So, you have made the decision to expand your business internationally and you’re feeling excited, nervous and a whole host of other emotions that you’re not completely sure how to explain. Let’s be honest, we know this means a lot of hard work, but if successful, international expansion also means more revenue, diversified revenue streams, a dramatic increase in global brand awareness, and exposure to international business technology and methods.
We have listed a few things you should consider before expanding internationally.
Why is it important to you and your business to expand overseas to new locations? Unfortunately answering with ‘more business, more money’ isn’t really a good enough answer. Do you know for a fact that your product or service is going to be successful in this new country? Do you have data driven results to back this up? For example, look at Mattel’s attempted entry into China. You would assume that a company that makes the iconic Barbie doll would be successful throughout the world, but unfortunately, Mattel didn’t study its market enough. In a culture that stresses skill building and educational toys, Barbie was seen as a bit of a distraction. Within two years their behemoth of a store was closed.
Being able to point to justifications beyond potential new revenue streams will make your case for international expansion stronger, in addition to helping you understand possible hurdles before you encounter them.
One of the main challenges you’re going to face internationally is communication. English is the most widely used language in the world, yet it’s not the only language you’ll need if you’re trading globally. For example, did you know that only 28% of Europeans can read English? With that in mind, you can clearly see how much business you’d be missing out on if you create a website solely in English.
Have you set up an international business plan? An international business plan is important to define your company's present status and internal goals and commitment, but it's also necessary if you plan to measure your results. International expansion is not a single-track movement from location A to location B. Companies enter foreign markets with different business objectives.
Don’t take anything for granted when it comes to expanding to new markets. Just because you know how to do business in one country doesn’t mean you have everything figured out in others.
You need to make sure your business is set up to operate within the guidelines of local laws and regulations. Do import and export laws impose restrictions? How do local tax laws impact the products and services you offer? What is the dispute resolution process like in the target country and how will they impact your chargeback ratios? These are all important questions you must research before attempting to expand internationally.
If you’re reading this post and you are starting to go into panic mode about your thoughts of expanding internationally, then contact us. We have over 25 years’ experience in helping private sector companies to expand into new markets. Our team are fluent in several languages, and consists of experienced corporate salespeople, researchers, marketers, entrepreneurs and economic developers.
We are also international, with 35 professionals based strategically in key markets to give you global coverage.
And with a proven process, we help economic development agencies succeed by clarifying market strengths and optimising target segmentation and delivery models that lead to more investment.
We will work with you to develop a toolbox that ensures you have the right knowledge and intelligence to move forward with confidence. Partnering with you to forge deep understanding, we find meaningful, often unexpected insights, that inform smart, successful strategy and a blueprint for the future.