What do a Hair Dressing Salon, an Artesian Bakery and a Lawnmower repair shop all have in Common? The answer is that they all require physical premises where clients buy a product or service. In the modern world of e-commerce, that’s a critical element of a business surviving.
If you’re in a ‘footfall business’ – a sector that requires your customers to come to your premises – what can you do if business is booming and you simply haven’t got the ability or capacity to meet the needs of everyone who comes over the threshold? Well, here’s the second in our series looking at Growing a business and for Part 2 we’re focussing on how to expand physically – by opening another location…
If you’re growing a business, which booming in one location – and either you can’t cope with the volume of customers, or you’ve got a business model that’s a run-away success – you might be thinking about expanding. On the one hand that might be a bigger premises, on the other it might be a second location. If you’re anticipating that your brand might be the next big thing on the High Street, then the second option is probably at the top of your list. So what do you need to think about?
Your existing customer base can tell you a lot about where to open a second location. You might look at the demographic of who buys your product or service. You might look at who travels a long way to buy your product or service. Or you might examine the demand and competition for your product or service in other localities.
The demographic of your customers is an all important consideration. You might have done some considered strategic thinking about who your offer appeals to – or you might have lucked in. Either way, make sure you understand why it works in the first location and look to replicate that in the second, third and so on. Setting up shop in a district that is not representative of your market is a riskier proposition.
If you’ve got a customer base that travels a long way to reach your service then you might want to open an outlet or facility nearer to them. That would then free up capacity at your original branch for a greater numbers of local customers. But be careful – if you don’t expand your customer base, it’s called cannibalisation- where your market share for one location/product drops as a result of you introducing a new one.
You might have business that works in the existing location because you’re one of a kind. You might find that new locations already have established competition. That shouldn’t put you off – but be aware that things will be much tougher if you’re trying entering a market and attempting to shift customers away from similar businesses. That’s where yo need to get your marketing just right.
You’ll want to make sure you have people as reliable and experienced as your existing staff trained and in place from the moment you open your new location. Which means you’ll have to recruit them a month or two in advance. You might choose a combination of redeploying staff from your existing location(s) and training new train staff at your existing location. Having a decent overlap is essential to smooth running of the new business. Gaining a reputation for poor quality service in your opening week won’t bode well for future success, so it’s really important to ensure your team is well trained to deal with
Promotion will be everything to get footfall into your new location and recruit customers. There are all sorts of marketing solutions you can use to raise your profile. Direct mail with special offers/vouchers/Freebies, a Grand Opening with associated PR in the local media, some form of PR stunt that gets you coverage and attention, and a whole host of targeted e-marketing to drum up some business – don’t forget to ensure your online presence is working for you – have look at the first in this blog series to see some of the things you need to be thinking about.
If you’re opening a new branch in Camden, Southwark or Wandsworth and need a staging post for stock or supplies, then consider a storage unit with us. You’ll only pay for the days you stay, so it is a cost-effective way to give yourself a bit more room whilst your new business hits the ground running.
If you are Growing a Business by expanding to a new location – good luck