If you’re the owner of a smaller business or SME who has managed to successfully setup and operate in your domestic markets, then you’ve also managed a remarkable achievement in what can be a very competitive world. However, you shouldn’t just rest on your laurels at this point, as now is the time to look to head to the international scene and grow even more.
You’ve clearly got the right skills and determination to get this far, so why stop now? Knowing just where to head though can be tricky if global expansion is new to you, so to help you out, here are a few key considerations you may wish to make:
The Right Markets
Firstly, it can be a good idea to look at what need there is for your product or service in countries around the world. This can give you a better picture of which markets are likely to be more receptive and where you can target.
Next you should think about what facilities you intend to have, this is particularly relevant if you’re planning to set up an additional HQ or base of operations in your chosen nation or nations. If this is the case, you should consider the same factors as you would domestically, so:
- Site and operational costs
- What the site has to offer in terms of functionality
- Accessibility for staff and customers
- Local demographics
- Proximity to other competitors
An international business also needs the right staff and it can be useful to have a mix of domestic staff you send overseas and new talent local to the country you’ve chosen. This can benefit you in two ways.
- Firstly, the domestic staff can train new team members on the company values and can ensure the new HQ is operating within your expected guidelines.
- Secondly, local staff can provide useful insights into the customs and expectations of the country’s markets and potentially help make any language barriers easier to overcome.
Another key consideration is how you plan to move your goods in and out of this country. Again, this can be similar to your domestic logistics setup, however there are different rules on importing and exporting in different nations.
As well as brushing up on these regulations – so you can be certain your goods can be shipped – it’s likely you will need to consider different exchange rates. These can of course vary depending on your location and you don’t want to over or underestimate your expenses, costs and profit margins as this can cause a variety of issues like delays or missed orders.
There’s also the different time zones to consider as this can make communication between your business locations trickier, particularly if there’s a sizeable distance. While we have technology to thank for making communication easy, it can mean having to work unsociable hours to maintain the business relationships you forge in other nations.
It might be you need to delegate this responsibility to your overseas staff who will be more skilled in dealing with local aspects such as the currency and working hours.
With all this in mind, you could then be able to roughly cost up the price of your expansion and work out whether or not this is feasible with the budgets you have in mind. This can also inform you on whether or not you need to secure additional capital or funds to go global.
A good tip here if you feel you lack the right expertise with this, is to hire a financial advisor or seek professional guidance to help ensure you make the right choices with your money.
You can also seek additional support and advice from your business peers and there are a variety of resources to be found online. So, bear in mind the above advice and also remember that you probably won’t see many quick wins with your expansion in its initial stages; being patient is key and eventually your overseas success will come over time.