The idea of expanding your business into new areas and satellite offices often comes with equal amounts of promise and worry. The benefits are vast – but the logistics can present as being imposing enough to put off even the most driven decision maker.
If the fear of logistics is impacting your business development, consider some of these benefits and plot some the exciting steps forward your organisation could take by spreading your influence across the country.
Broaden your appeal
If you’re working in one distinct geographical location you’re likely to attract a large proportion of your customer base from that locale. There are two distinct reasons for this:
Google – The world’s leading search engine company virtually always consider a user’s geographical location when returning search results. You might think you’re spanning the world when you search for a “web design company” – but actually, Google’s algorithms will consider your location and show local web companies – especially businesses that show on map results.
You can never underestimate Google’s influence; hence the enormous industry that focuses entirely on bolstering your rankings for chosen search terms. If your location means Google will show you to local people, you better believe you’re going to see lots of local business.
Consumer psychology – Countless studies document the relationship between customer spending habits and business location. Many of these studies show that a customer is more likely to choose spending a greater sum locally versus finding a reduced rate that is more than 50 miles from their search location.
The reasons vary based on the individual, but trust always seems to feature highly in the equation. Local business equals local people – and human psychology errs toward increased empathy for people we deem similar to ourselves. So, for many, local business means we feel more likely to be dealing with people we like and trust.
What’s the effect?
With these elements in mind you’re almost certain to pick up increased amounts of business surrounding your new location. Not only that, but company gravitas is hugely increased when a customer sees multiple location. Once again, trust plays a large part here, you’re far less likely to be a one-person operation trying to appear bigger than you are if you’re working between offices some distance apart.
Not only that, but you’re likely to start picking up bigger clients if you’ve got more than one location. Business decision makers like to work with companies they feel can match their level of expertise. Bad news for the talented one-man operation – but good news for you as you spread your organisational wings.
Is IT going to be a headache?
If there’s one department that inspires recoiling in terror at the prospect of a company expansion or relocation it’s IT. And it’s fair, networks are not for the feint hearted, so opening your satellite office and expecting magical connection is a big ask – but it’s becoming increasingly feasible and affordable.
A good time for IT reassessment
Spreading out makes mapping your IT network essential – but that prospect shouldn’t be met with resistance. In a lot of cases a good IT department or partner can consider your business goals and develop your network to mean that not only is your new location fully serviced – but significant steps have been made to reduce costs over your IT infrastructure too.
Having a network money saving guide like this one from SAS Global Communications close to hand means you can be sure your IT partner is doing all they can to bolster your company’s efficiency and bottom line.
Find exceptional local talent
Setting up a location in a new city is sometimes done entirely to access the skills needed to drive a business forward. It’s not uncommon to find particular cities with more than the average share of a particular talent type – and if it’s a talent you’re looking to bring in to the business it can make absolute financial sense to spread in that direction.
A lot of the reason for these ‘pockets’ of talent relates to university and colleges in the area. An increasing proportion of the workforce set up as freelance or sole-traders straight after qualification – and many stay in the vicinity of their higher education establishment, having built a social circle there.
This also means you’ll have a lot more people applying for the roles you’re looking to fill – in turn meaning you can often pay a lower rate compared to an area where your desired skillset is thinner on the ground.
The impact that expanding has on your workforce can be profound too. There’s a lot being communicated when you offer people positions in a new location – if it fits for them, they’re going to feel an increasing sense of trust from you and fellow decision makers.
This trust is shown to be enormously empowering – and is cited again and again in literature that relates to positive managerial strategies. If you trust someone with their own location, watch them rise to the challenge – driving your business as they do. Now, you might find that this new found exceptional performance leads to some salary review requests – but we imagine you’ll file that in the ‘nice problem to have’ folder!
So, what’s next?
Expanding into regional premises is never going to be a small or easy decision – but it can most definitely be a lucrative move to make. Having the right people around you makes the prospect much less daunting – in a lot of instances, a good IT partner can provide a lot of the support needed, given how IT often forms the backbone of an organisation. Talking to a company you trust is a good move – if they can’t handle it entirely themselves they’ll certainly know who to turn to.
Ultimately, looking at what your business could do over multiple location is a great place to start this exercise, try to forget the logistics for now and instead focus on opportunities – once you have those, you can make factual business projections that will help you decide if the move will help drive your business in the right direction.