Expansion is a huge step for a business, whether that means opening a branch across town, across state lines or across the ocean. Whatever level of expansion your business is at, it’s sure to be an exciting time. But once you have the paperwork filed, the leases settled and your employees settled in, what’s next? Some businesses might make the mistake of expanding too quickly, so it’s important to know what’s right for your enterprise. Hiring a professional expansion service is one way to ensure you stay on track with the goals you’ve set for expansion. Here are a few more tips to consider when planning your next move:

Bolster your online presence
Expanding your business to another physical location is a huge step, but you need to make sure your web presence keeps up with the pace. Depending on the services or products you offer, many of your customers may still reach you primarily via the internet. That means you need to have a solid, robust online strategy that includes social media, a well-designed website and mobile support. Entrepreneur magazine noted that over 80 percent of web traffic comes from search engines. If your business doesn’t show up on results pages, it practically doesn’t exist.

Keep in mind that opening a new location makes for great content for your website and social media feeds. Spread the word loud and clear across all platforms. From there, you should work on building a consistent user/customer base in your new location.

Focusing on customer support is a great way to help your position in the marketplace.Focusing on customer support is a great way to help your position in the marketplace.

Build relationships
When you move into a new home, you probably go out and meet the neighbors. It’s nice to know the people who live near you, and you may even strike up a few friendships. Community is just as important in the business world. When you set up a new office or franchise in another city, you’ll want to get involved with the local community. It’s a great way to build up your customer base. Show the locals what kind of value you can offer them – this can be done through traditional media or via an actual event. Again, this will depend on the kind of service or products you provide. If you’re selling consumer goods, consider having a grand opening sale. If you’re a vendor of business services, reach out to other local business. The cold call can be wonderfully effective.

“You’ll have to adapt to the local culture.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that adapting to the local culture is highly important. This may be more obvious when moving overseas. But you should think about this factor even when crossing state lines. The methods you use at home might need to be altered slightly to be effective in your new location.

Get advice
Assuming your business model will directly translate to a new market can be a costly mistake. So before you start planning for your next expansion opportunity, try to identify blind spots. This can be harder than it sounds – after all, how do find out what you don’t know? The Young Entrepreneur Council, writing in Forbes magazine, suggested seeking help and advice from government resources such as the U.S. Small Business Administration. For personalized advice and assistance, professional expansion services are one of the best options. And if you’re in a foreign country, seek out other U.S. based enterprises that you can collaborate with – you may even find more opportunities for growth within the new market.

When you’ve successfully expanded your business, take the time to pause and congratulate yourself on achieving one of the hardest steps in growing a business. Then, get to work solidifying your customer base and adjusting your strategies as needed.