Many businesses grow and grow until they reach a point where they have reached saturation in their current markets. Perhaps their pricing has risen above the average market rates in their area, or maybe they see a lucrative opportunity with another specialty. Whether you’re considering launching a side brand or expanding your current one, entering a new market is an exciting move, but that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its own challenges.
For those ready to take the leap, the biggest component in such a move is timing. Too soon, and your business (and you) may not be able to accommodate the extra demands. Too late, and someone else may step in to fill the gaps. You don’t want to take on too much, but you also don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity when it’s in front of you.
But, first, you need to make sure your business is shipshape and ready to go. Evaluate these four signs to see if your business is in a position to grow into new markets.
You’ve established a solid reputation in your current market.
Whether geographical or niche, entering a new market is far easier when you’ve already made a name for yourself. A great reputation means you have the testimonials, portfolio, and accolades to back you up when introducing your brand to a new community. Even if they aren’t familiar with your business yet, you can build their trust by helping them recognize the successes you’ve had in other areas.
You’re consistently booked in your current market.
Operating in two or more markets multiplies the workload for you and your team, whether you’re fully booked or not. If you’re not at full capacity in your current market, it’s not worth the move…yet. Instead, focus on building up your client base where you are before treading into uncharted waters. Naturally, this will also boost your reputation, which will make for a smoother transition.
You’ve had requests from other markets already.
Fielding requests from beyond your market is a surefire sign that your products or services are needed elsewhere! Pay close attention to who is requesting and what exactly they are looking for — you may discover that your offerings can be adapted to serve the new market better. Perhaps you find that you’ve chosen a destination market that has different menu or flavor preferences than those in your hometown. You can learn a lot simply by listening.
You are financially prepared for the expense.
From hiring new employees to a robust advertising campaign, entering a new market is not cheap. If you are leasing a brick-and-mortar property, it will be an even greater financial commitment. Before taking any steps, you must confirm that your business isn’t just solvent but can also accommodate the added expenses that come with growth opportunities.
When you do decide it’s time, treat your move like you’re launching a new business — even if it’s just an extension of your existing brand. It will require just as much time and resources to get it going and build rapport within your new market in the early stages. But, soon enough, the prospects will start rolling in, and you’ll know you made the right decision at the right time.