Do Some Homework Before Expanding into “THE CITY”

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New York City

Recently, I was visiting with a family from Vietnam. They were convinced they knew what America is like because they had visited New York City. To me, that is like saying you have a sense of Mongolia because you once visited Beijing.

A few of our growth strategy and executive search clients have their eyes (and hearts?) set on expansion into Manhattan. One is headquartered in NE Pennsylvania. The other is in Princeton, New Jersey. They are both very very good at what they do. NYC is enticing. We “get it”, but when we started to run some cost projections that included multiple team members, office space and increased out of pocket allocations for dining & entertainment, ground transportation & parking and gifts & donations both clients seemed a bit taken aback. The truth is some cities like NYC, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Monte Carlo and Dubai are more like separate countries than cities. Despite the value of new technology, you still just can’t phone (or Skype) it in.

Perhaps you have seen the tongue-in-cheek posters of “Manhattan’s View of the World” that include clear images of individual buildings in Manhattan, a blur of images for boroughs like Brooklyn & Queens, and just curved words for LONG ISLAND, NEW JERSEY & CONNECTICUT. The poster’s images jump fairly quickly to FLORIDA and CALIFORNIA. You would never know that the United States includes places like IOWA, ALABAMA or WYOMING.

Those posters are correct. How many people just say “I’m going into THE CITY” when referring to Manhattan? A LOT! Go ahead and try to ask a Manhattan-based person to come meet you for lunch in a great restaurant in Jersey City! Right!!!

Companies, like Welocalize, Inc., have become increasingly important as more businesses seek globalization. Expansion is not just about geographic distance. Many times, it is more about culture and a capacity to relate to the people involved. Welocalize provides valuable research about local cultures, customs, purchasing patterns, neighborhoods, community leaders, sensitivities, etc. We have concluded that just as much research and thought is needed to expand into NYC as when a firm expands from Princeton into Frankfurt, Sydney, or Shanghai.

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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