The International Step: Taking Your Business to Foreign Soil

A business that has established a solid local customer base can already be considered successful, but for many entrepreneurs, the local market is simply not big enough. The next step is to take the business global. I like what astronaut Chris Hadfield said about growth, “Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

Expanding your business internationally may seem daunting, but it offers a lot of advantages and opportunities that you won’t find locally. For instance, you can counter fluctuations in the market by tapping into foreign markets. Also, a larger market to sell in will extend the sales life of your products or services. By going global, you are increasing the potential of your business to expand and grow. Here are some things that you should consider in creating an international presence for your business.

Assess Expansion Readiness

The idea of expanding globally might have gotten you too excited to realize that your business is not yet ready for such a huge step. Even if the product sells in your country, that does not guarantee its success somewhere else. You also have to take inventory of your resource. Will you be able to sustain both your local and overseas establishments? The added workload will require more staff as well. You really have to consider all of the logistics when making the move overseas. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” It is also very important to make sure that your business is financially and structurally stable, with a strong team that can support its international growth. Failing to do this will cripple your business not only overseas, but domestically as well.

Research Foreign Markets

Just because your product sells well in your country doesn’t mean it will sell well in another. Research foreign markets that are potential targets for expansion. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of exporting to that country, and estimate how well your product will penetrate that market. Remember that you’ll have to meet the manufacturing requirements of certain countries, which means the materials used for your product may have to be changed. Will you be able to cover the costs of the changes? You will have to meet the requirements of a country before you can expand to it.

Write an International Business Plan

Once you’ve decided on a target foreign market, the next step is to write an international business plan revolving around that country. Your goals, campaign strategy, projected income, and expenses are only some of the things that should be included in your international business plan. It should also include how you plan to meet the social, cultural, economic, and legal differences between your country and the foreign country. Set prices according to the foreign market and include the necessary changes, if any, in the manufacturing materials. Determine the most convenient method of exporting your product as well. Sun Tzu said it best, “Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.” If you make a plan now, you will be better prepared for any challenges that will occur.

Start Your Campaign

You should understand the culture and behavior of your target market in order to ensure an effective campaign. Overcome cultural barriers and seek advice if necessary. Adapt to the culture of the foreign market, but be consistent with your branding. Different countries have different advertising regulations and product laws as well, so make sure you abide to theirs. Take advantage of technology by taking your campaign online. Advertise on websites or hire email marketing agencies to manage your email campaigns.

Get Insurance

Taking your business to foreign soil can be very risky. Fortunately, there are many types of business insurance plans available that can offer your company some protection. Generally, business insurance depends on the nature and size of your business. Before settling on one, compare business insurance quotes including rates and policy offerings to determine the best one for your business.

Creating an international presence for your business allows room for expansion. But before you can take your business global, you’ll need a lot more preparation than when you established your business locally. Although it’s hard work, international expansion will protect your business from the risk of decline in the domestic markets.