This blog talks a lot about the opportunities connected with expanding to other markets – but can it work the other way around too? Is it likely that your home market will be “invaded” by marauding businesses who do the same thing you do?
The short answer is yes because of course that is bound to be the case. And if an outsider enters your home market what are you going to do about? Laugh? Run? Cry? Well, I would suggest you will probably fight back, for a while anyway.
But how do you best deal with it? Let’s assume that a business from India enters your market place with lower production costs, great in-house expertise and a home market that you are not in – how can you possibly fight back in these circumstances?
Or let’s imagine you are a European company with great success in say France – but all of a sudden a huge train in the form of an extremely large US corporation rides into your market and sucks it all away.
Am I being deliberately provocative and threatening to get people interested in my piece? Actually, no – I have seen this happen. In fact, a good example in our industry is the way Google wiped out the vast majority of locally based search engines over a period of just four or five years.
How can you possibly prevent this?
- Do not Stand still: Innovate in your home market
- Go global and take markets before your competitors
- Target niches your main competitors do not
- Build your brand awareness significantly at home
- Copy your competitors’ best offerings now
Do not stand still: Innovate in your home market
Arguably, this discussion is could be reduced to “defend” or “attack”. Innovating in your home market is one of the best ways to defend it. Look particularly to develop services which appeal to the market and which play to your strengths and not to your competitors weaknesses.
Go global and take markets before your competitors
Attack is one of the best forms of defence – especially in this case. Assuming you “attack” head on means that you are giving your competitors something to worry about in their home market and causing them to focus more effort on defence at home.
But this also has the advantage that you are forced to learn new tricks which can actually also be deployed at home so it ends up becoming a form of defence too. It might be new tweaks to your existing product or new ways of selling it.
When you choose go go global, you also have the option ( and this would be my recommendation) to identify markets where there are significant opportunities and where the competition is either non-existent or very weak. The resulting strength will again help you back home – built will build up your war chest for the coming direct battles with your main competitor.
Target niches your main competitors do not
Either in your domestic market or a new alternate market, you can pick off niche markets – or smaller specific segments of markets – to avoid going head to head with the big guys. By picking off several segments you can even surround your original competitor giving you a much stronger position whether here or there.
Build your brand awareness significantly at home
This is really another defence strategy – but basically means that you try to erect more effective barriers to entry to your home market. Be careful with this approach. I believe that in the modern world, consumers and customers have become much more fickle and this is is dangerous. New communication methods really means new technologies and they are likely to deflect the effects of strong brands or siege mentalities.
Copy your competitors’ best offerings now
Yes you can do this too – and it does often work for people. But really, you have to deliver better than they deliver to stand a chance of this working so you really need to believe that operationally, you are better placed than they are. Otherwise, I am afraid you are going to lose.
So for me, in today’s world where it really is already global and not that difficult practically to invest in other markets, why would you not? It is the best form of defence AND attack!
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