When running a successful business, there often comes the point where you have reached your maximum potential in your target market. You have two options: stay still or find new ways to expand your potential even further.
Breaking into new markets is crucial for those who want to generate more sales, continue to grow and diversify the business. It’s also critical for adapting to changing customer demand.
However, entering a new market should not be done lightly. Research and thought are required to make the right moves at the right time.
We’ve listed our top tips for entering a new market for long-term results.
- Work out goals
A company will only succeed in a market if it offers something valuable. If you are considering targeting a new audience, you need to understand how your business can provide something that suits their needs.
Start by listing your products and services and who could benefit from them. In some cases, you may wish to develop your product/service portfolio to attract new customers, but this should only be done in a financially responsible way.
Once you have determined how to bring value to the market, ask yourself what you hope to achieve. Setting goals – such as increased sales or improving brand awareness – will give you a clear route to follow and enable you to track progress.
- Do your research
Once you have a chosen market, you must research how it works. It’s crucial to ensure you target it appropriately.
Don’t rely on assumptions. You must gather data to validate your beliefs about how well the proposition matches customer demand. Common ways of collecting this data include surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and interviews.
Gathering information from third parties can also help, including the likes of ONS, Think with Google or research from industry leaders.
Make your research specific to your target market, including the geographical location.
If your market is in a specific location or industry sector, consider visiting trade shows, expos and networking events to better understand audiences and potential competitors – including the gaps that may exist for you to fill.
- Consider partnerships
If you are tackling unchartered territory, it’s sometimes best not to go it alone. Working with a partner with experience in the market can give you increased protection and confidence.
Consider potential collaborations and alliances with experienced companies. Alongside giving you the expertise you need to move forward, these associations will strengthen your reputation and position while drumming up extra engagement from joint marketing campaigns.
- Look at your competitors
When entering a new market, competition will likely be waiting for you. These competitors will be more experienced and better known than you, so you have an uphill battle to conquer.
Researching your competitors will give you the knowledge you need to outdo them.
Make a note of your top competitors in the market and create a competitive matrix to help their positioning to your own. You may want to consider questions like:
• What are your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses?
• What are the opportunities within the new market, and are your competitors following them?
• What potential threats are these competitors facing?
• What percentage of the market share do these companies have?
• Is their target audience the same as yours?
- Review cash flow
Entering a new market has cash flow implications. If you don’t tread carefully, you risk being overwhelmed.
Start by creating a business plan, which should incorporate financial forecasts for the new market. You’ll need to work out your venture’s future costs and profits using data, insight and your existing projections.
Aim to create a separate cash flow forecast for the planning process, serving as a budget for your entry into the new market. This will enable you to plug financial gaps and start your mission on solid foundations.
- Regularly monitor progress
Despite your best planning, it is hard to determine how the results will look until they happen. Once you enter the new market, it is therefore crucial to regularly review your performance to understand if you are in keeping with your objectives
Be prepared to adjust your plans in line with new insight. By pivoting when required, you will improve your strategy to serve the market better and get the rewards you want.
- Check-in with your customers
When breaking into a new market, you should ensure your customer service and relationships are as strong as in previous markets. With better relationships, you will gain loyal customers in the market, allowing you to cement your reputation and attract others.
Asking your customers for feedback, such as through surveys, interviews or reviews, will also help you to monitor progress and identify room for improvement. By listening, you can adjust and perfect your proposition.
- Work with an advisor
Entering a new market can be daunting. It requires careful strategizing and research to be successful.
If you are unsure of the best route into the market or if it is the right move for your company, working with a business advisor is helpful.
UKBA advisors can work with you to identify relevant markets for your offering, creating solid plans to break into them and assist in your financial forecasting.