So, your business is thriving in its designated country? It’s most likely to see success in other countries, too, right? In most cases, yes. But there’s a good chance it might not succeed on an international scale.
Taking your business across borders is easier said than done. New markets come with new challenges so it’s important that CEOs and business leaders carefully consider their options before diving into new territories. Are you targeting the right market? Have you got the resources and budget?
Here are the most significant questions to ask yourself before taking your business global…
1. Where is my Target Market?
Everyone keeps going on about the great market potential in a specific region. You’ve heard over and over about how well businesses do in certain geographic locations. One country may sound like a gold mine for your brand, but have you really thought about it? I mean, really and truly?
You need to find out if there is a real customer demand for your product/service in the target country. Are your customers international? Is there an actual need for your brand abroad? Do your market research, locate your customers and truly find out where there is potential for your business around the world. This way, you’ll be ready to penetrate the right market for your product.
2. Is my Website Tailored to the Target Market?
Your website is the face of your brand. It is through here where the majority of your new customers will learn about you. Have you made sure your website is offered in the target languages? To expand your business, you need to communicate your message and resonate with your audience using the right lingo.
By only offering your services in English for example, you risk losing potential international customers. Consider this – only 28 percent of the European population can read it! Hire the services of a professional translation agency and get your web content translated. Multilingual content won’t only attract global customers, it will also enhance brand reputation and increase retention and ROI rates.
3. Have I got the Right Team on Board?
Imagine serving different locales and only having staff that communicate in one language. You’ll be in for a bad ride. Once your business starts crossing boarders, you’ll need to hire employees that are native in your market’s language. Dialect, wording, idioms and lingo differ among cultures and nations.
According to James Hunt, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, “Closing a deal abroad can be a vastly different experience than you’re probably used to.”
You don’t want to offend or miscommunicate with your foreign customers. To prevent communication barriers and achieve international expansion, you want to make sure that your team understands the culture and norms of your overseas market. For this reason, investing in multilingual staff is a safe bet.
3. Have I Considered the Legalities?
Laws and regulations differ across countries. Arranging contracts in one location might be a totally different (and more complicated) experience in another. Some laws, like tax laws for example, won’t be the same as what you’re used to in your jurisdiction. You don’t want to be loaded with paper work when you could be focusing on business goals.
One of the most important steps in expanding internationally is taking the time to do research on regulations and laws in the said country. You can even opt for legal counsel or consult an attorney before setting your foot in that market. Being prepared for legal issues can help ensure a smoother market entry.
4. Have I got the Budget?
Last but not least, take the time to consider your budget. This is after all, one of the most important factors to consider before going global. Do you have the finances to translate and localize your website? This can be a rather costly (but worth-it process). Have you got enough funds to hire multilingual staff?
If you plan on going physically global (i.e. opening offices worldwide), make it a priority to consider exchange rates and tax structures of the different countries. Taking the plunge into international markets is no easy task if you haven’t got sufficient capital to do so.
These are the all-important issues to bear in mind when taking your business global. International markets offer great growth for businesses, but so long as you go about it the right way…