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6 Tips for Expanding Business to New Markets

As an entrepreneur or business owner considering expansion into another country, you will already know how important it is to consider all key areas of your organization. Choosing to "go global" is a serious challenge, even for companies that are designed to rotate at any time …

So, how can you ensure that expansion into a new market is not going to sink your business?

1. Take stock of your current resources

Expanding your business to another country may seem like an easy way to get more customers and boost your business. This is often the case, but is your company ready to handle your move from an organizational point of view?

Expansion will take time and energy – not to mention financial resources – so you have to know it's going to be:

  1. Worth it
  2. In fact possible to accomplish

To this end, you must perform a full audit of your current capabilities and the opportunities offered by the specific market in which you plan to grow.

Starting with:

  1. Performing a Market Analysis – with elements including a gap analysis to ensure that there is sufficient evidence of a difference. space and demand for your products and services, and a SWOT Analysis to see how your products compare to other options already available.
  2. Verification of the resources available to you for this expansion – including all financial and organizational factors.

There are also some pretty obvious questions you should ask yourself about your expansion project.

2. Have a plan – and a sound financial strategy

There is no point in having a single plan called "Expansion to New Markets". Each market has economic and cultural conditions – not to mention other factors such as applicable local laws and business practices – that are unique to it.

Your plan must be carefully located in the specific market in which you plan to grow.

  1. Setting Your Goals – Setting goals, especially numerical goals with metrics that can be measured and timelines accurate, is critical to being successful when your business enters a new market.
  2. Split Your Objectives – Once you've set your overall goals, it's time to divide them into smaller "signpost" targets that you hit on the way. These smaller goals should have their own deadlines for success and will show you how hard you are working to reach your final target.
  3. Consider the structure of your business – Will your company manage its expansion in a new market that functions as it does now? For a web-based company, for example, you may not need a local branch, but you will definitely need a customer support team that can respond to requests in the languages ​​spoken by your new market. Will this require a separate sales office? It's time to decide.
  4. Determine Self-Sufficiency – Ideally, the operations you are launching on the new market should not require the resources of your main business to function. If you do not have the resources to grow without harming your core business, you do not have the resources to grow. A clear financial plan will help you determine it.

It is worthwhile to create a clear plan listing the steps you will take, such as this example detailing the key steps to growing your business globally.

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3. Define your marketing strategy and prepare alternatives

As always, good research is the key to success in any market – especially one you may be relatively unaware of.

Your marketing strategy should be clear and complete and include all the usual elements that you would include, such as:

  1. Key Performance Indicators and Other Performance Indicators
  2. A clear definition of the market and the potential customer base
  3. Identification of competitors
  4. Your price positioning – this is critical, especially if you are trying to sell to consumers in a less developed area, for example

All this while remaining faithful to the identity, values ​​and general objectives of your brand.

Even after careful planning and research, without a thorough knowledge of the target market, you may have developed a strategy that does not work. For this reason, you should:

  1. Have one or two alternative plans already in place – you can quickly rotate them if you do not get the results you expect.
  2. Form partnerships with local businesses – or locate experts who can provide an effective localization of your message (we will examine them in Tip # 6 below).

4. Locate your products or services – legally and physically

In addition to changing the price positioning of your products or services to meet the local market, you will need to translate and locate your products themselves to meet the expectations of your new audience and sometimes to comply with local regulations. For example, does the name of your product translate well into the local language? Do the images you use on packaging make sense to local consumers?

To adapt your products in this way, you will need effective translation and localization services, provided by your in-house team or, for most small and medium-sized businesses, by your partner language service provider.

The best language service providers will also be able to help you navigate the legal waters of your new market, by proving legal translation services and other types of language support. Many countries – like China, for example – have a large number of requirements that must be met before a company can start operating in the country (we have written a whole article devoted to the things you need to know when you are expanding your business in China to give you an idea of ​​the preparations you will have to make.)

But when expanding into a new market, you should still:

  1. Check that industry-specific regulations and the region are followed
  2. Confirm that you have obtained all necessary certifications and authorizations
  3. Determine how locate your product
  4. Examine whether perform internal locating or subcontract to a professional corporation
  5. Check Patents and Trademarks
  6. Consider how you will distribute your product locally

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5. Prepare your local team

Now that you know how you're going to prepare your product, it's time to think about preparing your team.

For example, entering a new market usually means that business leaders will have to travel regularly to the area. Anticipating costs and organizational burdens like these should be part of your initial inventory and planning (see Tips # 1 and # 2 ).

But that's not really the kind of team preparation we're talking about here …

Operating in a new market means that your staff will have to accept how to act in a new culture, knowing all the differences in languages, customs and practices, as well as legal and other regulations. Yes, you are going to want to stay in your brand identity and speak with your brand while doing it, but what customers in your new market can expect in terms of your "politeness", may differ significantly from expectations in your home market.

You can:

  1. Write policies and procedures that tell staff how to interact with local customers if this is different from how they would normally
  2. Consider hiring qualified local employees
  3. Choose to work with your local partners

6. Find reliable local partners

We have seen time and again how useful it is to work with local partners to enter a new market.

From the initial planning stage – where it would be very useful to have a local insight into the effectiveness of your marketing strategy – have access to an expert who knows the ins and outs of doing business in the part of the world you are targeting will facilitate the international expansion of your business .

As an experienced entrepreneur or business owner, you necessarily have a list of contacts who can advise you. If not, it's time to start building your network.

Partner companies that are used to operating in the region can provide everything from translation and localization services to the efficient distribution of your products. By outsourcing this way, you minimize the financial risk of employing an entirely new internal team at a time when you are already expanding the reach of your organization.

Overall, being able to adapt to your new market should be your goal. And make sure, if this adaptation fails, that you are ready to adapt again.

Locate Your Company in New Markets: Tips and Questions

Have we missed something important in our list? Do you have a related question about the best way for your business to expand into a new market?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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