As a new entrepreneur, your tireless pursuit of success is essential in the early days. However, another essential component — growing into new markets — can be one of the hardest to accomplish.
When first building the Airbnb empire, CEO Brian Chesky had to find unique ways to test his business model and scope out new markets, all while keeping a strict budget. He has accomplished this by staying in actual Airbnb rentals — exclusively — for months on end. The stunt not only helps him find pain points in the business, but also works as a great marketing story at the same time.
In today’s on-demand economy, it can be tough to stay on the move while getting in the necessary networking to grow your business. Here are some strategies for embracing mobility and achieving success on the road:
1. Be Where the Demand Is
When brokering connections between supply and demand, you need boots on the ground in that location. That’s why many startups are most successful in their home markets. HomeSuite’s largest market, for instance, is in our home base of the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s not to say that other markets won’t outgrow your home base — other factors like market size will definitely come into play — but being able to see what happens daily with your own eyes and make quick adjustments as needed can be crucial to success. Apply best practices from the home market as you expand, and treat each new market as its own base when it comes to nimble response.
2. Scale Up — Without Getting Stagnant
To have some form of physical presence, you must either put in the time to open remote offices or at least go “on the move” to see and target audiences where they are prior to new launches. That said, developing a network from nothing is no easy task. You likely have no reputation in new cities, no history of success.
To combat this, you have to tap into all your resources, personal and professional. You can leverage relationships that you’ve made in your home market. Perhaps some of your business partners have connections in new cities that you’re moving to, and they can put in a good word. You want your positive reputation to precede you, however possible, so that you can hit the ground running when you arrive.
3. Stay up on Your News
Traditional news sources are the original on-demand information companies: They can help you stay on top of current events in a new area, keeping you grounded and well-connected.
Understanding who’s making what kind of waves in the tech world is imperative as well. This helps with both market analysis and learning through history. We always want to replicate and learn from the successes and failures of those who came before us.
Current events are just another way to do that — but in real time. Start by following news outlets on Twitter, browsing SMS feeds, visiting TechCrunch or The New York Times websites, subscribing to news podcasts — keep searching until you find what works best for you.
4. Know Your Data
Data drives everything you can and should be doing, so it’s vital that every plan or initiative you take on is backed up with data. Tracking Google AdWords campaigns, for example, is a logical step when deciding whether paid marketing strategies are driving enough leads.
This goes for internal performance data as well. Empower your team members to take charge and report in. Syncs and quick check-ins are great ways to make sure everyone is on the same page — and gain valuable feedback to help guide any necessary process adjustments. At HomeSuite, we consistently have morning check-ins, both despite and because of the rapid changes to the industry.
5. Make Company Culture Come First
As an entrepreneur, you’ll never have a standard 9-to-5 work day, but you should always go above and beyond for your team. You need to develop a company culture that promotes both transparency and availability.
Giving back to your team shows that you care about the work they put in. You show them that every sale closed, every lead found, and every search clicked is as important to you as any other. It lets your employees see you as human, instead of a classic “mushroom-style” manager who keeps his door (and mind) closed.
Consistently provide tangible benefits and perks for your employees. Providing lunches, off-site events, happy hours, and in-house goodies are great ways to boost employee morale and show them you care.
Remember that your team members are your greatest networking resource. Empowering employees will not only help your business to flourish internally, but it will also encourage everyone in the company to invest more time and energy to extolling the business’s virtues, resulting in more connections and more opportunities for networking.
By staying mobile while growing your network, you’ll be able to improve leverage through increased innovation, both personally and through your product. Managing and scaling your business takes commitment, creativity, and limitless energy. But with these tricks up your sleeve, your company can truly fly.