Entering a New Market | Part II: Research

This second phase of the process of entering a new market is probably one of the most important steps to ensure that you transition smoothly and connect with and develop the right network of people for you. Building relationships is the backbone of any business and you want to make sure to do this in an intentional, strategic, and AUTHENTIC manner. The research we’re doing in Part II can be done parallel to Part I and is completely on the back end of your business, about 3-6 months out from your move. 

**Here’s Part one for you to take a look at–Entering a New Market: The Big Announcement**

Make a list of businesses/individuals/organizations to connect with

Be strategic & intentional about who you’re reaching out to in your new market. Make a list of organizations, businesses, & individuals that are: 

1. Complimentary services: they have the same ideal clients

Examples: If you’re a Branding designer, you’ll want to think of other professionals who have the same clients as you. These make great professional contacts because you can refer them to someone you trust when it’s time to do the next step in their project. Think website designer, branding photographer, business coach, print shop. 

2. In the same industry

Example: If you’re a branding designer, connect with others who do the same thing. Yes, you may be direct competitors, but this is okay! You have your clients and they have theirs. You may also both have very different styles…and after all you’re totally different people who attract different kinds of clients. Say you specialize in working with the creative industry, while the other designer works with a lot of corporate clients–this is not the same client!! If they get an inquiry for a brand project for a florist, guess who they’re going to refer? YOU! Or if you do work in the same niche, and they’re going through a season where they can’t take on any more projects, they’ll refer you!! It’s a totally amazing relationship and referral system to know you have relationships with other professionals in the industry. 

3. Industry organizations where your ideal clients hang out

What kind of places do people in either of the above categories hang out? Or what kind of places do other leaders in your industry hang out? Be there! If that’s the local chamber of commerce, BNI group, Tuesday Together groups, or specific industry groups…put yourself in that circle of people!!

Reach out to your current network for connections

You never know who knows who! In your announcement email, make sure to ask your current network if they can connect you with anyone in your new market. This is as simple as emailing a few people or reaching out to your network on social media. Take these connections seriously, your friends/family have trusted you with someone by giving you their name and contact information. 

Research the market for pricing

Every market’s pricing is different. Some markets are pricier than others, some aren’t…so you want to do a little market research into what other businesses similar to yourself are charging. You could accomplish this by visiting other people’s websites if their pricing is listed. If they aren’t, please don’t fill out an inquiry form and pretend you’re a client!! You could simply ask and be honest, “I’m doing some market research and would be interested in discussing what the local market currently looks like. I want to be respectful of the other vendors &  don’t want to undercut the market, do you mind us chatting?” 

Remember that potential clients equate price with quality & value. If you’re too “cheap”, they may think that your work is sub-par and you’re not experienced. This will also attract price shoppers that are just looking for a good deal and don’t value your work. When you’re not priced correctly for a market, you’ll find yourself in a black hole of pricing. Being too expensive for price shoppers, but too cheap for clients who are looking for quality, equaling no quality leads.

Research the local licensure & insurance requirements

Every state/county/city has different requirements for how you establish your business within their boundaries. Make sure to research these different policies and what it will take in order to get you legit in your new location. If you’re moving to a different state, you will have to move your insurance policy to your new state. 

Create a budget & financially prepare for the transition

While you’re doing your research, make sure to keep a list of the costs associated with your move into a new market. Make sure to budget & financially prepare for these costs. Some examples of these costs include:

  • State & Local business licenses
  • Membership fees for any organizations that you select to join
  • You may be without income until you get your feet under you

List of things you’re excited about in your new area

Now this is the fun part and the part that I love most about a new location, the process of discovering all the fun things: fun activities, our restaurants, scouting for new shooting locations. Make a list of places to make yours and get excited to discover your new home. This makes for a great blog post!

meet Gari-Ann

Gari-Ann Kia is an accomplished Branding and Product Photographer with a passion for helping creatives and professionals elevate their brand by showcasing their product, promoting their services, or simply enhancing their brand image. Gari-Ann's expertise in branding and product photography will help you stand out from the crowd. With years of experience in the field, Gari-Ann has honed her skills and developed a unique approach to visual storytelling that resonates with her clients and their target audience to help them stand out from the crowd.

Gari-Ann currently lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and two children. She enjoys traveling with her family, some of their favorite destinations have been Santorini, Wanaka, Paris, & Aix en Provence. In her free time, Gari-Ann enjoys giving back to her community by supporting fellow military spouses & their families and mentoring other small business owners.