Maybe you’re going international with a rapidly growing company. Maybe you just want to get your start-up out of your brother’s basement.
Whatever your reasons for expanding your brand, here are just a few things that you’ll need for success!
1. Measurable, Actionable Goals
You can’t do anything without a game plan. Before you put on a headset and prowl the sidelines, however, make sure that you’re setting the right kinds of goals.
Anyone can “make money” or “provide valuable service for clients.” These vague, unspecific goals aren’t very conducive to business growth.
If you’re serious about expanding, you’ll need to be a different kind of leader.
You’ll need to set measurable benchmarks for yourself like “make X amount of money every month” or “decrease customer call times by Y percent.”
Not only will this keep you focused, but it will also be a good way to track your progress as you go.
2. Contacts Within the Industry
A lot of entrepreneurs want to strike out like Mark Zuckerberg. They dream of being independent, self-sufficient and capable of wearing flip-flops to board meetings because they’re just that powerful.
In the real world, however, most people need to network to build their empire.
Whether it’s arranging special deals with vendors or even licensing your products to other manufacturers, it can be very beneficial to reach out, especially if you’re trying to expand into a new market.
Don’t be shy. Make new friends that can help you, and someday, you might be in a position to help them in return.
Read also: 10 Tips for Doing Business with Denmark
3. Cultural Sensitivity
Are you taking your brand overseas? You’ve probably heard about embarrassing translation gaffes by big companies like Chevrolet and Coca-Cola.
One famous example is when KFC opened restaurants in China, and their slogan “finger-lickin’ good” became “eat your fingers off.”
International expansion is about more than just new logos and taglines, however. You’ll need to truly understand your broadening demographic if you want to appeal to them and gain their loyalty.
This means researching their language, cultural norms, shopping habits and everyday wants and fears.
What do they value as consumers? What would attract them to your brand? What would make them run in the other direction?
4. Offices That Can Accommodate Growth
You can’t hire more employees until you have desk space for them. You can’t meet clients and hold conferences without room for everyone to spread out.
When you’re ready to take your business into the big leagues, it’s absolutely critical for your environment to reflect your ambitions.
This could mean everything from glass lobby doors to eco-friendly toilets in the bathrooms. However you decide to remodel, it needs to accommodate both present and future growth of your brand.
Get out your sketchpad and start making blueprints!
5. Constant Vigilance Towards Your Competitors
What are your rivals doing? What kind of products, services and sales are they offering? What kind of feedback are they receiving on social media? How do their profits compare to yours? Are their safety rates higher? Are their marketing campaigns more successful?
This might sound like a lot to research, but it’s a necessary measure for staying ahead of the competition.
Don’t be afraid to really dig into their business workings. If they’re at the top of the industry, you want to copy whatever they’re doing right; if they’re flagging behind everyone else, you want to avoid whatever they’re doing wrong. Either way, you’ll need to do your homework.
6. Payment Options
Some people like to use credit and debit cards. Others prefer cash, checks, bank transfers or sites like PayPal.
There are all kinds of statistics that break down the preferred payment options of different demographics. But the bottom line is that not everyone likes to whip out a MasterCard to do their shopping, so it’s worth the effort of having multiple payment options as a 21st-century business.
If you’re going international, you should also know about the payment preferences of different countries. Again: Pay attention to the local culture when you’re going global!
At the end of the day, none of your employees will be excited about your business unless you are.
You set the standard for your subordinates. If you’re thrilled to be expanding and eager to tackle the challenges of the future, they’ll get into the spirit as well. If you walk around complaining about all of the changes, they’ll take that as permission to grumble, too.
Try to stay passionate and motivated about your business even on its difficult days. Hold onto the zeal that you had when you first started work!
These are just a few essentials for expanding your business. As you can see, there’s a lot more to the process than just hanging up a new shingle and declaring yourself ready for a bigger market. You’ll need to be careful, deliberate and well informed if you really want to succeed. Good luck!