One of the most radical ways to grow your market share is to move into new markets. The rewards can be significant, but the risks are higher when you contrast this with getting the most out of your existing business and customer base.
Set clear goals for expansion
Before you start, make sure that you have clearly defined goals - it's essential that you set targets at each step of the way. If you don't carefully benchmark your progress at every stage, you can spend a lot of time and money on an unsuccessful expansion effort. If you can't set clear goals, you may be better served trying to exploit your existing customer base more efficiently.
You'll need to spend time researching the market fully, so you understand your potential customers as well as you do your existing customers. See market research and market reports.
You also need to understand the competitive environment in the new sector you plan to enter - it won't be the same as your current market. See understand your competitors.
It's essential that you create and commit to a marketing plan. While you can adapt to circumstances as you proceed, you must have a clear framework in place to boost your chances of success.
Remember that you should try to reach the most likely customers first. The best way to do this is to segment your target customer base - which means sorting them into groups with similar characteristics.
Exporting can have a significant impact on your sales figures but it will also involve trading in a different way - customers are more remote and may need more management. See basics of exporting and entering overseas markets.
Team up with other businesses
You can sell into new markets by joining with other businesses, either in formal joint ventures and partnerships or more informal arrangements.
These routes can help get you established in new sectors more quickly and give you easier access to a range of potential customers. However, you will need to spend time managing the relationship and will sometimes have to compromise to keep your partners happy. See joint ventures and business partnerships.