20 Aug 4 Considerations When Scaling Your Mississippi Business
Some years ago I worked as the director of a local Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Association. Like many other rural towns, stories about that community’s once busy and thriving downtown abounded. During the 1950s and 1960s the ability to travel limited where we could purchase goods and services and what was available to us, causing rural towns to boom.
The same bypass highway that diverted traffic from many small towns also opened to us an entire world of travel and products we hadn’t been able to access. In the last decade, the Internet has opened similar possibilities. However, many small and mid-sized retail businesses, B2B businesses and non profits in Mississippi and other Southern states see the potential but aren’t sure how to navigate the roadblocks.
We’ve been marketing Mississippi businesses with local, regional, and national scopes for years and have witnessed how they have scaled their operations to take advantage of the opportunities available with internet marketing.
Use creative resources
When I worked with the Chamber of Commerce, I attended a workshop that taught us how to figure out how far a consumer would travel to purchase a particular product or service and how much of that consumer base our community was attracting. The truth is people will only travel a certain distance to purchase certain products and services. The flip side is, you and your team can only travel a certain distance to install or deliver a product or service before it’s not financially feasible. Don’t let those geographic barriers stop you from scaling.
If your B2B websites attract significant numbers of customers from specific areas look for a partner in those areas. Could you subcontract with a company in another state or city? Be creative in looking for ways to grow your business beyond the natural geographic boundaries.
Brave the shipping costs
A local flooring company once created an online store for discounted flooring. While they didn’t want to compete on price locally (you never win when you compete on price), they could compete on price when they did not have to store the flooring or invest time in the design process. They had a large amount of site traffic from Western states. They could have the product drop-shipped to those states, but the shipping was crazy high. Because of their low-overhead, they could offer low prices that even when combined with a high shipping expense still saved the end customer hundreds of dollars. Online marketing for Mississippi businesses and other businesses in other rural states offers an opportunity to showcase unique products consumers are willing to pay to have shipped.
Explore the pitfalls
The same company who shipped flooring across the country also learned a lot about their vendor’s shipping policies. Some companies ship to various regions of the country out of specific warehouses. Because of their overhead, pricing differed depending on which warehouse shipped the product. Not every vendor had these restrictions, but it was something the company had to consider when offering their product online.
The roadblocks your company encounters may be different. For instance, if your company is required to be licensed to sell or install certain products, and you sub-contract with a company in another state, will their licensing cover the work or do you need to have a license in that state as well? The answer will differ depending on the industry and state. But it’s something you’ll want to consider when scaling your business. Pitfalls for other companies might be licensing they need to do work in specific states.
Marketing when scaling your business
You probably know the advertising reps for the local media in your area. You also know what to expect in terms of cost and who their target market is. You’ve heard the success or failure stories of other businesses who have advertised there. If you want to target other areas of the country, you may not have this information. However, consumers online behavior is the same across state lines. You can also make one investment in content, B2B inbound marketing and social media marketing strategy and reach beyond your geographic boundaries. In fact, many Mississippi businesses are reaching across the country. One company we worked with used trade shows to connect with potential clients and followed up with them using email, social media and their website content. They have contracts in states across the country and haven’t run any local media ads.
From boutique clothing to major equipment, Mississippi businesses are reaching out nation wide. We have unique products and services needed and sought after by people across the U.S. Mississippi businesses also offer customer service that can’t be found anywhere else. If you’re looking to scale your business to a national level, these ideas should give you some food for thought. We suggest taking a look at your website and how it can help you.