Expansion has and will always be a sign of progress within a business. There’s no point denying it. When you see a company doing well in various industries, you can tell that there’s a lot of money being made. However, it’s not wise to try it out without due preparation. A young company that tries to do too many things at once might find itself spread very thin.
The first thing you need to know before venturing into another industry is in fact, establish good enough ground in the one you currently specialize in. For example, if you’re in the business of office application software, then you should at least first make a name for you company and focus your efforts entirely to making software sales and closing deals with prospects. However, you might realize that because you’re still such a young firm, getting prospects can be a different specialization in of itself.
This is why outsourcing is often cited as a solution. In this case, advertising can be a good start. Advertising firms always know what it takes to research the demographics and even cultures of group who can benefit from office software. By outsourcing, you eliminate the need to invest in things outside your small firm’s specialization. The money you save in turn could also be redirected for more improvement until you reach a point when you can either do the lead generation yourself or better yet, develop a new specialty (like ERP software for instance).
Speaking of which, that’s another hint you might want to follow. Once you’ve done well enough in one field, try to go further to a field that’s similar but also requires more. This helps reduce the any possible friction that might occur in the expansion. However, do take note that this leads to another important rule of thumb: knowing between B2C and B2B.
Now let’s use the example of ERP software again. There’s a fine difference between a product that is meant for mass consumption (office applications) and a product that is meant solely for the use of businesses (ERP software). What is required for the former has been covered already. For the latter however, you need something more precise because the information you’ll need is not easily gained in simple surveys. You’re not studying general groups of people clustered together under simple categories. You’d want to study the entire structure of a business. Who are the leaders and the decision makers? What kind of problems are there? Do they need a more streamlined means of HR management? These are just some of the questions you’d want to ask. A fair warning though, you might find that some people aren’t comfortable answering them.
For a B2B-oriented industry like ERP software, the popular recommendation is telemarketing. This is because experienced telemarketers have the precision data needed to qualify and contact potential B2B leads. After all, the telephone is a more appropriate and direct tool for those who need to contact decision makers and executives (who might otherwise be too busy to pay attention to other attention-grabbing methods such as advertising).
So the next time you think of expanding, try to establish some ground in where you are first and outsource to the appropriate lead generation service. And once you’re more successful, go to the other side of the market and you can start covering more bases. Just don’t forget to outsource to the right lead generator there too!