Some tips for getting your startup expansion strategy in place are:
1. Understanding Your Target Market
Members of your target market typically share similar characteristics, personal interests and behaviors. Some examples of these specific groups include:
- Seniors over the age of 50
- Single moms
- Young adults interested in science fiction
To gain insights on your target market, you’ll want to:
Define your ideal customers, including their age, income, gender, location and demographics. Understanding this can give you a strong base to work from in the rest of your research.
Gather survey data on your market interests, preferences and dislikes. This can help you create products that better solve consumers’ problems and fit their needs. You can also easily send your surveys to your audience with email marketing campaigns or through the mail.
Create ideal customer personas that outline behaviors, expectations and your target customers’ needs. You’ll also want these to describe the challenges your customers face. This can help you customize messaging to better relate to specific types of people.
Look at social media to see who your target market is following and how they use different platforms. You’ll also want to look at how they engage with your competitors on these sites and which types of content they like or share the most.
Use Google Analytics to see if your content is working for your target audience. For example, you’ll want to look at the pieces of content that are most popular with your customers, including blogs and social media posts.
2. Analyzing the Competition
For a competitive analysis, you’ll want to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the other companies you’re up against. To do this, you’ll want to:
Research who your competitors are: The best starting point is to see who offers the same products and services as you. You can use search engines like google to read through industry blogs. From there, you can attend different conferences and networking events to meet other companies face to face and see what they’re offering.
Monitor social media: Rely on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see what the public is saying about your competitors. This gives you insight into your customers’ opinions and expectations.
Ask your customers: This is one of the cheapest ways to gather information. If you gain a new customer, ask them who they used before you and why they’ve switched. You’ll want to understand why they weren’t happy with their previous supplier and then use this to help your operation improve.
Look at competitor’s job postings: For this, you’ll want to see what roles they’re hiring, which can give you insight into how they’re expanding their operation and hint at the direction they’re taking their company.
Some lessons you’ll learn during your analysis that’ll help improve your business plan include:
- New ideas for sales and marketing
- How to better engage your audience on social media
- What competitive pricing for your industry looks like
- The most common content types that your audience interacts with
- What niche markets are out there
- Which competitors have greater market share compared to others
3. Identifying a Value Proposition
Your value proposition outlines how your products and services help your customers. This increases your startup growth because it helps your target audience understand the value of each product or service you offer. It also helps consumers differentiate your company from competitors.
Establishing your value proposition is also important for engaging investors in your startup. It’ll help them better realize how your product fits into the lives of customers and therefore is relevant. They’ll also look to see how long your target audience will need your product and will want to see ideas that solve long-term problems for people and have the potential to be sold for years.
4. Establishing Long-Term Goals for Your Startup
Long-term goals give your business consistent direction and motivation and are a key to a successful business model. They also give everyone at your company a path to follow for success by reducing confusion around your business plan. They’ll help your company focus on both small and major tasks throughout each year, which can increase productivity.
Some key features of achievable goals are that they’re:
- Measurable: This allows you to see progress over time. You can also use this to keep your workers’ motivated.
- Specific: Each goal you set should outline who’s involved, what the expectations are, when it’s expected to finish and why it’s important.
- Time-based: Long-term goals should still include a timeframe. This can serve as a motivator to keep your startup on track for completion. You can then set smaller goals to help push you toward the longer goal.
- Relevant: You should clearly understand how your goals fit into your organization, mission statement and company purpose. They should also have a long-term importance for your company.
Some examples of long-term goals for startups include:
- Reducing business expenses by 10%
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Hiring your first employee by the end of the year
- Opening a second business location in 5 years
- Starting referral programs where customers get awarded if they send someone new to your location
- Using social media marketing
5. Picking a Location With Growth Potential
Your business’ location can make or break your company’s success. Whether you’re looking to set up a physical office, work from home or share a work space, you’ll want to strategize about the best place for your operation.
Some questions to ask yourself before choosing your location include:
Do you want a formal office building or a casual work environment? This should be consistent with your company’s style and brand.
How close do you want to be to your target audience? In the beginning, it’s often better to be near your customer base so they don’t have to travel far to get your products.
Will you need a large parking lot? You’ll want to look at accessibility for your customers, employees and suppliers. The more customers you expect will visit during the day, the larger you’ll want your accommodations to be.
What’s your price for real estate? Before you set out looking for properties, you’ll want to know your budget. For instance, do you want to lease or buy an office? Knowing this can help you narrow down areas more easily.
Will there be competitors nearby? In most cases, being close to the competition is a good thing. For instance, restaurants can pick up overflow traffic from other food destinations that have a long wait.
How visible do you want your business to be? Generally, you’ll want to set up an office that’s closer to popular areas where people frequent. This increases the chances of new customers walking in. However, if this isn’t important to you, you can always set up a virtual office with less expenses, or even a mobile office that you can take to different locations. Keep in mind that physical, virtual and mobile workplaces all have different office-related tax deductions.
6. Building a Startup Team
You’ll want a startup team that’s well-rounded. That means you’ll need to hire the right business advisors like a:
- Product manager that oversees your products’ strategy and growth.
- Marketing officer who focuses on your company’s view of your product.
- Sales manager that can develop new leads and bring in money for your company.
However, these three roles won’t fit all your needs. Small businesses that are just starting out often outsource:
- Certified public accountants (CPA)
- Content writers
- HR professionals
- Web developers
- Insurance professionals
7. Develop a Startup Growth Plan
Startups fail more than they’re successful. To help ensure your business is on the road to a prosperous future, you’ll need to develop the right startup growth strategies. These detailed plans come together by combining your target market, value proposition and goals. They also merge your content marketing and social media marketing strategy.