“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney, the founder of J.C. Penney.
Growing in the business world requires ingenuity, a focus on your core business strategy, and plenty of hard work. While everyone wants the increased profit that comes from growth, you must have a deeper motivation to grow successfully. Expand for the benefit of your customers and investors instead of growing just for the sake of it. Keep it simple with these four strategies to expand your market reach.
Seek New Distribution Channels
Advancements in technology and distribution are the constant drivers of market expansion. They consistently generate new distribution channels.
Yesterday’s Sears is a perfect example of this. During the late 1800s, the company expanded as a result of the Sears mail-order catalog and the country’s rail service. People who lived in rural areas now had access to the business’s products, prompting company growth. The railroad not only transported goods to shoppers, but it also brought more products to the department store. This increase in products allowed Sears to expand even more. Sears started out as a business that sold watches by mail order and transitioned into a major department store that sold everything from pantyhose to build-your-own-house kits. Today, digital distribution channels form direct links between producers, buyers, and sellers.
Expand your market reach by seeking new distribution channels. First, determine the proper channels for your business. Then see if you can sell your product or service to your target customer directly. If you must go through a retailer or wholesaler, form a partnership with a shipping company or another business that offers complementary products or services to grow your market reach.
Bring a New Product to the Market
You’ve been providing a successful service or delivering a quality product for a while now and are ready to grow your market reach with something new. Bring a new product to the market by using the data collected on your current product or service, checking customer feedback and completing research.
According to Forbes, the first steps of product development are analyzing what your current and future customers need and want, surveying how satisfied they are with what is already out there, and tracking their usage habits. Also, look for ways to upgrade existing products and services.
Generate new ideas by breaking down barriers between departments. When you’re diving into new development phases, it’s essential to define your business’s goals and deadlines. It’s also important to determine the proper budget, human resources, and time needed to bring a new product to the market. Assess the segment that you’re gearing your product or service toward. This research will allow you to predict the future buying habits of your current and potential customers as much as possible.
Embrace product development tools. You can assemble them according to your defined criteria and use them to identify needs. You will then be ready to develop your new product or service concept.
Your new product should satisfy your customers, overtake the competition, and offer the best profit potential. Be sure to test your prototype and confirm that it will be useful to your clients, be available at a good time, and function effectively. New products or services are exciting. When you release something new, you’ll grab the attention of your existing customer base and gain new ones.
Broaden Your Appeal
Expand your market reach by broadening your appeal. Our country is diverse, so take advantage of that by marketing your product or services to different cultural groups.
Forbes contributor Megan Totka wrote, “I remember a joking phrase I used to hear in the workplace when managers wanted something tweaked. They would say they wanted it ‘exactly the same, but different.’ In many ways, Americans from varying backgrounds are exactly the same, but different.”
If you’ve established your business in a niche market, you’re sure to find its equivalent in another one within different language and cultural groups without changing your base product or service much.
Broaden your appeal and consider age—by this, we mean products and services that are marketed toward one age group are just as appealing to another. For instance, baby boomers may be at retirement age or approaching it quickly, but they don’t see themselves as seniors. Baby boomers and millennials both like retro apparel items since baby boomers remember wearing them in their youth while millennials place value on things that will last.
If your clients are people who work in certain professions, broaden your market reach by expanding into other markets. For example, a company that provides cleaning services to restaurants could also clean other businesses. Or a yoga studio could rent its space out to independent trainers during the hours that it’s not offering yoga classes. Be creative when it comes to expanding via broadening—your next big growth spurt could come from unexpected sources.
Strengthen Your Brand
Strengthen your brand to make it more visible and expand your market reach. If you’re considering a global effort, plan on developing a custom approach for every region. However, it’s just as important to stay loyal to your brand. Make sure that it remains recognizable regardless of where it appears. Even if you’re selling a new product or offering a new service, keep one uniform voice.
Depending on the market and where you’re trying to expand, you may need to change your brand slightly, but do everything possible to keep it as consistent as you can across the board. A brand must be unified from the inside out. It is not about branding in the area of design or advertising. Instead, it is about branding as a culture or business strategy.
Strong brands open doors. People want goods and services from brands that they know. There’s a reason why Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world. People know that when they purchase an Apple computer or smartphone, the device will last—if it doesn’t, then Apple will make it right.
Customers have a preconceived notion about well-known brands. They assume that because they’re well-known, they will do a good job for them. While branding is much more than just making people aware of your business, having a familiar one will get you in the door and increase market expansion.
A strong brand decreases the consumer’s risk. You are never selling your products or services to an unfeeling corporate giant even if the company is an unfeeling corporate giant—people run the giant, and they are the ones choosing your product or service over a competitor. Many a sale has been successful because the purchasers like the people who are in charge of the deal. Good inside people strengthen a business’s brand.
Growing Bigger and Better
These four strategies to expand market reach are adaptable for all types of businesses. While careful planning is one key to expansion, taking an acceptable amount of risk is the other important element. Keep it all in check with continuous evaluation and don’t be afraid to change direction if one or more of the strategies aren’t working for you.