Expanding your business into a new region
by Arina Smith Business Planning 02 May 2018
Sooner or later, all successful businesses operating within limited areas reach a market saturation point. The only way to grow at this stage is to move into a new region – and, indeed, it may be sensible to do so before that time is reached in order to access more lucrative markets than those at home. If you’ve identified a new region that you think would be a good fit for your business, how should you go about establishing a presence there? These are the most important points you need to bear in mind.
Establish local connections :
No matter how skilled you are, you’re not going to be able to move into an area as an outsider and understand everything you need to know immediately. Some businesses choose to find local partners in order to establish themselves, while others bring in local personnel or work with local agencies to do the basics, like finding the right premises and building up local supply chains. You’ll need to do some networking in the area you’ve chosen, and while some of this can be done online, you really should attempt to spend some time there in the person getting to know the key players in your sector.
Research your financial obligations :
Setting up in a new region means dealing with new financial laws, regulations and even lending arrangements. You’ll need to make sure you understand those thoroughly before you launch. You’ll also need to establish a financing model for the new branch that takes into account probable shifts in the exchange rate, and you’ll need to find efficient ways to send money from the UK to the UAE, the US or wherever it’s based – an international money transfer is usually the best option for large sums.
Identify cultural differences :
Every part of the world has different cultural traditions, ranging from the body language it’s appropriate to use in meetings, to the strategies used to negotiate deals, and if you’re not familiar with these things then your business will struggle. Depending on the location you’ve chosen, you may need to learn a new language, but cultural understanding is every bit as important. A good local translator will be able to advise you on this and help to train your team. Watching television programmes from the region can also help.
Develop your sales model :
In order to break into the market in your new location, you’ll need to do fresh market research, because you can’t rely on the strategies you’ve used at home working as effectively in other places. You’ll need to develop a new marketing plan and you may also need to use different types of sales outlets to take into account different cultural factors and practical issues like geographical distribution networks. Local people may well want the same products and services, but they will look at them in different ways.
Although this amounts to a lot of hard work, it really is worth making the effort to do it thoroughly. Expanding into a new region is a big challenge, however, good preparatory work can do a lot to mitigate the risks and improve your chance of success.
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