If you are in the process of expanding your business into a new market and you are nervous about it, just know that it is perfectly normal and that you are not alone in feeling this way.
A whopping 42% of businesses fail because of a lack of market demand for their product or service, so feeling anxious or scared is only natural. But it’s important to note that, if you are here looking to expand, it means that your business is growing… And that’s a good thing!
There is no doubt that a multitude of things need to be considered before you tap into a previously unexplored market, but we’ve put together FOUR of the most important tips that will increase your odds at success and lead to a lucrative expansion.
- Know Your Market: Entering a new geography is a lot of hard work. Your audience, their culture, preferences, dislikes — literally everything is different, and you need to understand them to a T to be able to give them exactly what they need. Do your research. Who are the users of your product or services? What is their age group? What is their annual income? Are they tech-savvy? Based on your product or service, create a questionnaire and check against each of these points.
Having all the information about your demographic is crucial and will help Convert them from a target audience to band of loyal customers. Let’s say you are selling a pair of Louboutin’s Kate Strass shoes. You wouldn’t sell them to everyone you can potentially reach. You will purposefully target those who are likely to purchase your product.
This can be achieved by first eliminating those that don’t fit the category and then, developing customer personas. In this case, your target is women, between the age group of 20 – 40 (under 20 is not going to be able to afford a pair Louboutin’s and over 40 probably do not wear them as often. Of course, there will be exceptions, but we are looking at the majority where most of our efforts will be directed), who are earning $100,00 or more per annum. Once you have this information, slot them into the personas you have created to create specific strategies for each.
- Define Your Goals: Every aspect of a business (or life itself) needs goal setting – both short and long-term goals. This will not only keep you on track towards success but will also be a key factor that drives you to perform better and achieve more. There are a number of goals that you will consider before the launch, but the most important ones will be brand goals and sales goals.
Brand goals: Setting brand goals is an important and necessary step – this is where you will create brand awareness about your business. How your product or service is positioned, how it will be promoted to reach your target audience, what platforms you will use to achieve that and the budget that goes into these activities are some of the factors that will be determined here.
Sales goals: Sales is everything. As a business owner, you already know that the #1 goal for your business is to generate revenue. Unless you are a not-for-profit organization or your business is a passion project – but generally, increasing your bottom-line is
Set revenue goals in a periodic manner; start with the question – how many products/services will you aim to sell per month? This cost should be able to cover all your overhead costs and allow you to make a profit, because otherwise, the purpose of the business is defeated, right?
Just be mindful that this doesn’t happen overnight and having patience will be crucial. It does take weeks, months or sometimes even years, but know that you must stay consistent with your direction and eventually you will get to your final destination. Would you be able to sustain financially until your business is profitable? Lay down all these answers and weigh your pros and cons before proceeding with your plans.
- Develop a Marketing Strategy: You have your market research done and your goals in place. The next step is to develop your marketing strategy. This is a very critical step for your business.
An effective marketing strategy should be in sync with your sales and brand goals, in addition to vision and mission of the organization. It should use a combination of various channels, with a balanced mix of traditional and digital media, it should be based on the market research you did on your target audience (point 1). And tailored to your audience because there is no one-size-fits-all strategy.
It is also just as important to understand your competitive landscape. List your competitors and understand their marketing strategy; what type of ads they are running, what channels of communications they use, what is their engagement like, what are their new product offerings? Gather as much information as you can, as this will serve extremely insightful.
- Track and Measure Progress: The last, and possibly the most critical, step is to track all your activities and measure progress. You need to know if the activities are yielding results. You need to understand what is working in your favour and what you can eliminate. Data is everything, and you need a strong handle on your analytics to be successful.
At Evolve, we are passionate about working with small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them to Change, Transform and Grow. Some of the areas we offer help include team support services; equipping businesses with all the operational and strategic tools they need to launch into new markets, including full operational, marketing and sales support, business mentoring and coaching from entrepreneurship experts, and more.
If you find yourself lost or struggling to move forward, reach out to us for a free discovery call.