With many of our clients in the Engineering and Manufacturing space setting their sights on entirely new markets, we at Guildhawk have been putting some time into evaluating this highly specific sector and the challenges these businesses are likely to face when entering new territories.

First of all, it’s eminently logical for heavy industries to be looking outside existing markets for their future growth. Emerging markets, such as China and India, are growing at pace, and offer massive opportunities for development.

The possibilities afforded by expanding to these territories simply cannot be ignored by companies who wish to continue growing and diversifying. However, with great opportunity come great risk and an essential requirement for adaptability.

If you’re too comfortable, you’re stagnating.

Yes, these markets are open and appealing for business, but this is precisely why there are so many domestic and international companies already starting to operate within them. Our clients will need to compete with a wealth of local and international suppliers, in an entirely new market and culture, and appealing to an entirely new audience. No mean feat.

But, as every successful company and company leader knows, if you’re too comfortable, you’re stagnating. The risk associated with a move like this is comprehensively outweighed by the potential rewards. And, as with anything in business, these risks can be minimised to an acceptable level through careful upstream planning, risk assessment and mitigation.

The Guildhawk team regularly assist our clients in this initial preparation stage, right through to assisting with comms and policies once new branches are fully up and running. And our main piece of advice is always the same: do your homework on your new market and do it well!

It may be sufficient in some sectors to put a multilingual call centre in place; a single location to sort through all queries arising from new markets. For engineering and manufacturing businesses, this approach generally doesn’t cut it. The nature and application of your products necessitates proximity to your markets. To take a basic example, say you manufacture pumps for use in fire protection systems. If an end-client has an issue with your system, they want someone on the ground to come out and fix it. If you can’t provide that, they’ll find a supplier who can.

So you need to not just seem local, but to actually be local to your new clients. And for this to be successful both in terms of perception and reality, you need to UNDERSTAND your new market and audience – in depth! You need to assess the culture, business environment, priorities and practicalities of these emerging markets and ensure you respect and provide for them. You need to evaluate what the risks may be – which are likely to be very different to the risks posed by your regular markets – and limit them. And you need to be able to move and change your approach and communications quickly and efficiently as soon as you can see something is not working. These are all services we provide to our clients on a regular basis, and have seen their value in the relative ease with which new branches have flourished.

Another essential element of creating new hubs is, of course, finding new people to run them. This is probably the greatest challenge of all – in this sector and every other. People are the key to a successful business – we all know it, but what can we do to use that knowledge?

Well, first of all, you need to attract the very best talent. And key to this are your communications. Are you verbalising your core values and what you have to offer your employees? Communication at this point is so important. It’s an employee’s market right now, and seems likely to remain that way for some time – the right people are in short supply, and you need to ensure they want to work for you and not your competition. You need to speak to them in terms they understand and which appeal to them and their values.

Then, once you have them, you need to hold on to them. From what we have seen across all of our clients, the solution lies in internal training. Provide your existing staff with the materials they need to develop within the ranks of the company and the benefits are huge. On the employee side – they feel valued and challenged, and see their future with you. On yours – you hold on to the best of the best, and your company remains stable in the safe hands of people invested in its success.

From our experience, clients who cater carefully to the above two sets of people – audience and employees – experience a transition as smooth as such a significant change can ever be. To emulate this success, we advise you get help from a partner you can trust, like Guildhawk, and then get ready to hit the ground running.

To learn more about how Guildhawk can help you enter new markets, please visit https://www.guildhawk.com/industries/engineering/