Is your business focused on the future? Have you got big plans? Reaching out to the world on a massive scale? Your business is sure to be the next Google, Facebook, McDonald's, or Gucci, right? But is your brand ready for that kind of leap?
The first question to ask yourself when considering taking your business to a new country, or even community, is to understand how you’re running your business. Have you standardized your operations? Do you have a set product that can’t be altered or a set delivery system? Perhaps a rigid call-in system? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not ready to take your business global.
Consider this: Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted to break into the Chinese market. However, fried chicken isn’t overly popular in China, not like rice and porridge are. So what did they do? Altered their menu to accommodate the local community. That way, they maintained their brand, and expanded to a new market, bringing their wares to an entirely new part of the globe.
Think about it. Having a business is all about supplying your customer’s demand. If you’re expanding to a totally new market, your clientele may not know they need your product. It’s your job to customize your product in order to localize it and end up with a mutually beneficial arrangement.
This doesn’t only apply to an international market. It can work domestically as well.
Techniques or products that may be helpful in New York City, may not be as helpful in Orlando. People and personalities vary greatly from state to state and even city to city. Even things like language are different. For example, a liquor store in the southeast is a package store in the northeast. Being able to provide your customers with a localized touch can help them feel comfortable with you as a business. Something as small as using familiar language can go a long way. If you have standardized procedures, you may not be able to accommodate them on this very important personal level.
You’ve established you want to try to penetrate a new market. That’s great! But why should you make the extra effort to reach this specific market? Localization can be costly and time-consuming, so why bother?
Supporting small business is becoming a huge movement across America. Small Business Saturday and Shop Local are just two huge campaigns pushing people to spend their money locally rather than with a corporation that holds market share. The mentality behind it is that a small business is personal, human. At their core, people want that human touch and interaction. So, the more you can provide that, the better. Whether it’s through local advertising, opening a local branch, operating according to their local time zone, or even sponsoring local events, making your presence felt among the local community can prove to be a priceless investment.
Another idea to help increase your local visibility is to become involved with the local chamber of commerce. In addition to networking, the chamber of commerce is another resource for you to learn about growth in your new community, and familiarize yourself with local policies and trends.
As with any successful business venture, localization requires a huge amount of research, and constant adaptation in order to ensure success. You can not get comfortable once you’ve moved into your new market. Stagnation means the death of your business.
So, you have to constantly stay on top of:
Most of these concepts of adaptation apply to your familiar market and are just as important when you’re infiltrating a new market. One thing is for sure, if you fail to adapt, your competition will be there to fill the gaps you’ve left behind. So be sure to target your audience and localize your business to reach the new local community on a very personal level.