Are you considering the international expansion of your business? Or maybe you’re already overseas, but profits aren’t taking off quite as much as you’d like. Whatever your reasons for seeking global business advice, here are just nine ways to make it in a foreign market.
1. Set Goals
Which countries are your benchmarks for success? How much do you expect to generate in revenue by the end of the year? Having clear-cut goals will keep you on track and allow you to measure your progress as your brand evolves.
2. Know The Region
Never do business in a country that you haven’t thoroughly researched beforehand. You don’t want to run afoul of cultural norms or business etiquette. You also don’t want to wind up like KFC, the brand that went into China and accidentally mistranslated “finger-lickin’ good” into “eat your fingers off.”
3. Ready Your Team
Everyone in your company needs to be fully committed to going global. Your warehouse staff needs to understand international shipping regulations; your customer service agents need to be trained in cross-cultural sensitivity. All employees should be prepared to grow, adapt and change.
4. Set A Budget
How much can you afford to spend on international advertising? Will you be using domestic profits or a separate source of capital? Different businesses use different models when going global, and there’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on you.
5. Analyze Market Research
Before you breach the borders of another country, make sure they actually have a market for the product or service that you’re selling. You should also look into things like customer demographics and incomes to ensure that you’re pricing competitively and to the right economic targets.
6. Utilize Social Media
Social media is a great way to connect to foreign markets. If you aren’t sure how to get started, follow the examples of businessmen like Shahram Shirkhani: They began on popular, multi-country platforms and eventually branched out onto others as the market demanded. The most important thing is to know your customers.
7. Consider Aesthetic
Japan values kawaii. France sells style. Never underestimate the value of packaging in a new market, especially when your home base is elsewhere and your native language is different. Sometimes an attractive package is all you have to make a sale overseas.
8. Find the Right Staff
You’ll need good people on the ground to manage day-to-day operations in your countries of expansion. Try asking around for local headhunters or recruitment firms that know the industry. You can also hire a few bilingual employees on your domestic payroll and fly them out to help get everything started.
9. Consider Shipping
If you aren’t careful, overseas shipping can turn into the most expensive part of your global endeavor. Make sure you’re up-to-date on import and export laws, and think about putting an international licensing specialist on retainer just in case. You never know when pursuing the fine print will save you thousands.
These are just nine things to keep in mind when expanding your business to foreign markets. It may be a risky venture, but it can also be an extremely profitable one. It all depends on how much you’re prepared and how badly you want to succeed.