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One thing that the COVID-19 crisis has definitely taught business owners, is that the diversification of revenue streams is crucial to long-term commercial sustainability. This is because, by never relying solely on one product, market or service, the risk of failure is spread and thus reduced significantly. After all, you never know when one of these streams will suddenly stop flowing – or be blocked – amid a new iteration of lockdown regulations.

So, for business owners looking to mix things up and diversify their offerings, here are five tried-and-tested ways to create additional revenue streams:

1. Launch complementary products

Regardless of your industry or profession, there are always add-on products and services that can forge a new stream of revenue. A simple example of this is how a yoga studio owners may sell exercise mats and workout clothes outside their studio, or how a florist will stock vases and flower food. So begin by examining your current service offering and brainstorming what products could potentially complement this offering.

2. Offer online courses

With people spending so much more time at home these days, online courses have really taken off – and not just for traditional educators. Everybody from chefs and creatives, to business specialists are taking their knowledge online and sharing it with eager industry peers. Luckily, there are websites and programmes that make the course development process as simple as possible, and while developing the actual content may be time consuming at first, it can be recorded and reused countless times – making this a potentially lucrative revenue stream over the long-term.

3. Host industry webinars

If creating an online course seems like a bit much, why not host industry webinars? You can invite other specialists in your industry to contribute, or even facilitate a roundtable discussion or debate that focusses on current issues impacting businesses in your sector. Not only is this a great way to create an additional revenue stream (by charging attendees a fair price), but these sort of events also help in reaching new customers or clients.

4. Begin consulting

As with online courses and industry events, consulting is an excellent way to leverage your professional experience and know-how to generate more income outside of your core offering. And along with creating an additional revenue stream, assisting industry peers by means of consulting will also build your reputation and brand authority, and could set up some good future client leads.

5. Ask your customers

If none of the above options sound like they’d work for your business, why not look for ideas from the people who count – your customers. Start by looking through past reviews and client interaction, to see if anyone has ever asked for something that you currently don’t offer, and consider adding it. There’s also the option of creating a customer survey or running a competition to obtain feedback from your current clients on what they would like to see from the company in the future.

About the Author: Jeremy Lang

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Jeremy Lang has been our Regional General Manager since 2013 and was recently appointed to the Board as Executive Director. He is also responsible for the overall management of the Inland Business Unit whose investment activity spreads across Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo, and North West Provinces. He has more than 14 years’ experience in the funding and support of SMEs. Jeremy is our go-to-spokesperson for all things business finance and growth, and business leadership articles.