A guest post by Rodney Laws – Editor at E-Commerce Platforms
How to take your business global. International expansion is an exciting prospect for every ambitious business. Not only does it create significant opportunities for improving your position in a particular industry, but it also makes it possible to enter other industries, allowing you to enter a new profit bracket if you get your strategy right and manage to overcome the fresh challenges.
But while that all sounds incredible, it won’t happen overnight. Taking your business global is a massive step that requires complete planning from every angle. So, where should you begin? In this post, we’ll set out three important steps to help you make it. Here we go, these are the essentials of how to take your business global.
How to Take Your Business Global: 3 Important Steps
Test The Market
Regardless of whether you’re hoping to reach the entire world, a continent, or just one new country, you’ll start with just one market — but how does that market work? Does it really warrant all that much effort? Funnelling all your money into a new market before you’ve fully tested its value is not a smart move. So, how do you know if a particular market is viable? Research, test, and test again! Consider your business model, your products and/or services, and the nature of your prospective customer base.
You must also think carefully about the challenges that await you in that market. Localization is a roadblock that’s glossed over too easily, as it can prevent you from making progress (or even lead to your expansion campaign becoming a disaster). You need to know how to communicate with your new audience: how to present your brand, how to avoid faux pas (Phrase has some cautionary tales), and how to show that you’re worthy of investment.
It’ll take time to properly test a market: months and months at a minimum. And while that may sound frustrating, the effort is fully justified. You could end up operating in that market for years (decades, even), and how you kick things off with heavily influence how they continue. Start as you mean to go on.
Grow an International Team
High-level global expansion requires high-level global knowledge. How do markets compare? How do consumers in different countries make purchasing decisions? What brand decisions would make total sense in one area but seem ridiculous (or even offensive) in another? The more information you have, the better.
And then there’s the matter of dealing with cross-language negotiations. As we touched upon earlier, localization can cause some major problems. So how should you proceed? Well, while it’s viable to simply hire translators as you go, there’s much to be said for the modern prospect of hiring an international team in anticipation of your expansion.
Yes, that’s right: instead of hiring people in new markets you’ve entered, you can hire them before you’ve entered those markets. With an open mind and an employer of record service (working with a company like Remote will allow you to hire people anywhere without needing to deal with legal complexities), you can secure new employees in your target markets, then have them work to prepare for your expansion.
Imagine aiming to sell in Spain, for instance. You could hire several workers in key Spanish cities, tasking them with making notes on their markets, building up local connections, looking for suitable office spaces, and even scouting potential hires for when you proceed. Since remote working is now standard, they can also fulfil their regular working duties from the outset, essentially removing any compelling reasons not to try this tactic.
Define What ‘Going Global’ Means to You
To avoid unnecessary problems and get your international expansion off to the best start, you need to define what going global actually means for your business. What exactly are you hoping to achieve? What does success look like to you? For one entrepreneur, advancing into a second market in a nearby country might suffice. For another, establishing offices in nine major cities around the world could merely be the beginning.
Maybe you want to take advantage of rising demand in a specific market. Perhaps you’re hoping to establish a brand image that precedes you wherever you go. You might even be hoping to benefit from financial incentives being offered to encourage growth in underdeveloped regions. Government grants can be incredibly powerful: per the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, just look at some of the assistance available to small businesses.
It’s all viable — but you need to figure out what you want and what you don’t. Otherwise, you won’t be able to form a coherent strategy. You’ll spend time on things that don’t really matter, and struggle to figure out how well you’re doing. Keep a tight focus on what you’re hoping to achieve, and you’ll have a great chance of making it.
Establishing yourself in a new market can launch your business to the top. Consider these three top tips on how to take your business global and you’ll be one step closer to building an international presence.
If you need help with strategy on how to take your business global contact us for a 30 minute free strategy session.