Are you ready to take your business to a global level? Eager to take the next step for your brand? Just imagine all of the opportunities that come with stepping outside of our own borders, tapping into new markets each day, and reaching consumers that you would have never been able to before. But while going global does offer several attractive advantages, there is a responsibility to uphold when beginning your path to globalization.
With that in mind, it’s crucial to keep in mind of the many factors which can determine whether or not reaching out to the global marketplace is the best decision for your business. International markets can present quite a few advantages to a company, but unprepared entrepreneurs could easily find themselves in hot water if they make the wrong move. Here are ten steps to get your business to go global:
1. Research Potential Markets
One mistake you definitely don’t want to make is to jump into a wildly different market without being prepared to handle its many challenges. It will be important to look into the local culture and laws of the market you are targeting to ensure that your product is welcome. Don’t just assume that what works in your neighborhood will work overseas.
It would also be to your advantage to research the markets you are interested in to become acquainted with the business customs and culture. A business cannot expect to be able to sell their products and services well in another country if there is no respect for each other’s cultures first and foremost.
2. Do the Numbers
Figure out how much it is actually going to cost to move your company to a new location. If you’re planning on physically expanding your business, this will involve much more than the office space and utilities. Depending on where you plan on expanding to, a business may have to pay more for specific local business licenses, specialized advertising, training new employees, and more.
On the other hand, if your plan is to stay in your current location and reach out to new markets through a virtual presence, you’ll want to compare the prices and features of call forwarding services. Because your distant consumers will not be able to visit your storefront, you’ll need to provide them with a reliable way to contact your business. This is a great option for startup businesses who are looking to tap into new markets as well to keep up with the competition of bigger companies.
3. Research the Infrastructure
Again, if your plan is to expand your office space to another country, keep in mind that what you may be accustomed to may not be what they are able to provide. Because there is a very high chance that the country you are expecting to do business with will not have the same accommodations you are used to, do your research about the country’s infrastructure to determine if what you need for your business to be successful is all there.
For instance, it would be a wise decision to research local courier services to determine whether or not they can deliver goods to your business in a timely manner. If the potential location of your expansion does not have an infrastructure that is prepared to give you the services you and your customers will expect, it will be important to discover that as soon as possible and, if possible, find ways to work around the disadvantages.
4. Hire the Right Staff
Whether you intend to hire staff from outside the country or to hire on a local level, it will be important to develop the ideal team to produce excellent results. If you’re offering something that your potential market needs but doesn’t understand, be sure to hire staff that is familiar with your offerings. After all, who is going to buy something from someone who doesn’t know anything about what they are selling?
Sometimes, even though there may be a high demand for a special service or product in a certain area, local residents can still be confused about its usefulness. In these cases, you will need to ensure that your staff is prepared to explain the importance of what you offer by making sure that they understand your purpose quite well.
5. Test Your New Markets
In the digital age, testing global markets is easier than ever. By using a website that will allow you to sell your products to a global marketplace (Etsy, eBay, Amazon, ect.), you can test whether or not the potential you see in those locations is real. If you notice a lot of sales coming from your potential new location, that might be a good sign that you’re on the right track.
In addition, if sales start to spark in other areas you hadn’t thought of before, testing such as this could actually aid you in finding new potential locations for expansion. Whether or not the response is positive where you want it to be, market testing can reveal some of the strengths and weaknesses of your business, which will make it easier to make the right decisions.
6. Prepare to Translate
Depending on where you plan to expand, chances are that simply exploring and researching the region won’t be enough — you’ll also have to ensure that you understand the local language of the area and can effectively communicate with residents. If you plan to hire people from the area who are well versed in the language, this may not be a problem.
However, if you’re planning to bring in employees who are well versed in the offerings of your company but don’t quite understand the local language, it will be important to consider hiring a translator. Alternatively, you could train your workers to speak the language, but either way it will be necessary to ensure that your customers can understand your employees and vice versa.
7. Promote in the Right Places
If your plan is to move your business to the UK, you’ll want to promote your business in the UK. Start reaching out to the right audience by speaking with notable bloggers and news outlets in the area. It wouldn’t exactly make sense to keep advertising to your current customers, would it?
You need to make sure that your newest audience is very aware that you are making a move, and possibly even attempt to hype up the expansion. Spread the word that you’re planning to make a global move and prepare your potential audience for your arrival. Get everyone excited about the move beforehand and you’re sure to see success from the very beginning.
8. Communicate Globally
If you’re going to be reaching out to a global audience, you’ll want to ensure that both your current customers and new patrons can contact you easily. After all, nobody wants to call a number based in another country in order to get the service they expect locally. If they aren’t familiar with the area code or some other aspect of the number, they probably won’t call.
One of the easiest and most widely acceptable forms of communication out there is a 1 800 number. In particular, a vanity number can ensure global recognition that is sure to be understood and remembered by many. Consider the advantages of cheap toll free numbers for your global business before making the move and you’ll be ready to communicate with all of your customers no matter where they might live.
9. Have a Backup Plan
Nobody wants to think about what might happen if their business plans don’t work out. However, if your plans for expansion are met with failure, it will be important to have an escape plan. You will need to make sure that a move such as this won’t bring down your entire business simply because you attempted to access a new and different market.
Before making the move, make sure that you truly have enough capital to make it happen without losing too much ground at home. If expanding out fails, you’ll need a home base to rely upon, somewhere to rebuild and plan new strategies for a re-emergence into the market. Never spend so much on expansion that the very future of your company depends upon its success.
10. Go Glocal
If your plans for expansion are working well and your new market is responding positively, you might want to consider localizing your business in that area. You can make your company appear to be local and become a part of the community in many ways. Some ideas include purchasing a web address located in the country, getting a local phone number and reaching out to your new customers on a cultural level.
Some examples of Glocalization can be found in companies like McDonalds and Coca-Cola, who frequently change their menus/products based on the types of foods that are typically popular in the area they are marketing to. Find a way to bring local value to your company and you will surely reap the rewards. Taking this step will help to make your company look more trustworthy no matter where it is.
So there you have it, ten steps to help bring your business to a global marketplace. Even if all of these steps don’t apply to your specific company, you are sure to find some ideas here that are worth considering. To those who wish to go global, we wish you the best of luck in your future ventures!