- Diversification Strategies
- Pros of Diversification
- Cons of Diversification
- Example: The Walt Disney Company
Diversification refers to the process of minimising the risk of investment through the distribution of assets such that not more than a single basket carries all the eggs, i.e., in different investment areas. It helps minimise risks and maximise gains at the same time.
Primarily, there are 5 diversification strategies.
- Asset Diversification: It’s an investment strategy where we invest in various assets such as stock, bond, real estate, and cash equivalent. This strategy helps prevent the overall adverse impact of one sector on your portfolio.
- Industry Diversification: It means working in more than one industry. A company’s diversification of its product or service ensures that it does not depend on a single market. For instance, a tech company might enter the healthcare sector to minimise risks associated with changes in technology demand.
- Market Diversification: Market diversification involves expanding into different geographical markets. For example, the global retailer, Walmart, serves multiple countries and thus, reduces its reliance on the economic conditions of a single market.
- Product Diversification: Companies introduce different products and services into new markets in an attempt to differentiate the firms’ line of products. For example, Apple diversified beyond computers into smartphones, tablets, and wearables, moving further away from reliance on any one product category.
- Portfolio Diversification: This strategy is commonly used in investment. It involves building a portfolio of different assets or investments within the same asset class, such as a mix of stocks in various industries. This spreads the risk and helps maintain a balanced portfolio.
Pros of Diversification
- Risk Reduction: By spreading investments or business activities, you reduce the impact of poor performance in any single area. If one industry or market experiences a downturn, the losses can be offset by gains in others.
- Steady Returns: Diversification leads to more regular and predictable returns over some time. This is especially valuable for long-term investors or businesses looking for sustainability.
- Opportunity for Growth: Entering new markets or industries can open up new growth opportunities. For businesses, it can lead to increased revenue streams, while investors may find new assets with growth potential.
- Risk Tolerance Management: Diversification allows individuals and businesses to tailor their risk vulnerability to their tolerance levels. Some risk-averse investors prefer the conservative mix, whereas others who have a high-risk appetite take riskier portfolios.
Cons of Diversification
While diversification has many benefits, it's important to be aware of its drawbacks:
- Reduced Profit Potential: Diversifying too much dilutes the potential for high returns. If you spread yourself too thin, you will miss out on substantial gains in a single asset or sector.
- Complexity: Managing a diversified portfolio or a multi-industry business is complex and requires your time. It requires extensive research and expertise.
- Costs: Diversifying often involves additional costs, like research, transaction fees, and operational expenses for businesses entering new markets or developing new products.
- Overlooked Risks: Diversification does not eliminate all risks. External factors like global economic crises impact all asset classes or industries simultaneously.
Example: The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is an excellent real-life example of diversification. Originally famous for producing cartoon films and establishing theme parks, Disney now operates in a number of domains. Today they control a big chunk of the TV market through channels like ESPN and ABC and recently took over some companies of fame such as Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21century Fox. The company has diversified into different markets, which has enabled it to be less dependent on each segment and adapt to continuous economic changes.
In India, the Reliance Group is an excellent example of diversification.
Understanding diversification is important to reduce risks in finance. It involves spreading risks and resources across different areas to mitigate potential losses and enhance overall resilience. Diversification not only provides a safety net in times of uncertainty but also opens doors to new opportunities and growth.