By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke
If you’re looking to expand your business, you will likely understand how stressful and daunting it can be. You might be tempted to dive right in when you’ve identified opportunities in a new state, country or industry. However, it’s important to do your due diligence so you can ensure your product or service will be well-received in this new market. To make the process easier, we share some of the steps you should take before expanding into your new target market.
Start building connections in the market
Build a network to gather industry information, increase brand awareness, and generate a buzz. Dedicate time in the new market to meeting new people, join relevant organizations, attend their events, and gather info about competitors and client opportunities. By leveraging your current network, the news will spread quickly and you will be able to get in the door much more quickly.
Know your unique value
Be sure to understand the unique value your product or service will bring to the market. This will help drive strategic decision-making and enable effective tactical execution.
Be grounded in your main market
It is very important for you to be grounded in your main market before you expand to a new market. You must have made substantial sales and people know about your product or services before you start thinking of expanding. Jumia started in Nigeria before it expanded to other African countries. The eCommerce platform did not simply expand for the sake of doing so. It conquered the Nigerian market by offering a service that Nigerians want which is the convenience of buying in the comfort of their homes. Now, Jumia is the eCommerce leader not only in Nigeria but also in Africa offering services across different verticals.
Understand the local competition
Before expanding into a new market, it is imperative to thoroughly understand the competitive landscape. There are a lot of factors that will determine how receptive customers will be to your product or service, and a key one is how you position it relative to competitive offerings. Understanding your competition allows you to frame your product or service in the most commercially viable way.
Get the right team in place
Expanding into a new market is extremely challenging. A great way to increase your chances of success is by hiring an extremely experienced manager who has deeply rooted relationships and understands the demographics of the market. If possible, find a candidate who comes from a similar industry as well.
Do a soft launch first
It is important you test the market before any brand or product launch. By doing so, and by testing launches with soft and then hard launches, you have an opportunity to build momentum, which then makes a splash.
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