Growth is crucial to the long term survival of any business, and so every startup and small business looks for the growth opportunities. Expanding business to a new country or a region can be a great way to grow your business.
For small and emerging businesses, this expansion is a significant undertaking that comprises of many rewards and certain risks. This is why it requires careful measures with a foolproof strategy.
Being a startup founder, CEO or any other decision maker, it is important to understand the full impact of the expansion so you can determine if the rewards outweigh the risks. This article will discuss seven crucial steps for business expansion in a new land, which every new entrepreneur should know.
1- Research the Region:
The first step into business expansion is to research. The core purpose of a business expansion is to discover new target audience and it can be just across town where your business is located, in another side of the country or may be in a different continent. Remember that launching a new business or expanding in unexplored land can be overwhelming and the only way to remove the hazzle of the process is to start with proper research.
Research the region; the demographics, culture, market and so on. Do study the consumer behavior in detail, i.e. buying habits, purchasing power, and also what works from a marketing/advertising/public relations point of view.
2- Get Legal:
So, with the research in step 1, you are convinced that this expansion in much needed, the next step will be to start the physical work. But, before you start any operations in a new land, you must have a legal representation in there. Since, legal matters can be quite complicated, the best way is to have an attorney to make sure the legal requirements are fulfilled as needed.
3- Get Local:
As a fact of the matter, you don’t know as much about another region/country as a local does. So, hiring people who have experience of working in the local market and culture is the best idea to get started. If you plan to start small in the new region, you might also consider outsourcing relevant tasks to local agencies. For instance, getting translation services by CPSL company rather than hiring a full time content writer makes more sense.
A local team that understands the local markets and culture well cannot just help you get started, but can also help you grow as a leader in the region. That’s the reason large corporations prefer hiring locals when they enter a new market.
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And yes, having local employees in not enough, you must have an active and responsive regional website, marketing materials tailored to the local audience and you may even need to tweak your product to meet the local culture/trends!
4- Have a Local Strategy:
It’s not necessary that business strategy that derived outstanding results in North America will be equally effective in Europe or Asia. And, at times you may have to tweak the plan for two different states and the reasons are very obvious, i.e. different demographics, consumer behavior, culture and the advent of technology.
Getting involved in local causes and establishing relations with local communities are few of the best ways to get insights for your local strategy.
Moreover, having strategic partnerships with other local businesses can also benefit your business significantly.
5- Target the Local Media:
Hiring a local public relations professional can help you get immediate exposure to the local print and digital media, i.e. newspapers, radio, TV etc. But, you must have a solid PR strategy in place and a crisis management plan before going for public attention, otherwise it may backfire.
Moreover, look for local social media influencers who can be your brand ambassadors and brand advocates.
6- Be Part of Local Events:
Whether it’s a speaking opportunity at a conference or sponsoring refreshments for a small scale event, you will sure find opportunity to get your brand known to the local community.
More precisely, look for events where you can find your target audience. For instance, if you are a food delivery app, a food festival is ideal to get customers in emerging market. Similarly, if you offer online courses, a university job fair can go great!
7- Expect the Unexpected & Be Ready to Handle it:
Entering into a new region is full of challenges, even for the big corporation that have tons of expansion budget. No matter, how well you think you are prepared for this venture, there may be situations that require you to go that extra mile, so be ready for it.
The Bottom Line:
At times, new entrepreneurs are so excited to expand in a new region that they do not consider the fine details required to be successful in a new territory. Remember, you are entering somebody else’s community and you need to know the business environment, potential customers, culture and the consumer behavior before selling anything there and all this takes parallel time, effort and finances.