There will come a time when you will saturate the market and have to consider growing your business by entering a new location. While there are many factors to consider, current relationships could play a major role in the success of the new location. As you and your team begin searching and planning, remember to consider your relationships with your customers, employees, vendors, and business procurement contracts.
A good place to start is market research on the new location specifically on its customers. Next, determine if there are enough people to make it worth your time, money, and resources. Also, be sure that you have something unique to offer that sets you apart from the competition. This could ensure longevity in the new market.
When entering into new territory, your current team will be important. Obviously, you will have to add additional staff but be prepared to temporarily, or in some cases, permanently take existing staff to help jumpstart the new location. This can be a challenge because you will need to determine who will go versus who will stay to ensure that the new and existing locations are both successful. Be prepared to offer incentives to those moving temporarily or permanently because some employees will not want to move for various reasons.
Talk to your vendors to determine who has the capa- bility to continue to service you in the new location. More than likely, they will be happy to learn that they will be obtaining more business as this could grow their business too. This will save you time from having to build new relation- ships allowing you to focus on other factors. However, if your vendors are not in the new location, you will need to identify new vendors and identify the vendors with the best reputation to help you move your new location for- ward.
Another factor to consider is existing business procurement contracts that you serve? This is your opportunity to learn how well you are meeting their needs. Be prepared to learn that most likely they already have someone in place. However, if the current service provider is not doing a good job, this could be your opportunity to move in and acquire the business. On the other hand, if the current service provider is doing a good job, you will at least want to find out about the next open bid period. Also, remember to ask if you can serve as secondary or subcontractor until a primary opportunity becomes available.
Obviously, there are many more factors to consider when expanding your business. However, your current relationships could be the key to the success of the new location. Therefore, if you have already established good working relationships, it is likely that your success will carry over to the new location. The bottom line is that the people around you can play a major part in making your business successful. So, cultivate the relationships you have and be prepared to reap the benefits of the seeds that you have sown.
(Source: Michelle Griffin, Business Consultant at UGA SBDC in Columbus)