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Is This the Age of Horizontal Thinking?

More and more I see businesses going “horizontal-” merging with complementary companies or expanding their existing services into related lines to provide more support to (and gain more revenue from) existing customers. This trend is partly fueled by the realization that it is easier to expand service to customers that have already voted to do business with you than it is to develop new ones. It is also partly driven by the growing realization that managing customer relationships can lead to long-term, recurring revenue. Leading examples of this horizontal integration are IT companies that grow from network engineering to software development to hosting, marketing agencies that expand into media production, athletic clubs that link up with health care providers, and airline websites that link to other travel service and product providers. Of course, there is nothing new here. But the energy level seems to be higher. So, what are your customers asking you for that you do not currently provide and what is the best way to deliver those things effectively, efficiently and profitably?