Take Your Business Global
You want to grow your business and expand your market reach. But do you know where to start? Although both affordable connectivity and instant communication have made it far easier for companies to build a global profile, there’s still a lot that you should consider before taking your company to this level. Ensure your business is ready for international expansion by following the advice below.
Why Expand Internationally?
It might sound obvious, but there’s a far wider consumer base across the globe than you’ll find in the US alone.
Opportunities in international markets are endless, and access to foreign markets means that the fate of your business isn’t tied to fluctuations at home. Are sales for a core product stagnating across your domestic consumer base? International markets give you the opportunities to sell long-standing products to a fresh audience, which in turn bolsters sales.
What’s more, the international expansion allows you to compete against other companies–which in turn teaches you what your target market wants, and how to deliver it effectively.
But how do you know your business is primed to take this exciting leap forward? The first thing you’ll need is an effective business plan, which includes the following.
Research Your Target Market
You can’t successfully set up in a new market if you don’t understand how it works. National cultures will affect how well your concept is received, and your offerings will not appeal to consumers in every country. Before you explore a foreign market, you must ensure there will be sufficient consumer demand to justify the investment.
- Familiarize yourself with local etiquette. In some cultures, it’s common to get straight down to business. In others, this is seen as rude and unprofessional, and negotiations take hours. Be sure you understand national body language cues so you don’t offend your audience.
- Take your own interpreter to any meetings, as they will have your interests at the forefront.
- Don’t assume that a US product will sell anywhere–this thinking is why less than 25% of US ventures abroad are successful.
Learn The Local Rules Of Engagement
So, you’ve chosen a market you’re serious about investing in. But do you understand the realities of operating within that country? Commercial laws vary from country to country, and you must ensure you comply with what can be incredibly complex protocols and regulations.
Everything from the packaging to advertising must align with national legal conventions–and penalties for non-compliance can be severe. For example, if you’re a US-based business entering the EU marketplace, you must understand how evolving data protection law will affect how you can and cannot interact with consumers.
If you’re considering a market, invest in guidance from a consulting firm who can advise you on everything from competition protocols to data protection regulations.
Pick Global Tools
If you’re expanding into a new marketplace, you need a more flexible business structure. For SME’s, this can mean everything from evolving shipping costs to payment methods. Using globally-recognized third-party payment facilitators such as PayPal and Stripe is advisable, at least in the early stages of growth. Shipping providers such as EasyPost offer streamlined, simple integration into your payment and delivery process.
Assess Your Financing Needs
All ventures require a financial investment. In particular, global trading requires flexible, adaptable financing. Businesses expanding overseas from the US may wish to approach the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which specializes in funding international ventures and has the resources to help you succeed.
You can sell your product to foreign distributors who are then responsible for selling it in their domestic country. They are not always easy to find, but you may want to start by approaching foreign chambers of commerce in the US, or foreign companies with a US representative. If you’re new to sourcing distribution, importing, and exporting, you’re best hiring a consulting firm who know where to look to find the best deal for your business needs.
Expanding your business globally can be incredibly rewarding so long as you have a well-researched business plan. It can protect you from declining interest in your product domestically and open up entirely new chapters in your business’s history.