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  • 4 Ways to Use Mapping Software to Grow Your Business

    shutterstock_144119131So you’ve finally reached the point where you’re ready to expand your business. You have a lot to consider and plan for before you make the jump. You’ll need to identify relevant markets, choose your ideal demographic, research locations where you could potentially operate, and check on competition in the area. It’s entirely possible to do this all manually, but that’s not an efficient use of your time.

    Instead, you can use business mapping software to plan it all out and then put everything in place. When used properly, it can serve you in many ways and help you find out the type of information you’ll need to know before and after the big move. If this is your first time hearing about this, or you’ve never used software like this before, then don’t worry. We’re going to take a look at four ways you can use mapping software to grow your business.

    1. Map Routes and Zones

    When it comes to creating an efficient sales route, or mapping out particular service zones, doing it the old fashioned way can be tedious. Not to mention, it takes a lot of trial and error to decide on appropriate routes while looking at a static map. Sometimes, there’s just no way to know how traffic, street patterns, or even the number of stops in a route might cause issues without collecting additional data.

    As it is, you probably have three separate reference points to plan these things including a calendar, customer database, and map.

    This is where mapping software like Badger Maps or Map Business Online can really help. You can use the sales territory mapping feature to do things like import existing location data, export created map images, and even color-code different territories.

    Essentially, it simplifies and automates the entire process. You just need to collect any additional information you’d like to use, like a customer census or vehicle location data.

    1. Monitor the Competition

    If you’re moving into a new area, opening a new route, or servicing a new region, there’s one thing you always need to remain acutely aware of: the competition. The amount of competition you have in a particular area will determine not only how much business you bring in, but sometimes even how viable an area is.

    With mapping software, you can compile a list of your competitor’s local businesses or service areas and visualize them. This will allow you to see how close or far you should be looking, where a demographic is most active, and maybe even future target areas.

    Once you’ve mapped out your competition, you can throw your own business map into the mix to see important trends and patterns. For example—and this might be a bit on-the-nose—if you and your competition have had locations close down in a particular area, you can clearly see there’s a low demand for what you have to offer there. More importantly, by mixing all this information, you might even be able to see how far that trend stretches, allowing you to avoid potential failures.

    1. Map Out Your Customers

    Depending on what service or product you offer, it may be incredibly beneficial to map out your existing customer base. This can tell you several things. For one, it can help you identify patterns or trends in your customer base. In addition, you can use the information this type of map provides to identify future sales opportunities, including customers in your existing service area, as well as entirely new areas.

    All of this information is generally relayed via a visual and dynamic map. Some services use their own mapping tools, while others go through platforms like Google Maps. Maptive is one such tool that allows you to create custom Google Maps with whatever data you need to analyze, including customer locations.

    1. Finding New Locations

    Just like you should create a map of all locations relevant to your business and your competitors’, you should also create a map of potential expansion areas. This can be especially helpful if you’re doing a property search and want to remain in a particular zone or region.

    Even better, you can include a lot of information on the maps you create—not just location data. For example, if you want to compare the rent or property cost for several locations in an area, you can do that. You can even compile stats from current properties to identify new impact points in areas you already service.

    The point is, instead of trying to guess where you may benefit from opening a new location or business, you can see this information laid out before you on a map.

    Business Mapping Software Is the Future

    Can you imagine what businesses and corporations in the past would have done with tools like this? Or if they had been presented with such efficient ways to prevent entering uncooperative markets and identifying potential service trends?

    There’s a good chance that a lot of brands that have since closed up shop would still be around today. That’s because a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish. Business mapping software will help you create not just a plan, but a foundation. It’s time you take full advantage of that.

    Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success in their careers, she shares advice on everything from the job search and entrepreneurship to professional development, and more!

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