All businesses are faced with the prospect of finding ways to enter new markets. Having conquered a local market, looking at extending a business’s reach is often the only room for growth. Yet, if a product or solution you provide in your local market is well accepted, there is no guarantee that other markets will warm to it so easily. It pays to research the market you are looking to enter and to be consumer-centric, but what does that really mean? Here are a few ideas to get you going.
Focus on Impact
The most important person in the transaction is the end-user. It’s the end-user that decides the fate of your brand, how much money you make, and how long you’re in business. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
The user’s first experience with your product or service, your brand and your support set up will be a determining factor on weather that user is impressed enough to adopt you as a trusted brand. You want the user to have such a positive experience that they would feel comfortable endorsing your brand to their circle of friends and business associates. This is critical when entering new markets. So it is important to always focus on delivering a high-quality product, proper education about how to use that product, and ongoing education about it.
An intense focus on customer satisfaction and experience is key. That’s what drives repeat business and loyalty. Customers recognize the value of a business that takes care of them, and that works to educate them and help them solve their problems.
Allow for Customization and Personalization
If you ask a customer whether they would prefer customization or mass-produced products, most will tell you that customization and personalization are more valuable. And, thus, they will pay more for customized products or services. Anytime you can allow for any amount of customer personalization and customization, you build loyalty to your brand and you also position yourself as more valuable than your competition.
Consistency is also important. A business that isn’t consistent, can’t win customers and keep them as customers over time. Consumers are driven to seek out brands that provide a uniform experience. They want predictability. The only real way to give customers that consistency is to be consistent and streamline operations.
Scale Your Operation
Finally, a business that doesn’t scale well will not be positioned to grow or to take on more opportunities with growth potential. It’s not so much that consumers only transact with a big companies. In fact, people are quite comfortable working with niche businesses. It’s more the case that they want to be able to do business with a company that won’t get log-jammed with orders and be unable to provide efficient customer service. Early adopters of your products and services that went on to convince their friends and family to give you a try will be the first to abandon you if you don’t continue to nurture that relationship. If growth overwhelms and disrupts your usual delivery times and customer expectations, you risk becoming cumbersome to deal with.
One way to scale is to hire a professional service provider for things like HR and payroll. You can go through traditional company registration or meet with representatives from a local company to help you get set up.
Another way to set up a scalable operation is to create systems for delivering products and services in a streamlined fashion. For example, once you finish putting together a product or service offering, you should figure out how to scale it up and provide it to an unlimited number of people.
Even if your company never grows beyond a certain size, the fact that you’re able to service more customers is of inestimable value to you. When customers don’t have to worry about whether you can service them, they’ll gladly do business with you.
Prepare for Contingency
Finally, have a contingency plan or a continuity plan. If something disruptive happens to you or your company, be it its finances or supply lines, what happens to your customers? How will they get service and who will they be able to get to solve their ongoing product or service needs?
Be prepared and have a plan for unwinding the business’s continuity if the need arises. And always let your customers know what this plan is upfront so that it doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, businesses and markets rise and fall based on expectations.