How to Grow Your Customer Base

by Victor Cheng

Seth Godin explains the “buffet dilemma” as a central obstacle to growing the size of your customer base. Buffets can generally please a majority of the population but to add new customers, they need to invest in less typical fare.

Or do they?

Godin argues that doubling down and adding more fare does nothing but grow your audience and fails to bring in new business. What about the vegans, the dieters, the kosher eaters? One disenfranchised person in a party of six keeps them all from going in.

The solution says Godin, is much deeper and a bit wider.

Deeper means more bacon, more chocolate, more cake, more everything. Wider on the other hand, means adding a handful of dishes that mildly please the existing customer base while opening the doors for others – like brown rice, tofu, or vegetarian chili.

Focusing on widening your customer base is smart because customers often come in groups, each individual with a different want or need.

Try to apply the buffet analogy to your business and ask yourself, am I focusing on new customers or simply pleasing the one’s I already have? Hopefully the answer is both.

Seth Godin: Deeper or Wider?

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