How SMEs Can Thrive When Expanding into New Markets

By Morgan Browne, CEO and Founder of Enterpryze

For new and small businesses, it’s never been more important to define your target market properly to avoid wasted spending and budget by communicating to the wrong people. Instead, by focusing their efforts on a well-specified target market, SMEs are well on their way to taking on bigger brands in new demographics. 

Going broad vs. narrowing it down

While it’s tempting to promote your products and services to everyone and anyone who will listen, this isn’t the best option when trying to stand out in a new market. From experience, attempting to paint a pretty picture for audiences based on age, lifestyle or interests is too broad and will leave your brand at risk of having a confusing messaging strategy. 

Targeted marketing on the other hand, is the secret sauce to more successful ROI and customer loyalty. 

This is much more cost-efficient and likely to reach qualified audiences that will eventually buy from you. 

One of the first steps of getting your target market right is through understanding the various nuances and perspectives of your audiences. 

Let’s say you’re planning to expand to another country that you see real business potential in. 

While the quality of your products and services can remain the same, there’s a need to navigate cultural diversity, different business practices there, and specific needs of your audiences in that country. 

If need be, you can also adjust product offers, marketing strategies and your brand message to relate to a specific country’s values, people, beliefs, and culture. 

Unfortunately, many businesses plunge headlong into these waters without first honing the abilities they’ll need to stay afloat. This can result in costing a business a substantial amount of money.

Creating your market adaptation plan beforehand is a fantastic way of understanding what needs to be done before launching in a new foreign country or planning to promote your products and services to a new target market altogether. 

This market adaptation plan could constitute new customer personas that will potentially be interested in your brand, new product lines that are relevant to a company, and different pricing strategies. 

Look out for growing pains 

It might not all be smooth sailing when expanding into new markets or countries , but that doesn’t mean you can’t hammer down fail-safes to avoid certain hurdles. 

A whole world of reporting, analytics and paperwork awaits growing businesses. 

Being bogged down by administrative tasks is one of the ways that SMEs can lose track of the vision and end goal – which is why a lot of these processes should be automated as soon as possible. 

Seeing the broad picture while not worrying about the smaller  details will allow for everyone in the team to make faster decisions with more precision. 

Rethink how you look at procedures, including inventory tracking in warehouses in foreign countries, viewing sales prices in different currencies,  and see how best to streamline these processes through automation, so managing them doesn’t become an added hassle. 

Delays, accidents, labor shortages, transportation and delivery issues, and other logistical and infrastructural difficulties may be major barriers for companies entering a new market. 

Implementing technology to resolve this bottleneck will also reduce the costs that come with fixing human error or a reduction in productivity. 

This usually comes in the form of a management software that allows businesses to view their inventory and sales operations from different streams or multiple locations. 

While you’re mitigating all risks internally, set up a game plan for external obstacles too. 

These could be trouble understanding and following the regulations of your selected market. For instance, an Asian-based SME thinking about bringing business overseas to Europe must be fully compliant with the GDPR regulations if they hope to interact with European consumers. 

Data privacy standards and local laws should not be ignored or kept to the last minute to follow as failing to meet these could put a damper on your expansion plans. 

Hiring a consultancy firm or appointing an expert in these new markets would reduce the workload of your entire team who might or might not be sure of the best way to start with these regulations. 

Entering a new market is an exciting yet long journey ahead for any small business. 

However, these risks and possibilities go hand in hand – and if executed well, can be a complete game-changer for your business. 

So, whether you’re expanding to a foreign country or merely just keen on looking at a new target market and demographics; the key to market expansion success lies in your team’s ability to plan, strategize, execute, and analyse every step of the way.

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