As a business owner and entrepreneur, you should always be looking for ways of expanding your horizons and growing your business. One of the most obvious ways of doing this is to investigate the possibility of creating a new service and entering a new market. However, just because it’s obvious, it doesn’t mean it is easy.
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In this guide, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about branching out into new areas. There is quite a bit to cover, so let’s get down to business right away.
When is the right time to expand into new areas? It differs from business to business, of course, but ultimately it’s important to know when you are ready. If you have a strong sales history, have built up your brand awareness, and have a sense of stability – both operationally and financially – then it could be the right time to dive in. However, bear in mind that there is a reasonable amount of risk involved in this process. It will take time, resources, and a lot of energy – not to mention research. But, with an approach that is disciplined and thoughtful, it’s possible to achieve success.
Make Your Commitment
It’s one thing to consider entering a new market, but unless you make your decision and commit to the idea, it will remain a distant dream. But what should you commit to, and how do you make your decision? As usual, the sensible option is to base your idea on facts. For example, let’s say you run a small medical practice – perhaps your specialty is in physiotherapy. Maybe you notice that a lot of your clients are having problems with their feet as well as their back, joints and muscle pains. You could invest in something like an ultrasound system and hire a qualified podiatrist, developing a capability to offer more of what your customers need. Communicate with your clients well, and they will always reveal areas that could be ripe for exploiting.
Assess the Market
Market assessments are crucial if you intend to enter them, of course. But there’s more than one way to skin a rabbit, as they say. If you are looking to move fast, smaller markets are probably the best option, because you will be able to assess customer requirements and current trends a lot quicker than with a large market. The latter will take you some time, and although you will be optimistic and dreaming big about disrupting a large, stable market, the reality is it can be time-consuming and punishing. At this point, it’s also essential to establish a timeframe – what will you achieve by when, and what will you do once you start hitting your targets?
Find Your Entry Point
Moving on from assessing the market, now you will need to find an entry point. If you want to keep your initial investment costs down and maximize your potential future revenue, you will need to study all possibilities. Weigh up the pros and cons before arriving at your decision. Don’t forget, the idea here is to allow for future growth potential – and not just inside the target market, but also in adjoining ones. Look for areas of the industry that are underserved, or where there is a genuinely strong need that is yet to be fulfilled. Scour the competition and ensure that your solution is different and strong enough to challenge the current leaders.
Strategy and Planning
Finally, don’t go into this blind. You will need a strategy and roadmap for all the steps you will be taking in the foreseeable future, which should bring in everything from pricing your product through to marketing and placement. Once you have established your price points, you can then consider your marketing angle. Where will you position this product or new service, and how will you communicate it to the customer? Planning comes next to ensure you turn the theory into practice. This has to be super detailed, including milestones, targets, and market share potential. You need to make all these decisions with critical stakeholders, define new roles and fill all positions, and make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities and owns their processes.
Entering a new market can seem like an impossible challenge when you are starting from scratch. But equally, you already have a head start because you have built up your business from nothing already. With the right foundations in place, you should be able to work out your strategy, execute your plans, and exceed your expectations.