By Devin Morrissey
Starting a business is a stressful and exciting endeavor. Even more stressful and exciting is when that business is doing so well that serious expansion is the the next logical step. Though success is the ultimate goal of any entrepreneur, there are some growing pains involved.
If you are at a point where you are looking to expand your business into a new city or state, there many things you need to take into account before making that leap.
The logical first step in expanding your business into a new city to to find a great location. You obviously chose a real winner with your first location, so the same questions you asked yourself when you chose your current spot need to be asked again. Does the area have a need for your product or service? Will there be heavy competition with your offerings? Will the projected sales cover or exceed cost of operation in the new city, including rent, wages, and commercial property taxes? These are just a few important questions to contemplate.
One thing to consider when looking for a new city to operate are fast-growing cities. There are a number of cities that are experiencing exponential growth, and not all of them are already large and grossly expensive. Boise, ID is a good example of a city that is still relatively small when compared to a cities like Portland, OR or Seattle, WA, but is experiencing considerable growth, coming in at number 11 on Forbes’ list of fastest growing cities in America. Business opportunities are bound to be plentiful, yet still fiscally manageable, in cities like these.
All companies, no matter what services or products they offer, will have a number of different records and data they keep track of. During a move or expansion, it’s easy for things to get lost or misplaced, especially if you keep a number of hard copy documents. With the digital world as expansive and useful as it is these days, you should be doing your best to get all of your business information and data digitized and onto a cloud, especially with how fast pasted information is collected and shared nowadays. With all your important information existing on a cloud, you will be able to access it anywhere and create backups in case of computer damage and malfunction or hard copy misplacements during an expansion or move into a new city.
Of course, while all of your business information being digital is incredibly useful and convenient, it also makes it vulnerable to cybercrime. It is incredibly important for your business to think about network security when it comes to protecting your business and client data. A data breach can devastate your business. Make sure you set up secure firewalls and utilize security programs and anti-spyware and virus software that will protect your computer and information. Instruct your employees for best digital safety practices when dealing with your business data, such as using strong passwords for company accounts, and staying off of untrustworthy sites to avoid accidental spyware installation or virus attack.
While you may have a pretty successful and vast presence in your current location, you will be starting from scratch once you set up shop in your new city. You may need to revise and rethink your current marketing strategies. Whatever your tactics have been in the past, focusing on digital marketing is the way of sustainable businesses now; customers are growing more and more aware of how the businesses they support are operating. Investing in digital marketing is one way you can incorporate sustainable practices into your business.
Digital marketing is not only more sustainable, it’s often cheaper than other marketing strategies, such as flyers and newspaper ads. One of the most useful and important digital marketing tools is social media, which is free, and has options for paid advertising opportunities as well. Making your social media presence known in your new city is incredibly important to developing a successful presence.
One way to grow your following on your social media channels with followers from your new location is to partner up with a local business that is complementary with yours and sharing media and tags. There are plenty of big companies collaborating, and it can be just as successful for small businesses. For example, many food trucks do this by teaming up with popular breweries in the area they want to develop a presence in and will tag each other in their social media posts. Other companies will team up with local charities with good standing in the community. Think about what partnerships would be beneficial to your company and see what connections you can make.
Expanding your business can be stressful, but it’s also a necessary step for continued growth and success. As long as you take the time to ask questions, research, and plan carefully, you are bound to have continued success in your new city.
Devin Morrissey prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zig zag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.