta to tap into yet another student/consumer type. Our numbers jumped more than 50% with these new product releases. We understood that the more products we had, the greater our chances of reaching a wider student audience.
Product expansion was the thing to help us get a firmer grip of the school market and open our business to a new audience within the schools. In the months that followed we were able to sale more units to a lot more students. Their image of the Shake brand began to change.
According to Forbes, launching more and better quality products as part of a company’s product-development strategy makes it more visible and credible as a reputable brand. They advise that as you build your credibility, you also build brand recognition and loyalty. In this respect, before the closure of schools last year due to covid 19, it was increasingly becoming difficult for other brands to compete with us in the school market.
Today we are leveraging the same strategy in the nutritious juice market to grow our product line beyond Shake Enkooge (tamarind juice drink). We have consistently worked on a number of possible new products to bring to market and this process continues. It is important for you too to figure out ways of expanding your business offering. You could choose to introduce new versions of an already existing product just like Fresh diary introduced a number of new yoghurt flavors. You could also simply do upgrades to existing products which is what smart phone manufacturers do with each new smart phone version or you could add completely new products to your portfolio like we did when we introduced our juice brand away from the initial food condiment category.