Do you want to know how to expand your business into new markets? The current global economic crisis has been forcing many business owners to think creatively.
If you’re losing money because your current market is on lockdown, then you probably want to find ways to expand your business.
For many small, local businesses, it’s especially important to get into online markets and shift to online operations. If your business has been relying on physical stores, you need to learn how to go from brick and mortar to click-and-order. In other words, you need to educate yourself on the best practices for running an online business.
As a business owner, you are constantly challenged to expand, branch out, and test new ideas. But now more than ever, you need ideas that work and get you cash flow fast.
Expanding your business into new markets is probably one of the best ways to stay afloat in times of crisis. So, below are our best tips for how to expand your business:
How To Expand Your Business Step-by-Step
If the economy was good, you could simply go out and test your ideas. But that’s not possible right now.
Now is the time to be a bit more careful with your business decisions and plan before you act. For those who know how to seize it, there is an opportunity in a crisis.
Before you act, map out your plan strategically and diligently.
Step 1: What Are Your Possibilities?
First, you want to look at your possibilities. Do you want to break into a new market with a product or service you already have? Or do you have a new product and want to get it known in other markets?
Do you want to stay in the same market sector, but address a new customer sector, for example going from business to customer (B2C) to business to business (B2B)?
Expanding your business into new markets can also mean changing the way you deliver your product or service, for example, an online download instead of an in-person cashier.
Step 2: Market Research
Do market research. This is important, so you don’t want to skip this step.
Even if you can make educated guesses about your market, still take the time to look into this. Research what your market cares about. What problems do they have? How can you help solve those problems?
When you ask how to expand your business into new markets, you are actually asking how can you expand into new markets successfully.
You could easily go out there, start an online campaign to market to a new audience, and see if somebody buys. But that’s a very risky approach. Why? Because you have no idea if your strategy will resonate with your new market.
That’s why research is so important. Imagine if your research uncovers that your desired new market responds well to do it yourself services. But you wanted to offer a done for you service.
If you do research in advance you can adjust accordingly. If you don’t do any research, you’ll still come to the same conclusion but lose money and time on the way.
Step 3: Make a Decision
Now you know your options and you know your market. So, it’s time to make a decision. Do you want to enter this market or would you rather look into a different one?
It can happen that you made assumptions about a good market to expand into but after your research, you realize it’s not what you envisioned.
If you decide that it’s not your desired market, go back to step one. If you decide to proceed, go to step 4.
Step 4: Strategize to Expand Your Business Into Another Market
Now it’s time to plan out your strategy. How will you introduce your product? How will people find you? How do you position yourself?
Do you have to adjust to a certain culture? Do you have to change or tweak your messaging?
The clearer your plan is the better. Don’t leave anything to chance, but also be flexible enough to pivot if needed.
Enter a New Market with Existing Products
Now that you are clear on your step-by-step plan, let’s take a deeper look at your possibilities when it comes to how to expand your business.
The first possibility you have is taking a product or service you already have, and marketing it in a new way. This could be as simple as changing from a local business to an online business model.
Let’s assume you are selling shoes. You were selling shoes at your local brick and mortar store. But because of the lockdown, you want to open an online shop.
The product (the shoes) doesn’t change. You are still selling the same shoes. All you change is the way you market the product, and the way you deliver it.
Still, there are some pointers to keep in mind. If we stick with our shoe sales example, you’ll realize that buying shoes online isn’t the same as buying them in a local store. Your clients can’t try them on. People might order your shoes, but send them back because they don’t fit.
This is only one example, but you can generally expect new challenges with any new market you break into. If it were easy to expand into a new market then you’d already have done it.
Tweak Your Product
In some cases, you can still use a product or service you already have, but you need to tweak it.
Picture yourself selling marketing coaching sessions for entrepreneurs. Usually, you offer face-to-face meetings for your coaching, in person.
Now, if you want to get into the online market, you’ll likely shift to video coaching sessions. But, you could also record your training sessions and make it a complete online video training.
Pre-recording coaching sessions is great, because it requires no extra time from you once the product is in place. It’s a perfect way to scale your business without burning yourself out with too much work. Essentially, you can sell your recordings an infinite number of times.
Making some changes to an existing product or service is also easier than creating a completely new one. So, this strategy is one of the fastest ways when it comes to how to expand your business.
Expand With a Completely New Product
Some markets might be lucrative to break into, but they are completely different from what you’ve done so far. In such a case, you might have to create a completely new product.
A perfect example of this is when you go from B2B to B2C or vice-versa. Both markets have different needs, different pain points and different ways to do business.
What could that look like? For example, maybe you run a beverage company. In the B2C sector, you sell drinks to consumers. In the B2B sector, it could be about selling drink vending machines to corporations or becoming a vendor for supermarkets.
Do you see how selling drinks to individuals or selling vending machines to a business are very different business models? It’s a completely new product with different messaging and a different price point.
But even if you stay in B2B or B2C, you can still break into a new market with a new product. If you sell shoes, maybe you want to go to handbags.
If you sell coaching sessions, maybe you want to write a book and address a whole new market that way.
Expand Your Social Media Network
Do you know why Dan Lok is active on every major social media platform and market in every possible way? Because every sales channel attracts slightly different people.
Most businesses stick to one or two social media platforms. Maybe they use Facebook and Instagram often, but never post on YouTube. However, if you limit your social media channels too much, there will be certain market sectors you’ll never address.
And that’s exactly why expanding your social media efforts is a great way how to expand your business.
Expand Your Delivery Options
Your forms of delivery and delivery options might have to change, too. Uber Eats or similar delivery services are a perfect example. Until recently, part of the market was completely opposed to ordering food. They would cook at home or go to a restaurant.
Now with the lockdowns, more people are giving food delivery a try, and finding that it’s not so bad after all. Many restaurants switched to delivery so they would survive the crisis.
So, expanding your delivery options opens up lots of new possibilities.
A New Consumer Market
Wondering how to expand your business into new markets? Another way to look at it is your consumer market.
Maybe you are marketing to a certain age group, gender, or location? Expand your market by going wider.
Your product or service is solving a certain problem for a certain group of people. So, you can find a similar audience with similar problems and expand that way.
Another possibility is to go deeper into your existing market. Have a look at your existing clients. Do they have a need for a new product from you?
Let’s assume you are selling a three month business coaching program. Maybe your clients are doing great after your coaching, and now they want to tackle bigger problems with your help. You could offer them a six month or a year-long program.
If you sell shoes, your clients might be interested in getting shoelaces, socks, or other accessories from you, too. Maybe people are doing more walking, now, and more people want to buy walking shoes. You might have to adjust your inventory accordingly.
Don’t think in the category of products, think in terms of needs and problems your clients might have, and you’ll see potential to expand.
Relationships and The Human Element
Now, how to expand your business into new markets is also a question of location. For example, if your market is in America, you could expand to Europe or Asia.
This might not be as easy because you have to pay a lot of attention to cultural differences. What works great in one part of the world might be frowned upon in another corner of the planet.
However, you also don’t want to go into analysis paralysis. If you’ve done your research, sometimes the best thing you can do is just start. Try, and see if your model works. You can always make adjustments later.
The customer is a marketing genius. If something doesn’t work, they’ll let you know by not buying. That’s why marketing heavily relies on testing. You won’t know what really works until you tried it.The customer is always the marketing genius. If it doesn't work, they don't buy. Click To Tweet
If you want to expand your market across cultures, it’s especially important to form relationships. Talk to your customers. What problems are they facing? What do they wish they had? In other words, what demand is already there and can be solved by you?
The human element is important in any market. People buy people. Building a relationship with your audience will always give you a competitive advantage.
Acquire Another Business
Business acquisition is a very advanced way of how to expand your business. To make this work, you need knowledge and capital. But if you make it work, it’s one of the fastest ways to expand into a new market.
Acquiring a business or merging with one can virtually double your business size overnight. It holds immense possibilities.
But, you have to do intense research, negotiate, and really think it through. It’s not a decision you make lightheartedly. If you run a small business, other options might be better for you.
How To Analyse A Market
After evaluating your options you might wonder: how do I actually research my target market? There are many ways to conduct market research, so here are some pointers.
Have a look at your customers. Find out their needs, pain points, and struggles. How does your offer help them?
Most businesses would focus on the client’s demographics like age, gender, and location. It’s important but do you know what else to look at? Almost more important than demographics are your client’s psychographics.
What’s that? Psychographics are wishes, needs, and preferences your customers might have. What are they interested in? Whom do they already buy from? What keeps them awake at night?
Looking at psychographics allows you to really understand your customers.
Looking at your competitors is such a great way to better understand your market. Why? Because success leaves clues.
What is already working for your competitors? What can you emulate? There is no shame in doing something similar if there’s already a demand for it.
However, you also want to look at the reviews your competitors receive. What’s missing? What do people wish for or what do they criticize? Maybe there is something you can do better than your competition. That’s your competitive advantage.
Usually, it’s easier to get into a market where there is already some competition. Breaking into a completely new market is harder.
Market Size And Possible Barriers
You also want to look at your target market from a high-level view. This includes questions like:
- How big is the market? How specialized?
- Is it a growing market or is it contracting?
- How competitive is it?
The answers to these questions will have great effects on your strategy. If a market is very competitive then you probably have to be more specialized. If the market is very big, you might want to find a niche.
It’s also a good idea to look at possible barriers to entry beforehand. What could stop you or slow you down? Typical barriers to entry are high costs. Some barriers are natural, others are imposed by the government.
For example, the government might collect a special tax for beverages that contain alcohol. It’s impossible to know this beforehand. It’s a barrier imposed by the government.
Natural barriers can look completely different. Maybe your business requires a huge warehouse. You can’t build it anywhere you want as there are natural obstacles like rivers or forests.
Finally, it’s important to note that no market exists in a vacuum. The market’s environment has a great influence.
Environmental factors include government regulations, technical developments, and cultural factors. Analyze them early on so you can expand your business successfully.
Find out which environmental factors could be dangerous for your business and which you can leverage for your success.
Even a change in a different market sector could affect your target market. Keeping an eye on these aspects as not only important at the beginning but pretty much all the time.
Even if you’ve been in a market for 30 years, you want to keep adapting to technological changes for example. If you can’t keep up your business runs at the risk of becoming irrelevant.
Ready For Next-Level Business Advice?
How to expand your business into new markets is a question of knowledge and skill. What if you could learn a lot more about business and marketing from Dan Lok himself?
And what if we told you that right now, you can get his 14 best training packages and save 57%? If your business is struggling right now because of the crisis, learning from someone who has done it all before is invaluable.
Dan Lok has been in business for over 20 years, and this isn’t the first recession he’s seeing. The Ultimate Training Collection includes everything he used to build a global empire. Discover The Ultimate Training Collection here.