SupportBiz presents the steps that you should undertake to introduce your small firm to new geographical regions.
The first step for you is to identify the markets where your products/services have a demand. Places where the customer profiles are identical to those in your place of origin, which have few competitors and few entry barriers are perfect. This information can be obtained through market research and from publications by concerned industry/association publications.
Build your knowledge
Build your knowledge on the channels available to you to market your product/service in the new geographical area. Find out if you can showcase your product/service in an exhibition/fair, so as to introduce your firm to the new area. Study the industry newspapers and/or magazines – relevant to the area – in which you can advertise your business. Identify local industry associations or business groups who can help you in introducing your business to the new geographical area. See if you can participate in any trade delegations to the area of your choice.
Determine your approach
At this stage, you should determine the approach that you will adopt to enter the new market – Will you set up a store locally, or sell through agents? What are the marketing tools you will use? What local associations will you contact? Will you modify your products/services to suit local needs or not? Make a systematic plan about the various aspects that you will need to focus on to introduce your business to the new geographical area.
Determine the person/s in your organisation who would best be able to handle the task of introducing your firm to the new geographical area. You might even be required to hire additional staff for this purpose.
Once this is done, assign responsibilities to these staff members. Give them clear instructions, and tell them what you expect of them in regard to the geographical expansion.
Hold a launch event
It is a good idea to hold a launch event in the new area, to introduce your business to local people, especially prospective customers and potential investors. You might choose to organise this event at the premises of the local distributor you have chosen, who will help market your products/services in the new area.
This is the stage where you execute the plan that you formulated earlier. Ensure that you focus on each little aspect – from product development and packaging to marketing and distribution – to introduce your product/service in the new region.
Review your activities from time to time to determine their impact, and their deviation from your original plan. At this stage, you might want to make certain modifications in your plan to suit changes in trends and industry or market changes. Conduct such reviews periodically.