There’s a big world of opportunities out there, and your business can take advantage of them. Embracing international business expansion shows that a company is ready to compete globally. It is one of the biggest achievements any enterprise can claim, but there is more to it than simply setting up shop in another country. You need to have a detailed strategy before moving into a new part of the world, or else you may struggle to keep up with the competition. However, the good news is that you can avoid many of the most ordinary pitfalls of international business expansion by knowing what you are getting into and being prepared with some common-sense solutions.
Getting to Know the Marketplace
Perhaps the most important step any organization needs to take before setting foot into a foreign market is to perform due diligence. Understanding the conditions and environment you will be entering is crucial if you are to have any hope of survival. For example, it is key to know whether or not the products or services you offer have value overseas. Is there an existing demand you can satisfy, or can you create it through marketing? Be ready to spend more if you have to build a market for your offerings, but the rewards could be well worth it.
Also, consider how cultural differences may impact your company. If your employees are uncomfortable or have a difficult time adjusting to the new environment, expansion could be over before it even begins. Finally, be sure that the local conditions are right for your operating needs. This means finding out whether or not the financing, infrastructure, and supply chain exists to support everything you want to accomplish.
The strategies that have worked domestically may not transition well into another context. You are also certain to encounter problems that are unique to doing business internationally. It pays to recognize these issues and mitigate them before they have a chance to overwhelm you. For instance, the most obvious obstacle to overcome is the language barrier. Serving a worldwide customer base means being able to communicate with them no matter where they are. Working with a multilingual customer service company to establish a call center that can handle multiple languages can be critical.
Another misstep many companies make when pursuing international business expansion is failing to understand how their marketing translates into a new culture. You may not need to start over from scratch with your messaging, but it pays to take an objective look at what your imagery and branding communicate to someone outside of your homeland. In most cases, a few minor tweaks are all that is needed to ensure the message has the desired effect.
Breaking onto the international stage is a major milestone for your firm and a step that should not be taken lightly. For more tips about how to avoid some of the hang-ups that can affect international expansion, take a look at the accompanying infographic.
Are You Ready for International Business Expansion?
Contributed by guest author Anita Lee, who is Marketing and Sales Director for Callnovo, an outsourced contact center service provider specializing in customer services and technical support. She has five years of experience in the industry and focuses on e-commerce customer service and call center operation.
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