These days, lots of entrepreneur and company leaders are more than happy to keep their business in the local market. It is incredibly easy to build up a sterling reputation and a good name for yourself in your local market. After all, a local market is just a very small pond, and that means you won’t have quite as many competitors to worry about. Plus, as local markets normally only cover a very small area, it won’t be too hard for you to get your name to all your target audience.
But is it really worth playing it safe locally? After all, there isn’t much chance to expand in such a limited market.
Some of the most competitive and focused entrepreneurs often get bored sticking to a local market, as doing business in such a small environment can be quite monotonous and mundane.
There isn’t much sense of adventure! If you are seeking adventure in business, though, you need to look out of your local bubble. And there is just one place to go when you start to feel the need for a more adventurous business – you should look to take your business abroad to international markets!
Moving into international markets is no plain sailing, though. It will take a lot of time and effort to establish your company in the new country, especially if you are going to continue operating back at home.
But that’s not to say it is completely impossible; these amazing tips should help you go from local hero to international business superstar!
What you will read in this post:
Broaden Your Marketing
You will no doubt already be very aware that local business requires local SEO – you will probably have already incorporated local SEO into your business’s marketing strategy already. Well, now that you are trying to go global, you also need to implement some SEO strategies to target your new destination.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with a marketing company that is very familiar with your target destination as they will know exactly which strings to pull to help give your new international marketing strategies a little boost! It’s also a good idea to do some research into marketing in your new destination.
Things may work slightly differently in a new country. And that means your current campaigns and strategies might not work over there. Doing your homework will help you figure this out and understand how your marketing needs to be tweaked and changed.
Market Research Is Key
When you opened your startup, even if this was many years ago now, you will have, undoubtedly, carried out some market research to make sure that your new product or services would work well in your local area. After all, if there had been no demand for them, you probably wouldn’t have set up shop in the first place!
Well, now you need to repeat all of this research but, this time, it needs to focus on the destination you want to expand into. It’s no good assuming that because your products or services will be welcomed just as much in your new country. In fact, the complete opposite might happen, and you might not make a single sale. So, it is important that you carry out plenty of research to see whether or not there really is a demand for the products. If not, simply move onto a different country.
You can organize your own market research, or see about contracting this work out to a professional market research agency.
Set Up On The Ground Meetings
Once you have decided to go ahead and expand into a certain country, you need to set the groundwork to find new clients and customers. If you are looking for other businesses to sell your products and services to, you will need to set up meetings in the country. This will just be like when you started to set up your company in your own country, only this time, you will be operating in a completely foreign country and an environment.
Firstly, you should introduce you and your company over email or on the phone. Make sure you have lots of sales data ready to tell potential clients so that you can persuade them to meet you in person. You need to have this data so that you can wow them about how well your current company is operating.
Once you impress them, they will probably agree to set up a meeting with you. Of course, there is one thing you need to tackle before you start to make contact with potential clients and new companies – the language barrier.
Deal With The Language
Unless you are hoping to expand into an English-speaking country, you are going to need to deal with a language barrier.
Thankfully, there are a couple of ways you can make this work for you. If you are absolutely sure that your company will be able to survive in an international market, then it is a wise move to hire some full-time staff who are fluent in the language of your destination. If they are originally from that country or have spent a considerable time in the country.
That way, they will have a good idea of the destination’s culture and business traditions and customs. You can assign these employees to tasks that involve any contact with the foreign businesses and clients. You might even want to take them with you during your business trips abroad. However, if your business is still relatively new, even in the local market back home, you might find it too costly to hire some more full-time staff until your international business has become well established.
To help ease the costs, you can simply outsource any contact with businesses to translators and interpreters. Some of these may be willing to come on business trips with you, though that could be expensive. It will be more cost effective to hire an interpreter to accompany you to meetings once you are in the destination.
Consider The Legal Side
Depending on the country you want to expand into, you might need to consider some legal aspects of opening your business in a new destination. As a foreigner, you might be required to get a visa before you can open a company in some countries. However, this won’t be the case with every country, so you will need to research this.
There might be certain trading certificates and permits that you need to obtain before you set up shop. To be entirely sure about the legal documents and certificates that you need, you should contact the local authority or trading offices.
You might even want to contact someone who has previous experience of expanding into the country as they can help advise you and tell you what they needed to obtain before they started trading.
Think About International Tax
As well as differences with the legal side of opening a business, you will be faced with a completely different tax system. And this tax system might impact on how the side of your business back home works together with the new international branch of your business.
For tax purposes, it might be necessary for you to open a completely new business abroad rather than simply expand your current one. If you do that, you will need to hire an accountant in your new destination so that they can take care of your international books and taxes.
Things will be slightly more complicated if you do expand the whole business and keep it as one. You will have certain restrictions when it comes to exporting and importing between the two branches of your company, and you might have some other international business regulations to follow.
Make sure you know these so that you keep the taxmen in both countries happy!
Keep On Checking In
There are many reasons why you might not want to move abroad when your company does.
If you have a team of employees heading over to the new destination who you completely trust and respect, then there might not be any reason for you to go with them permanently. For this reason, it’s important to continually check in with your team who are on the ground in the new country. They can keep you up to date with everything that is going on with their side of the business. And it’s also a good idea for you to report how things have been going back at home.
Thanks to the Internet and new technologies, you will be able to easily keep in touch without blowing your budget on communications. Just make sure you are using free communications apps and software like Skype and WhatsApp.
Moving your business abroad might be very scary and nerve wracking at first, but there is no reason why it should fail straight away. You just need to ensure that you give the international side as much dedication and time as your current company at home. Eventually, both sides of your company will be running very smoothly!