Think what you like about Lidl, but if there’s one thing that can’t be disputed, it is really giving Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose a run for their money!

But did you know that that the brains behind the discount empire, Dieter Schwarz, is real business supremo and his personal fortune was estimated to be €19.6bn in 2013. He is the 24th richest person in world. Now that explains why he has the Midas touch with Lidl!

And I bet you also didn’t know that he once declined a medal for entrepreneurial achievement from the state of Baden-Württemberg because he didn’t want to be photographed! He's incredibly private and that makes me admire him even more. Modest and a somewhat unknown retail genius to boot; move over Philip Green!

So let’s take look at how he has made the Lidl brand so strong in the UK and a competitor to the ‘big four’ supermarkets. We think it’s down to some pretty smart business growth strategies so we want to share 5 tips we reckon Lidl also deploys:-


Remember the analogy of the big fish in the small pond? That’s essentially how the strategy for growing your business works. The niche market is the pond with a narrowly defined group of customers.

Think of them as a subset whose needs aren’t being met by the bigger market and concentrate on targeting those unmet needs.


Keep in mind that that by growing your business, you’re actually involved in growing your business’s bottom line. And the difference between pre-tax and post-tax money can make this a very effective growth strategy.

There are two main approaches to cutting costs: liquidating your ‘loser’ products/services and improving your inventory turnover.


The key to successfully growing your business though diversification is SIMILARITY: you want to focus on the related needs of your already established market or on market segments with similar needs and characteristics.

For example, an artist might sell frames along with framing services. Or a boat business might switch to renting out jet skis in the summer.


The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a growing your business is getting new customers. But the customers you already have are your best bet for increasing your sales. It’s easier and more cost effective to get those who are already buying from you to buy more, than it is to find new customers and persuade them to buy from you.

Lidl, however has managed to find new customers, probably because of its Product Diversification and Tip 5 below.


There are several ways of growing your business by making your product or service available to a new pool of customers.

The most obvious way is to open new stores in new locations such an opening one in a new town.

New locations can also be virtual, such as a website or online store.

Another approach is to extend your reach through advertising (look out for the Lid ads on the TV and in newspapers!). Once you’ve defined and new market you can advertise in selected media that target that market.

So the next time you go to Lidl, it’s worth noting how the product ranges change every week (point number 3) and the very impressive wine and Champagne selection is creating a real buzz in the AB1 customer demographic.

Bottom line, these guys must be doing something right: The group’s UK turnover was £3.3billion in 2013 and sales have risen by a fifth in the past year. The company has also been creating more jobs in the UK as part of its £220million expansion programme, which will result in about 620 shops by the end of this year.

We’re impressed. Very impressed.

*PS: if you can find a photo of the elusive Dieter, please share it with us!