Are you hoping to expand your business into new geographic markets? This can be a risky move for any business, no matter how big or small. To make it a success, follow these simple tips:

Prepare internally.

Before you begin expanding into different territories, you have to make sure that you have the internal resources to pull it off. Do you have the people and capital that you’ll need to expand into new markets? If not, do you have the ability to secure what you need? Expanding into a new market may seem like a great idea, but not every business is ready for it. Make sure yours is by doing an internal assessment prior to the launch.

Research the market.

Before you expand, you have to determine what your competitors are already doing in the new market. Are there any gaps in their distribution? Do you have ideas on how to improve on their marketing strategies? It might be a wise idea to talk to your wholesale distributor and see if he has any advice for you. Since wholesale distributors work directly with the retailers, they hear a lot of feedback about what’s selling, what’s not, and what customers are demanding. Tapping into this knowledge may give you an edge over what your competitors are already doing.

Add new products.

Once you’ve done the research on your market, you may find that customers in other territories have different preferences than the customers you already serve. For example, let’s say you sell vanilla scented candles, but have found that customers in the new market prefer fruitier or feminine scents. In this scenario, it might be wise to expand your product line as you enter these new markets.

Prioritize markets.

During the research phase, you may have made a list of potential markets that would be a good fit for your brand. Before expanding, narrow this list down to the top three or five. Then, prioritize these top choices and decide which market you want to expand into first. Expanding too quickly could be financially difficult and stretch the company’s resources too thin. Find success in one market before moving onto the other one. Each area that you expand into will teach you valuable lessons that you can carry over with you into the next market, so take it slow to make it a success.

Start marketing early.

Some companies make the mistake of waiting until the product has entered the new territory to begin marketing efforts. However, brands should always be proactive and start aggressive marketing campaigns prior to the launch in a new market. Utilize all channels including social media, billboards, television and radio, that are relevant to your brand. Keep the message consistent, and when you begin to work with wholesale distributors, make sure that the signage they use in stores matches your other branding efforts. All of this marketing will help stir up consumer interest and create buzz around your product before you even get there!

Have you expanded your business into new territories? What strategy did you use to pull it off? Tell us in the comments below!