All companies have to grow: it helps them find security in new customers and markets; it helps them to stay ahead of the competition, and avoid missing out on opportunities; perhaps most importantly, it stops them going out of date. Growth means constantly looking to the future, ready to innovate and capitalise on the latest market trends – it’s a healthy impulse for a business.
You have to plan to ensure you get your growth right. If you don’t do enough (or any) research in your new product development process or when you’re deciding where to open a new branch, you might find you’re ploughing resources into an endeavour that your customers don’t want, and won’t spend money with!
Getting New Products Right
The most important thing when you’re planning to launch a new product is to continually test your ideas against your customers wants’ and needs. Partnering with a market research agency can really help you here, as they can find representative, unbiased groups of people to survey, and see how your designs resonate with customers as they develop. If your customers don’t respond well to your product, or even understand how it can benefit them, then you need to start looking in a different direction rather than pouring resources into something your customers don’t want!
Getting a New Location Right
Whether you’re a high street retail company or based in an office, offering services like recruitment or accounting, then one profitable way to grow is to open a new location. This gives you access to more customers in your new town, or part of the city, as well as more capacity: with more space you can employ more people and, quite simply, do more business.
The issue you need to avoid here is opening in the wrong place: if there is no market for you in your new location, you’ll spend more time and money than you can afford trying to persuade people to travel to you. This makes your expansion more expensive, and delays when it begins to repay your investment. Some basic market research can help you identify a location that has customers who’ll be waiting for your brand without excess competition.
Getting a New Market Right
A new market is distinct from simply a new location: breaking into a new market means dealing with an entirely different group of customers, rather than the same demographic but elsewhere. Most people look for new markets in different countries, as customers there can be ‘easy wins’, allowing you to use similar marketing and some of your brand’s existing reputation to get a head start.
If you’re not able to ship reliably to this new market you might find you’re doing some damage to your reputation. If customer find their products held up in customs, or they’re asked to pay fees then your new market will reject very quickly, and turning around that bad experience can be difficult work.