Going Global: 4 tips for Entrepreneurs expanding their business

hand shakeGoing global is risky because it’s hard to understand the competition and opportunity of a new market. Just because your products and services are doing well in your local market does not mean that they will do well internationally. However, if you’re an entrepreneur seriously looking into business globalisation, here are four tips to help you expand successfully.

Create an International Business Plan

An international business plan is key to your success in an international landscape. There are all sorts of factors to consider when going global because each market is affected by different cultural, governmental, and economic nuances, as well as competition. In your business plan, set long-term and short-term goals and create a process for measuring your progress. Then, create an implementation timeline.

Prepare Your Team and Products for the Launch

It’s often not possible to rely exclusively on your existing executives to launch into an international market because they will be too busy managing your current markets. Instead, create a new team for your launch that consists of people in the international market, people who understand your products or services well, and people who have experience in outsourcing or globalisation.

You don’t have to bring all of your products to an international market at once. It’s better to test the waters with some of your best-selling products and then introduce new ones as you grow. This way you can use gap analysis to better realise the local demands. This also allows time to apply for patents in your new markets, translate product labeling, and perform quality assurance in all areas of your global business.

Familiarise Yourself with the New Culture

It’s important to realise that culture has a lot to do with how well your products or services will sell in an international market. For instance, a line of beauty products dedicated to hair removal is very appealing to western markets, but not as much in Europe or Asia. In some cases it could take years to understand the culture in an international market that is new to you.

If you’re not already familiar with the culture where you plan to expand your business, it’s best to partner with someone who lives or has lived in the new location and truly understands the market. When big businesses are looking to expand into new international markets, they often acquire businesses that are already there. At the very least, you should hire a few local people as part of your launch team to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Get Your Finances in Order

Another thing to consider as you are going global is the expense. You will need to set up new offices, new distribution channels, new customer service practices, and more. Globalisation is an expensive business endeavor with a lot of financial risk.

You also need to look into taxes and laws associated with your new market, as well as open a bank account that uses the local currency to manage your budget better. For money transfers, often the fastest and most cost-effective method is to send money online, and currency conversion is automatic.

Good luck with your international business expansion plans. You can do it if you’re prepared and truly understand the new market. Just remember to measure your success carefully so you can pull out if things are not working well. There’s no one-size-fits-all product or service.

Image via Flickr by flazingo_photos

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