Branching out geographically is a way to grow a business. But small business owners who want to expand their operations often don’t know the best ways to go about it. Duplicating current success in another market requires careful planning and execution.
BlackEnterprise.com surveyed the members of Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. BE asked the collective: What is one do (or don’t) for expanding a business outside of your region (city or state)? Here’s their response:
1. Do Leverage Digital Marketing.
We do very little business in the city where we are headquartered, which means our marketing strategy is highly focused on referrals and inbound digital marketing. Rather than rushing out to hire local salespeople, focus on connecting with your target clients via online forums and industry-specific content. Then plan visits to connect in person with the connections you make via social media.
2. Don’t Forget Your Operating Agreement(s).
Never forget, you typically need an operating agreement for each state outside of your own that you begin to expand into.
3. Do Commit to a Real Investment.
If you’re going to expand into new regions, you need to calculate — and commit to — the real costs of this endeavor. Expansion can be an expensive investment; consider costs for business development, building a team, office space, etc. If you’re going to do it, you really need to do it, so make sure you can afford the expense.