IT has been said that the world is like a book, and that if you don’t move outside your home surroundings, you only ever get to look at the cover.
When it comes to travel, there are always boundaries to overcome, whether physical, logistical, emotional or just time and opportunity.
However, ideas are free to travel ‘weightlessly’ – and in terms of business, an idea that works well in one area is pretty likely to work just as well in others, a concept proven by countless firms over the years.
Take a company like Route Monkey, a software development firm that provides systems which enable companies to optimise the performance of their fleets of conventional and electric vehicles.
These scheduling applications enable Route Monkey’s clients to make cost savings.
Having built a seven-figure turnover since its launch, it would have been relatively easy for Route Monkey to concentrate on local markets, but the management team saw an opportunity to grow in a relatively nearby territory where electric vehicle manufacturing has a strong presence.
The company therefore decided to open a new office in Gateshead towards the end of last year, on the back of winning a major regional contract.
There is, of course, a lot more to business expansion than simply sticking a pin in a map – the usual rules of the right product in the right market at the right time apply just as much as they always did.
But for ambitious North East businesses with the right outward- looking attitude and the vision to see how they can operate outside the region, there’s perhaps an especially good opportunity to succeed in other markets at the moment.
One of the side effects of the economic downturn is that a lot of capacity has been taken out of the market with the regrettable failure of many thousands of businesses in every conceivable industry.
So if your business is one of the ones that battled its way through the hard times, there are clear gaps to fill here, there and everywhere, and new revenue streams to secure by doing so.
Barrie Hensby, chief executive, NEL Fund Managers