With the pandemic seemingly bringing the economy to a standstill, small businesses must be wringing their decision-makers out for the best course of action. At such a critical time, it’s safe to say that it’s only either of the two: pivot or perish. To expand one’s operations to a wider territory also often comes to mind, if that’s what it takes to stay afloat. Although the chances of failing are far from zero during this unusual period, heeding the following tips will at least help small businesses stay afloat when deciding to branch out:
Never Undermine a Good PESTLE Analysis
As overused this marketing tool is, PESTLE analysis remains to be a fool-proof way a business can carefully plan its way into new territory. Executives such as those of a HUBZone business know well the regulatory complexities of operating within their home turf. It is wise to anticipate these complexities to intensify in the process of creating a foothold in a new locality or country.
Small businesses may think they do not have what it takes to expand just yet, but these are often limiting beliefs that could be overcome once they get a good grasp, first, of the socio-political climate of the market they’re planning to enter. It is worth considering the natural divide a country’s leaders may have in viewing foreign investments. The same is true for their constituents who may have strong sentiments towards cultural preservation and may or may not view international business as encroaching into centuries of tradition.
And just like huge corporations who are mostly being held accountable for worsening global warming, small businesses can’t be too lenient when it comes to working towards the common goal of a circular economy. They, too, must be conscious of the apparent mind shift inertia, wherein less developed countries, often where industrial waste is dumped or whose rich biodiversity is ruined by farmland conversions, are yet to understand that we are striving to trim off the environmentally destructive parts of commercialization and that includes the use of plastic and carbon-emitting practices.
Likewise, technology must be approached in a manner that aids in alleviating the devastating effects commercialization has wrought on the environment. How will these businesses’ infrastructure help improve the lives of the community they are about to enter, and how much can they upgrade it for efficiency purposes? It is just as important to make sure that they abide by the foreign territory’s laws, especially those concerning consumer awareness and safety, environmental preservation, labor, trade, and economy.
Deeper Understanding of Customer Culture
Sure, your brand is fairly known where you started, and you can say your products or services have gained a good reputation. But, it is best to assume that you’re back to square one when approaching a fresh set of audience, all with unique conception of things, upbringing, and preferences. It can be said that introducing your brand is the easiest part.
Establishing not just a hypothetical but a more tangible foothold takes a deep understanding of the average customer in the new area, his socio-demographic profile, and how he prefers to be approached. This brings us back to the classic marketing tactic of storytelling that’s sure to strike an emotional chord, if not tap onto an element of the consumer’s past. Failing to do this will imply that your brand is somewhat a bubble that your target audience can vaguely perceive.
Immerse in the New Environment
All the planning may sound ideal on paper until it is tested out in the actual market. You may also think that all the market research you did is adequate. Still, it’s important to remember that the economy and society within which your target market thrives are ever-changing. It is, therefore, imperative to acclimate your team just before officially launching in the new place.
By immersing in the new environment, you can access local suppliers and your competitors and just have a general gist of how the industry works in a foreign setting. You’ll discover that you can implement improvements in your strategy and make it more appropriate to the locality. You could gradually introduce your brand by sponsoring local events or even hosting one as early as then.
Expansion takes a lot of courage, but businesses often last because they bit the bullet anyway. Testing one’s stakes in a new project like expansion should always be preceded by intensive planning and research. Successful businesses started small, and their growth resulted from riding the uncertainty with calculated steps.