Some say the best time to expand internationally was 10 years ago, and we think that the second best time is definitely today. Dive into this list of proven business tips for growth and we guarantee you, you’ll wish you had read this earlier.
Entrepreneurs are always looking out for opportunities in the market and won’t hesitate to seize any if it presents itself. The idea of going international with your business may not be entirely new, but not so many business owners have taken time to understand the dynamics and all that is involved in this massive transition.
We’ll try to give you highlights and tips on how to conveniently launch your business into the global (market) limelight without exposing your brand to avoidable risks.
Before we dive into the major aspects of this topic, let’s quickly understand the basic knowledge of what’s involved.
What Is International Expansion?
As businesses continue to grow in the local market, business owners seek to exploit broader markets for a lot of reasons. Examples of such reasons include avoiding the seasonality of local sales, the growth and recognition of the brand, and most importantly the maximization of profit. Other advantages of international expansion are:
- The extension of the sales span of products, brands, and services by introducing them to new markets.
- By minimizing the dependance on the local market, businesses avoid changes in demand and economic fluctuations.
Interestingly, one may eventually find that international markets could be less competitive with a fast growth rate. Furthermore, needs across countries and consumer vary, and businesses can be surprised to find that products that didn’t perform particularly well locally, thrive internationally.
When Is the Right Time to Consider International Expansion?
Deciding whether to go global or not could be a tiring undertaking. However, proper guidance and the right knowledge would make your transition a smooth one.
Factors to Consider Before Going Global
When it comes to international expansion, there is no ‘one size fit all’. Every business is unique, and as such, the approach differs. For small or emerging businesses, international expansion could disrupt a lot of activities and operations they have going while an established business would take it with stride if they tick the right boxes.
Tips on Making the Right International Expansion Decision
Here are some tips to help you make the right decision while thinking of global expansion for your business.
Perform A Holistic Due Diligence
Before you decide to move your business abroad and exploit new market terrain, you must ensure that you have your facts and figures right and at your fingertips too. You need to understand the impact of your decision on your business and prepare for any challenges that may arise.
An excellent place to start is to undertake a product gaps analysis. What does it mean? A product gap analysis helps you identify local products where you are headed and also find out if there is a demand to be filled (by your brand).
Other standard analysis includes the SWOT analysis, primary market and opportunity sizing. All of these make up a market segmentation analysis; which determines whether your product will be accepted by the intended or target market.
Design A Strategy and Business Plan Based on Your Findings.
Like we mentioned earlier, every business is unique and thus, requires a unique approach. Your strategy should take into consideration some significant factors that will propel your business towards success and growth. Likewise, your business plan should reflect your objectives and how you intend to achieve the best results from international expansion.
Some Essential Elements to Highlight Here Include;
- A clearly defined set of goals. Set goals that are realistic across your short, medium, and long-term strategy.
- State the success metrics and cost/benefits of undertaking international expansion.
- Have a business model that defines your business structure across all levels and stages of the business.
- Last but not least, you should have a top-down budget breakdown, implementation mechanism, and commit dates.
Team readiness is crucial and should be thoughtfully considered before taking your business global. It’s best if you can have senior and experienced team members from the parent company to get this going as soon as you touch down. This helps your business move quickly rather than having to build a new team from scratch - a process which will undoubtedly consume much time and resources compared to the former option - Hit the ground running!
How about Product readiness? Your product readiness is determined by results from your initial product gap analysis. This is important to help you achieve the desired impact on the market and achieve the aim of going international in the first place - making profits!
Take out time to evaluate your offerings and ensure that they are not too bogus and would ultimately have a high impact on your prospective customers.
Also, remember to review government and industry-based regulations. Having this in check gives your brand credibility and serves as proof that you are committed to providing the best services by adhering to compliance rules - you should get certifications if there are any.
Another important aspect of your product readiness plan is obtaining a patent or trademark. Also, explore product localization opportunities.
This is also another vital factor to consider. However, before you proceed beyond this stage, endeavor to initiate a quality testing process to help identify how your brand is performing compared to local standards.
Distribution network and logistics are also crucial in maintaining a strong presence in international markets.
Your organizational readiness should take note of cultural differences (like language), customs, and local policies into consideration. Your corporate policies should be flexible and reflect motivation for your employees. Other important factors to consider are legal Readiness, Tax and Finance, and establishing healthy relationships with local businesses.
Why You Need International Marketing Services
As businesses continue to expand their coverage in the global market, one cannot help but consider the ease at which such strategies are implemented. Taking your business overseas depends on the ease and availability of transportation, communication, and effective logistics.
As part of your organizational preparedness, cultural factors also play a critical role in determining how long your business will survive abroad. You should consider hiring an expert in international marketing services who understands the landscape to guide you on how to navigate your way around potential barriers that could hinder your business expansion.
International expansion offers excellent opportunities for meeting new customers, increase sales, and yield more profits. The services of an international marketing company will do you a lot of good by protecting your interests and avoid losing your money.
Professional international marketing services will help you with a feasible go-to-market strategy including pricing, marketing and provide support in other areas of your business.
The key to succeeding in international expansion is understanding the process and meeting the right people. Stick to your plan and what is working for you.