Companies looking to expand typically consider two options. One is to start selling a broader range of products or services. A web design company could start offering SEO services, a pub could open a nightclub, a hotel could open a spa, a mobile phone company can start offering broadband etc. The difficulty though with moving into a new product or service line is the steep learning curve to get up to speed with the incumbents in the industry who typically have built up a wealth of knowledge in their area that you are now trying to encroach upon. A lot of research and homework needs to be done to understand this new area to see how your business can carve out competitive advantage in it.
The second option businesses look at when expanding is to do what they already do but do it in more places. This involves launching in new markets. This is often preferable as very often the competitive advantages that you have in your home country are exportable so you can hit the ground running in a new market by bringing all of the expertise that you have built up to bear in a new area. When launching in a new market, a key consideration is what is the demand in potential new markets for your product or service and how competitive is the industry there. A great tool to help this research is: http://translate.google.com/globalmarketfinder/index.html – well done to Nehal who came across this during his research time. This tool lets you plug in key-phrases that are working for you in your current location to get a feel for how much demand there is for these in potential new geographies. Of course, you could use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool but the usefulness of the above tool is that you can quickly see demand for multiple continents and countries simultaneously whereas in Adwords, you need to check each individually. As DPFOC hopes to spread its wings into new geographies by the middle of this year, we will certainly be using this tool to inform which market we hit first!