By Sunny Ackerman, President of Americas at Frank Recruitment Group
When it comes to great moments in a company’s lifecycle, expansion is among the most exciting.
Watching your business grow and develop is thrilling, and an indisputable sign of your continuing success.
If you’re in a position where you think it may be time to take on a new market, there are an enormous number of considerations to wade through to ensure that you don’t overreach and jeopardize the strong foundations of your company. Expanding your operations or opening a new branch can feel almost as dicey as starting a new business; so, is it worth the risk?
They say in business, you’re either growing or you’re dying. Growth rate is the ultimate indicator of the health of your organization—you might focus on turnover, market share, profits, sales, or head count, but however you measure your growth rate, if it’s not climbing, then your business viability is in question.
Even if you’re happy with the level that your business is operating at now, by eschewing growth opportunities, you’re rolling out the red carpet for your competitors to move into that space and snatch up more market share. In addition, fixating on one location, or market, is akin to putting all your eggs in one basket, giving you no backup if business were to dry up in the future.
Maintaining growth is more complex than ever in the modern age, but remains of principal importance for the majority of businesses. Gartner’s 2018 CEO Survey[i] reported that CEOs ranked growth as their top priority for 2018/2019, and while many CEOs are looking for deeper structural sources of growth, national expansion remains one of the most effective ways to expand your company.
There’s no business without customers, so clearly reaching new audiences in new markets is crucial to increasing your profits and allowing your business to develop. In an increasingly connected world, there is more opportunity than ever for businesses to expand their operations across the country, with minimal disruption to primary operations.
When I joined Frank Recruitment Group as President of Americas earlier this year, I immediately began looking for strategic locations from which we could build our presence across the North America. Since then, we’ve opened a new office in Tampa, bringing the number of US hubs to six; two more are set to open in Denver and Phoenix later in 2018.
As niche technology recruiters, we see first-hand how fast the tech sector moves; this constant innovation makes it an incredibly exciting space to work in, but it can also create skills gaps when tech professionals can’t catch up with mushrooming demand for experience.
As President of Americas, my job is to make sure we’re serving the US as best we can. There is enormous opportunity in the tech sector right now; tech is far and away the fastest growing industry in the country, and vibrant new tech hubs are springing up all the time.
Maintaining rapid expansion can be challenging even in the most blooming markets, however—when you’re looking to take your business into pastures new, here are a few of the core issues to consider before throwing a dart at the map.
Identifying new market locations
No one wants to stagnate, and you should always be ready to move into new spaces when opportunity and circumstances allow. However, be careful to avoidexpansion for expansion’s sake.
When business is good, and your feet are getting itchy, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of a move and breeze through your due diligence. You need to take the time to identify the right place for your business to move into. Find out where the growth in your industry is taking place, or even better, where it may take place in the near future. Trying to get in on the ground floor is always more risky than expanding into a geographical market that’s already established, but the rewards can be huge if done right.
Five years ago, almost every tech company in the US wanted to have a base in Silicon Valley. The Bay Area was the place to be for both start-ups and established tech enterprises, but today, the high costs of doing business and over-saturation of tech companies, many firms are beginning to branch out from the California tech bubble.
We used to think of the tech industry being concentrated in the country’s costal conurbations, but digital transformation is happening everywhere—and with it comes massive job growth. Places like Denver, Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis all have booming start-up scenes, with many cities funnelling massive amounts of money into start-ups to help drive local tech economies.
If you keep your ear to the ground in terms of which cities are piping money into your industry, you can get a good idea of where your sector will be taking off next.
A great team is the backbone of any successful business and having the right people in your corner becomes doubly important during expansion. Employees hired to help your business grow have a heavy load to bear; not only do they need to live up to the standards that’ve helped your business succeed so far, they’ll also need to be able to shoulder the business through the busy and often stressful growth period.
When moving into a new market, your employees are on the frontlines of business development, and the impression they leave in your new base of operations can make or break your expansion plans from the moment you land.
If you’ve spotted a great opportunity to grow or have set your expansion an ambitious timeline for your ribbon-cutting, you need to make sure that your time-to-hire isn’t coming at the expense of quality acquisitions.
This doesn’t just apply to new hires, but also to any internal moves you may be planning to staff your new location. Culture is fast becoming one of those corporate buzzwords, but the sentiment behind it is crucial; the most important factor in expansion hiring is finding people who share your vision and have the passion to help carry your business forward.
That said, it’s still important to do some research into your new market—average salaries, local regulations, competitor businesses—to make sure you’re attracting the right people.
Driving brand presence
Once you’re set up in your new market, you need to let people know you’re there. Most businesses don’t carry the kind of prominence that allows a company to drop a new branch anywhere they like and gain instant recognition. Brand awareness needs to be built all over again when it comes to new locations. The good news is that by this point you’ll have already mapped out your target demographic, your customer personas, and your brand voice will be well-established, so putting all those pieces together to form a marketing strategy shouldn’t be too big a task.
Brands thrive on customer loyalty, and brand advocates are hugely significant when it comes to building a name for yourself in a new market. Setting up a referral plan to help generate business is not only great for getting your name out there, but also provides the added bonus of steeping your brand in the sense of trustworthiness and reliability that can only come from a recommendation from previous customers.
Advertising can still be a massive win for businesses when done right, but don’t forget about thought-leadership when it comes to establishing your brand presence. Teaming up with local publications to provide useful, relevant advice and insight is a great way to position your company as a knowledgeable, supportive force in the market.
The ever-pervasive power of social media can’t be undervalued either. Focusing your efforts on the most appropriate platform for your business type can help you target new customers at a granular level, in a way that other, more traditional methods of advertising just don’t allow.
Whichever way you decide to build your presence, the most important part of new market penetration is keeping your brand essence intact. Translating what makes your brand unique and successful is key to growth—expansion is about reproducing your achievements in a new space, not diluting your brand. What you’re aiming for is a full-colour reproduction of your operations, not a copy of a copy of a copy, and as long as you’re achieving that, you’re heading in the right direction.
Calabrio charts record year-on-year UK growth as demand for cloud technology soars during lockdown
Digital transformation acceleration drives cloud contact centre adoption of Calabrio workforce engagement management technology
Calabrio, the workforce engagement management (WEM) company, has seen a strong growth trajectory in the UK during the last 12 months, despite the global pandemic. Achieving 30% year-on-year sales growth, Calabrio International has welcomed more than 150 new customers, with the UK adding a third of those from a wide range of industries including many online challenger businesses. In addition, Calabrio has made strategic new appointments to build its customer support network.
Kris McKenzie, SVP, Sales, International at Calabrio commented, “Our focus on cloud-first solutions has resonated well with our customers’ need to accelerate their digital transformation and move their contact centres to the cloud in order to maintain business continuity. At a time of uncertainty when consumers need robust support more than ever before, we are witnessing first-hand the cloud transformation of customer services by organisations looking to deliver the next level in customer experience. Modern businesses and contact centres using Calabrio are able to provide exceptional service to their customers through disrupted times.
“Coupled with businesses operating solely online, we have also seen strong demand across the board from more traditional sectors such as finance, insurance, retail, consumer goods, local and central government departments. These organisations require an innovative yet reliable solution to help them manage unprecedented levels in demand.”
When Calabrio surveyed its customers recently[i] 72% of organisations stated they are either moving to the cloud, are already there or plan to increase their investment in cloud technology in 2021. In order to support forward-thinking organisations looking to optimise their investment in cloud contact centre solutions, Calabrio has made two significant appointments.
Niall Gallacher has joined Calabrio as Business Intelligence (BI) strategic consultant and will be instrumental in the design of services that drive value from data and analytics, helping Calabrio customers to solve complex business problems. Before joining Calabrio, Niall spent 6 years with Qlik as Industry Solutions Director. He has 25 years of experience in data, analytics and BI, 15 of which have been with contact centres for leading companies in telecommunications, energy and high-tech industries.
Graeme Gabriel joins as a presales engineer, supporting Calabrio’s workforce engagement suite. He will work with customers to ensure that they achieve maximum benefit from their use of Calabrio solutions, no matter the remote, on-site or hybrid environment. Graeme has international experience encompassing telephony, contact centre, WFM, analytics and customer experience (CX) across a range of sectors, and has held consultancy, advocacy and planning positions at companies including Injixo, Vluent, QPC and AVIOS.
McKenzie concluded, “We welcome both Niall and Graeme to Calabrio, during what has been an incredible year of growth for Calabrio as we supported our customers through these challenging times. This is an exciting and dynamic time for Calabrio as we continue to deliver the value of our all-in-one cloud contact centre suite, including call recording, quality management (QM), WFM, speech analytics and business intelligence suitable for organisations of all shapes and sizes.”
[i] TechValidate survey of 192 users of Calabrio. Published 29 December 2020.
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Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter revenue, adjusted earnings rise
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Thomson Reuters Corp reported higher fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday and said it would start a two-year program that will change it from a holding company to an operating company.
The news and information company, which owns Reuters News, said revenues rose 2% to $1.62 billion, while its operating profit jumped more than 300% to $956 million, reflecting the sale of an investment, a gain from an amendment to pension plan and lower costs.
Its three main divisions, Legal Professionals, Tax & Accounting Professionals and Corporates, all showed higher organic quarterly sales and adjusted profit.
It was not immediately clear if adjusted earnings per share of 54 cents were directly comparable to the 46 cents expected.
Thomson Reuters’ markets are healthy and evolving, making this a good time to transition the company from a content provider to a “content-driven technology company,” Chief Executive Steve Hasker said in a statement.
Workplaces have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence has a larger role in professional markets, he said.
(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)
Tesla shares set to skid into the red for the year
LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in Tesla were set to plunge into the red for the year on Tuesday, hit by a broad selloff of high-flying technology stocks and the fall of bitcoin, in which the electric carmaker recently invested $1.5 billion.
By 1029 GMT, Tesla was down over 8% in U.S. premarket deals after a similar drop during the previous session. The firm led by Elon Musk has had a stellar ride since 2020, which it began at about $85 per share, before reaching the $900 mark on January 25.
Currently trading at about $657 in pre market transactions, the stock has lost 27% from its peak, which is above the 20% level which technically defines a bear market.
Bitcoin has also swung into a bear market, falling from a peak of $58,354 on February 21 to a low of $45,000 earlier on Tuesday.
A Germany-based trader said he was “taking chips off the table” on Tesla as its 1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency could “backfire now”.
Analysts at Barclays noted that there has been a drop of conversations about the electric car makers in the Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which could explain some of the loss of appetite for the stock.
“With only 2-3 total submissions on each of the past several days, we remain below the trend in attention that has come along with big returns jumps in the past”, the analysts said in note.
Other analysts have also cautioned against investing in the stock which remains one of the most expensive on the S&P 500 index at 163 times its 12 month forward earnings.
Graphic: Tesla shares selloff after multi-fold gains
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)
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