Expansion can be both a risky and necessary aspect of any business, but this is particularly true in the volatile world of housing. Many owners fantasize about the possibility of expanding their businesses but shudder at the reality of the daunting task of making it happen.
Is the Time Right?
The very first step: deciding whether the business is even ready for expansion and whether the opportunity outweighs the risk. There are some clear indicators that can help you decide when it’s a good time for your agency to increase its operation and steps that owners can take to help ensure a success of your expansion. Is your business doing well beyond its typical reach? Then it might be time to consider expanding yours.
One direct sign that your presence is growing is that people from more distant markets are inquiring about your services. If clients are consistently calling from different areas to ask about your availability, it’s a solid sign that you are establishing yourself as trusted name in not only your own markets, but surrounding areas as well. It’s also a great indication of regions needing more qualified representation—a gap needing to be filled and fast.
Another indicator of expansion readiness is that your office is receiving maximum leads with minimal effort. If your marketing efforts are returning a wave of leads and your team is struggling to keep up, you may do well with a sister agency. Completing a benefits analysis for your business can show you exactly what you will gain and risk with your expected growth, and bring forth any previously unseen shortcomings that may need to be addressed before continuing toward expansion.
You’ve Decided. Now What?
Once you have decided the time is right to expand your business, the process in front of you can seem overwhelming and precarious. However, a well-planned expansion not only can be successful but can also be much simpler than expected.
The first step is performing proper research of the projected expansion area as well as an analysis of your business. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the targeted region is a good way to begin your target market research. Gather information about the competition in the proposed area that includes how they are excelling and how they could improve. Also, include ways your new business will contribute to the market and weaknesses that you may need to address. This approach will give you an idea of what the new community already has, what it’s lacking, and how your agency can best fit the area’s needs. This research will help you lay out specific services and agenda of your company.
When you have completed market research, you will need to create a new business plan. This may be similar to your existing plan but will need to be adjusted to encompass your new market and goals.
Making the Move
Premarketing in your new location is crucial. You will want to introduce yourself, your team, and your business to the community before your business officially arrives. An office warming party or neighborhood celebration can work wonders to establish your brand, and inviting businesses and professionals from the community is a great way to introduce yourself to potential partners and clients. Additionally, offering introductory discounts at your welcoming event and through direct mail and email marketing is a great way to encourage early involvement. By getting active in the area early and often, your business will already feel like a neighbor when you join the community.
Expansion is an unnerving yet crucial aspect of business. The FORCE offers resources and friendly advice through its webinars and newsletter concerning business management, marketing efforts, and regional outlooks to help you prepare and execute a successful expansion.