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What to Do If You Want to Enter a New Market in 2022

As we head into Q4, business owners across the industry are beginning to plan their growth strategy for 2022 and how to push towards bigger and better goals. For some, the excitement of entering a new market lies ahead — but such a move is not one to be done lightly. So whether you’re thinking of cornering a new geographical region or attracting a new sect of the industry, now is the time to start planning for success.

While we’re still facing the impact of the pandemic, 2022 is shaping up to be more “normal” than in years past. Businesses have already begun to rebuild, and event professionals are feeling more positive and empowered heading into the next year than they did at the tail end of 2020.

However, it’s important not to let the enthusiasm get in the way of real strategic planning. Getting squared away on your goals and action plan this year will pave the way for a smooth 2022.

So, where do you begin when considering new market growth?

Assess your business as it stands.
Growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires far more than a snap of the fingers. It’s not about showing up on social media one day with all-new messaging and branding tailored to your new market! You have to do the heavy lifting first.

If you are expanding, do you have the team, bandwidth, and budget to invest in the growth? If you are pivoting, do you have the experience necessary to overhaul your business model? You may need to put off any major growth plans until you can get a grasp on your current market or gain the experience needed to shine in the new one.

Perform market research.
Research certainly isn’t the most exciting step of business growth, but it’s arguably one of the most important. This stage allows you to validate your idea, get to know your new target audience, and adjust your messaging strategy to fit the bill. You’ll also learn about the competition you’ll face, providing you with the information you need to stand out from the crowd on day one.

Get to know this new market (whether it’s a specific area or a certain niche) by immersing yourself. Interview people who align with your ideal client, join social media groups and connect with relevant associations to learn everything you can before jumping in headfirst.

Train (or retrain) your team as needed.
Working within a new market can be a cultural shock for some and, in some cases, can lead to messaging mishaps if not adequately prepared. Your market research should have revealed insights into the best practices for communicating and working with your new audience, but you’ll also need to pass that down to your employees.

For example, if you intend to invest more into working with LGBTQ+ clients, consider sensitivity training to ensure your team is respectful and empathetic. Or, if you’re interested in launching a micro-wedding line, you’ll need to train your employees on the differences in client preferences, event timelines, and other vital elements.

Determine whether you need to rebrand.
Not every business move involves a rebrand, and, in some cases, it can cause more confusion than intended. Not to mention, it’s a lot of work! Revisit your market research to decide whether you need to adjust your brand to meet your audience’s needs.

It also depends on the breadth of your expansion. Are you launching a whole new service distinct from your current offerings, or are you simply tweaking your messaging to attract more clients? While the first may call for a secondary brand altogether, the latter might just need a new tagline and some fresh copy to use in your new market.

While market expansion is certainly exciting, don’t lose sight of the fact that growth is inherently risky. Yes, there is a reward at the end of the journey — but you need to be mindful of where you stand and what you have to offer any new audience. Focus on your brand’s value and how you can position yourself apart from others in the market, and you’ll be well on your way to diversifying your revenue streams!

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Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. She was recently recognized by Special Events in its Top 25 Event Pros to Watch series.

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