An obvious and potentially exciting strategy to build your business is to expand interstate, or into another city or town in your region. Many people follow this path very successfully, and build a national network of offices, but others are not so successful. Work though the following checklist before you proceed, in order to determine if you’re ready to take the plunge:
Strategy & Research
Is market expansion the best strategy for my business right now? (Refer article on Strategies for Building Your Business.)
Which market will offer the best opportunities for me?
Where will I find most of my target market – which state/city; which area?
Where are my competitors and how strong are they in each of those areas?
Is there room in the market for another supplier (me)?
Are there any barriers to entering that market?
Will I be taken seriously as a new entrant to the market?
Have any of my competitors followed this path – did they succeed?
Do I have any specific customer opportunities in the new market?
Have I tested the real opportunities that exist by talking to existing and potential customers?
What will it cost to enter this market?
How long will it take to start making revenue?
How much cash will I burn in setting up the branch?
Is it easy to find appropriate offices?
Could I share an office with a complementary supplier to start with?
Is a serviced office an option?
Where do I need to be located to be able to service my customers?
How will I staff the new office?
Will I send someone from the main office, or relocate there myself for a period of time?
Will staff be easy to recruit? How many people will I need?
How will they know what to do and what I expect from them?
What will it cost?
Will I be able to attract staff to a small branch office?
Do I have guidelines for the branch staff – for goals, performance and other expectations?
How will we launch into the new market?
What are the risks of doing this?
What is the risk if we don’t do it?
What does the cashflow look like for the first year?
When do we start to make money?
How much money will we make over the next 12/24/36 months?
How will this branch office grow?
Will we need to fly staff between the head office and the branch for training, support and customer service requirements?
How often and what will that cost?
Do I have a clear plan to follow for implementation of this strategy over a specific period of time?
After having worked through this checklist, the last question is: have I worked through the options and considerations objectively, and identified that opening a branch office now is the right strategy for my business?