Launching a new or existing product or service in an untapped marketplace may sound like a power move, but in a fickle global economy—that is up one minute and down the next—a company must carefully strategize before it makes a short- or long-term commitment, local or overseas. There is so much to think about. Is your product or service compatible with the new target market? How quickly do you want to expand in the area and does this opportunity align with your personal value and mission statement?
If you’re excited about the business potential, but wondering if you’ll be making the right decision for your company, below Forbes Business Development Council members provide 14 points that a business developer should not overlook when conducting research and before moving forward.
1. Information Data Sources
It’s important for business leaders to have a specific framework for the type of questions they want the research to answer. In addition, they should map out the sources and data that can best support the questions and bring clarity to their decision-making process. – Serrah Linares, Change Healthcare
2. Personal Values
Ask yourself the question: “Does this align with my own personal values?” It’s very easy to get caught up in the swing of a business opportunity. Oftentimes, most leaders are quick to set business goals and put an action plan in place before researching efficiently. Therefore, they can easily miss spending time to reflect on whether or not this is worthwhile. – Maria Wu, Maud Medical Clinic
3. Small Segments
Establish a small position. Showing a huge serviceable market is one way to receive funding support. However, a big and new market is difficult to access and execute. Leaders should not overlook the process of researching and purposefully identifying a concentrated and small new market where there are clear and common customer needs to target. Gaining this favorable position creates references for rapid expansion. – Chor Meng Tan, Wiley
4. Local Market Demographics
When entering new markets, leaders often transplant existing team members or hire new ones. It’s essential to consider the uniqueness of each market within an industry—this includes buying profiles, demographics, local market insights and data. It’s also paramount to ensure that team members have the experience and background to be able to appropriately represent the market’s demographic. – Quyen Pham, Swoon
5. Political Climate And Legalities
The local political climate, the availability of legal framework and the associated infrastructure that enables new entrants to conduct business transparently and without fear of any random and sudden legal constraints imposed by local authorities are key considerations for leaders. The overall alignment of the market with the company’s purpose and business goals is equally critical. – Sri Srinivasan, Zestl Limited
6. Prospective Customers
Everyone knows that you need to consider the overall potential opportunity in each new market, however, I feel that you must dig deeper than that. You should also identify your buyer’s persona. Think about who your target buyer is, how many prospects do you need to contact, what are they interested in, how do you best reach them and what custom messaging is needed to do so. – Christopher Brunetti, Lumen Technologies
7. Partner Feedback
From the type of people you hire to the marketing, channel management, pricing strategy and product introduction, don’t assume that what works in one market will automatically work in another. As a result, all of the go-to-market and route-to-market items should be considered for that “specific market.” Getting feedback from partners already doing business in that market will give you valuable insight as well. – Rebecca Myrick, Dragos, Inc.
8. Local Intelligence
Local intelligence is exceptionally important. Quite often it’s hard to identify as being legitimate or authentic. This is becoming a bigger issue with more digital businesses and less boots on the ground. Sometimes there are factors you just cannot identify without being in the area in person. One should never be afraid to reach out to the local industry professionals to gain local insight. – Peter Schravemade, BoxBrownie.com
9. Possible Risks
It’s incumbent on organizations to fully understand the risks of doing business in new markets. From culture, infectious diseases and cyberattacks to fiscal crises and onerous regulations, the list of potential threats is long and varied. Quantifying and better understanding the risks that are most likely to present themselves can help companies stay resilient as they explore growth opportunities. – Jeffrey Alpaugh, Marsh McLennan
10. Your Unique Offering
The obvious things leaders look at are the market size, product or service fitment, entry barriers and more. What is important to consider beyond these evaluations, however, is the “right to win.” Why would the target customer segment buy from you? What is unique about your offering? How do you drive value for your customers in this market, and is that aligned to the needs and buying behaviors of the client set you are targeting? – Dipanjan Das, Genpact
A common item that leaders should not overlook is resources. Don’t underestimate the number of resources—for example money and people—that will be needed to venture into a new market. – Scott Brady, Future Point of View
12. Product Compatibility
One important factor that any business leader should not overlook when they are conducting research to enter a new market is market fit. Does your product resonate with the new market? Does it take into account cultural aspects and language opportunities? Is there a strong ROI based on available data on the new market? Are your sales channels the same or will they need to be adapted to fit? – Richard Lindhorn, VivoAquatics Inc.
13. Diverse Purchasing Practices
You’ve got to know how and why people buy in every new market before entering. I’ve seen mistakes made by assuming that the ideal customer persona and sales process are congruent market to market. We’ve seen differences in purchase reasoning, buying cycle and target profile across the world. In some markets—China for example—there can be local nuances when selling to state-owned enterprises, multinational corporations or consumers. – Jordan Novak, C2FO
14. Specialized Sales And Marketing Tactics
On the assumption that market-sizing and product-market fit has been completed, don’t assume that the sales and marketing techniques that were successful in other markets will work in this one. Factor in culture, how companies buy and how people engage vendors. Average order values and average sales cycles will vary considerably from market to market initially and over time. – Dan Swift, Empire Selling