UACES Facebook Creating Jobs by Identifying Strategic Opportunities Part IV
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Creating Jobs by Identifying Strategic Opportunities Part IV

by Mark Peterson - March 16, 2018

This series has focused on opportunities to create jobs by starting with and leveraging the assets in your community, region, or business.  In this article, Part IV of our Creating Jobs Series, you will see a terrific tool for you to identify opportunities to create job using a very powerful tool – a Strategic Opportunity Matrix.  In Part I of this series described multiple small businesses that arose next to a national park, while Part II of this series included the Price Value Curve and how adding value to the assets of your community, organization, or business draws people and customers to your community.  Part III described how to harness the power of love by creating extraordinary experiences that people will remember forever.

The Strategic Opportunity Matrix shows new and existing customers on the vertical axis and existing and new customers on the horizontal axis.  We will start by exploring the opportunities in each quadrant.  Note that these strategies can apply to retail stores, tourist attractions, manufacturing operations, and other businesses or non-profits.

Strategic Opportunity Matrix

Quadrant I – Sell more of your existing products to your existing target


Possible strategies:

  • They already know you and trust you to purchase your goods, services, and experiences, so this has to do with keeping your community or business brand before them.  Keep them informed of what is happening and special offers or new developments. 

  • Each of your customers or target markets can be identified and reached through appropriate channels – the channels THEY USE on a regular basis.  Each has networks, associations, blogs, websites, meetings, conferences, and events that they participate in, as well as hubs that pull these together.  It is important to learn how best to reach them, then use those channels to keep them informed of what is happening and new offers.  Send them special offers, particularly for Christmas gifts, 4th of July, etc., as well as stories of how other customers have enjoyed your community or products.

Quadrant II – Sell existing products and services to new target markets.

            Possible strategies:

  • You already have products, services, and experiences that your customers so this is exploring who else might find what you have to offer valuable.

  • Some possible new market segments for you:
    • Selling your products and services to the public sector (the Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center can help with that – 501- 671-2390,
    • Exporting your products or services overseas, or attracting foreign visitors or foreign direct investment to your community.
    • Think about who else would enjoy your products, services, and experiences; this may include new geographic areas, different ethnic groups, or different age groups.

Quadrant III – Create new products and services for your existing customers.

Possible strategies:

  • They already know you and trust you to purchase your goods, services, and experiences, so this is discovering what your customers want and need.  Survey them – one on one or in some kind of group survey, but find out what they purchase from other sources, or are unable to find anywhere.

  • Find out what their biggest problem is or causes them the most pain, and address that.

  • What else can you provide, or partner with someone else, to provide?

Quadrant IV – Creating new products and services for new target markets.

Possible strategies:

  • You have certain products, services, abilities, and expertise you already use. What else could you create or produce?
  • Are there other uses for your products?  In Russellville AR, the owner of a company that makes metal files for wood and metal working was staying in a hotel.  He turned on the TV and was watching a food channel, when the chef pulled out one of his files and bragged about how effective it was for shredding vegetables.  This led the owner to create two new product lines – one for vegetable and food preparation, and another for orthopedic surgeons that shave off bone spurs during operations.  So what else could you make or product?

  • If your community attracts a lot of older tourists for boating and fishing, what kind of active sports could you develop that would attract millennials?

  • The community of Heber Springs, Arkansas on Greers Ferry Lake created the World Famous Cardboard Boat Races, and it attracts people from far and wide.

  • Colquitt, Georgia (pop. 1,910) created Swamp Gravy, a community play based on local stories.  Over 100,000 people have seen it since its inception.

The Third Dimension – Reinventing your community, region, or business

  • In this fast pace of change, communities, regions, and business need to consider reinventing themselves to stay in tune with and attract people and customers.

  • Park City, Utah reinvented itself three times in order to remain viable and vibrant. It started as a silver mining town, but became a snow skiing destination when the silver prices went down.  They then transformed themselves into a year-around resort community to even out their economic dips.  Finally, they are seeking to become a sustainable community in the 21st century economy.

  • B. Hunt started out as a trucking company, but has changed its name to J.B. Hunt Transport Company, and now is a vital part of a global supply network that uses other means of transportation, including intermodal.

  • Little Rock, Arkansas used to be a city that has city parks, then they changed their language to be Little Rock – a City Within a Park.
  • Sometimes a community or business reinvents itself with a new name and brand.  Elston, Australia was known for its excellent waves for surfing, but the town never took off until they changed its name to Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia in 1933.

Let us know if you have found this series to be helpful in your community, region, or business.  Also, Breakthrough News is an e-newsletter that focuses on opportunities in the 21st century economy.  To be added to the list to receive it at no cost, send an e-mail with that request to Casey Hill –


Mark Peterson


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