Erica Wolfe-Murray : The Foremost Five


It always strikes me how easily we overlook opportunities for expanding and developing our businesses because we’re so focussed on our existing model.  Yet with widening our thinking, making small tweaks to contracts, to how we charge, we can develop new ways of finding new markets, earning additional revenues or identifying hidden value.


One helpful approach I work through with clients I call the ‘foremost five’ – the five areas of prime opportunity. I’ve broken each one down below but they also feature in my book.


What can you offer your Past & Existing clients?


These are the people and companies who’ve already paid you. They love who you are, what you do.  What else can you offer them?  How else can you package what you know and do?  It may be that you can’t rework your contracts with them but how can you help them build their businesses?


Future Clients : a new model?


When you pitch for business or start working with a new client, think about how you structure your offer and contract. Is there an opportunity to charge differently – by project rather than by day? If you are helping bring in clients or to win funding for them – can you add a lifetime value clause or commission fee into your payment terms?  Can you retain ownership of your IP and licence it to them, with any revenues from further exploitation shared between you?


Branding development company Re, added a contract clause to their contract retaining ownership of any business development thinking. They had previously given away as part of their everyday work. This provided a new model of working and a different revenue stream.


Competitors – are you overlooking this market?


The idea of selling to competitors raises many eyebrows, but if you’ve solved a pinch-point for your company, through an app, a technique, a new material – it might have value to your competitors too.  Think about competitors as a market in its own right.


Freelance animator Dave Legion struggled with his tax every year, so developed FCA & HMRC approved tax calculation/online filing app Taxo’d, directly aimed at the freelance market.


New Buyers – who are they?


Every industry has new entrants, disruptors, challenger brands… Have you identified who these new potential targets could be for you?  If they are pushing into a market fast – they may welcome new and different commercial terms, inventive thinking around how you can work with them.


Corporate gift company Pod Packaging used recycled aluminium products extensively in its core business.  With the increasing need for sustainability, it now offers aluminium packaging consultancy and refillable products to companies like Planet Organic.


And then what about a New Audience?


This frequently gets confused with ‘new buyers’, but in reality it’s very different.  When I encourage companies to look for a new audience – I point to the people walking past in the street and ask ‘what can you sell to them, to her, to him’.  Business-to-business companies may never have asked themselves this question, but by making a small tweak to a product, a training programme or packaging something differently – you might open up a whole new audience.


One day I realised my innovation and business growth methodology worked as well for freelancers and micro companies as for my existing B2B clients. This led to me launching my book Simple Tips, Smart Ideas: Build a Bigger Better Business so everyone could use it. Now it is stocked in Foyles and on Amazon. Have you got something similar you could launch to the consumer?


Review what your business offers against the foremost five on a regular basis.  What new markets can you find?  What new opportunities present themselves?  Think about what you do, what you make, what you have and be brave about finding new ideas to generate new and different revenues.


By Erica Wolfe-Murray


‘A leading innovation and business expert’ according to, Erica Wolfe-Murray works with companies across the creative, cultural and tech sector to help them develop new products and services, find new revenues and audiences.  She is also the author of ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’ aimed at helping companies transform their business and develop greater commercial resilience.  Available from Foyles, Amazon and all good booksellers.



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