Take your Company Global in 9 Easy Steps
Do you want to take your company global? If so then you have come to the right place. This guide will talk you through the steps you can take to not only increase the general visibility of your business, while also helping you to avoid some of the top pitfall mistakes that most people make.
Pick your Market
There are 195 countries in the world. Where on earth do you start? Picking your expansion countries isn’t an easy task, but there are things you can do to make your decision easier. A lot of US companies go down the path that offers the least resistance. This could be Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and more. They go for the ones that might be closest to home, and that have similar regulations. While this is a good strategy, it would be a better strategy for you to figure out what countries offer the highest demand for your product. If you are selling within the auto sector then it could be wise for you to go through Japan or even Germany. With everything, you should be applying some degree of logic here. The 80/20 rule will give you a solid starting point. 80% of your international sales should come from 20% of your international market. The last thing you want to do is bite off more than you can chew here. You need to decide between various levels of complexity. Leverage key distributors and make the effort to strike channel partners who may align with your budget and your target customers. The solutions that you happen to use in one country might not be suitable for another. If you can, take into account the market entrance, resource supply, cost efficiency and any legal regulations that may be present. If you can do this then you are bound to come out on top.
It’s also important that you are sensitive to the culture of the countries you intend on expanding into. Prepare content that is sensitive to the particular areas if you can. As with all content, whether it is a landing page or a website, you need to make sure that you are engaging with a particular target audience. One mistake you don’t want to make is assuming that whatever process works at home, is going to work abroad. Create an emotional connection in a global context. Although this can be challenging, you do need to use visuals to your advantage. If you can do this then you are bound to create something that resonates with the culture and any nuances.
Pick your Structure
There are so many ways that you can take your company global. There are also various levels of investment and complexity. You need to decide between opening up offices overseas, leveraging distributors and even striking opportunities with key partners. In China, you will need a local company that you can partner with as this is the best way for you to navigate the local market. Where you can make sure that you take the time to set up your efforts, whether it’s as a startup or whether it is through the acquisition of a local partner. If you can do this then you should be able to exceed the results of those who choose to piggy-back on others.
If you want to speed up the learning curve then make sure that you turn to local experts and that you also allow their input when it comes to engaging different audiences. Help them understand your message and also take onboard any suggestions that they may have. One thing to take note of is that every country will have different rules of engagement. When you are starting, it’s helpful for you to engage in an international consulting firm. They will help you quite a lot, as they can assist you with learning the local laws and they can also help you to understand any regulations too. They can aid you with government taxes as well as employment versus contractor rules. Don’t underestimate the downside risk that comes with things like organized crime and even corruption in countries either. These varying rules can make it difficult for you to expand into a market if you don’t know what you are doing.
Localize your Product
The product that you use within the US will not be the same product that you use in other countries. You will have to think about localizing your product so that it meets other local languages and currencies. Make sure that you internationalize your core product for the country you intend to serve. You need to do this before you launch it into the local market. You also need to localize fulfilment where possible. You need to think through all of the back-office tasks you have to take care of and how things are going to be different for you overseas. Who is going to be answering the phone in the local language? How will your products be shipped and warehoused? How are you going to collect payments from your customers? How are you going to serve your customers after you have made the sale? If you can consider things like this then you will soon find that it is easier than ever for you to focus on your process.
Learn the Language
Language barriers can slow down your march. If you only offer content in your native tongue then do not make the mistake of assuming that your audience is going to understand this. Use tools, such as location-detectors so you can convert your content into the language of your customer. Consider hiring a translator too, as they can help you to generate content as well as multiple versions of the site. If you can do this then you will soon find that it is easier for you to come out on top.
Visit Each Country
While more people tend to enjoy the overall convenience of doing business with companies across the world, this doesn’t replace the face time that you need to build both personal relationships and trust. Visiting every single country where you plan to do business will help you gain a better understanding of partners, the media and customers in general. This happens to include interacting with any outsourced staff, as well as your vendors and partners. Show some pictures on your site with local people and also showcase the fact that you appreciate their local customs. If you can do this then you are bound to come out on top.
Focus on an International Market
During your research, you have probably gathered information on the type of marketing mechanisms you need to implement. You will also have a good understanding of what you should be aiming for, in terms of search marketing and online advertising. Use this information and carry on gathering data on blogs, forums and even through email marketing. If you can do this, and if you can localize your channels then this will help you out quite a lot. You may also find it possible to localize your marketing efforts this way too. Every country has a unique culture of its own and you have to tailor your creatives where possible so you can begin to embrace the message that is going to resonate the most with people. If you are already successful in selling online then this is great, but expanding properly to an international market requires much more work. If you are marketing online then one thing you can do is hire local marketing agencies. If you want to send money online to them then there are easy ways for you to do this. Simply look into an India money transfer if you want to make the most out of your efforts.
Billings and Payments
Another thing you have to do is set up a solid billings and payments system. At the end of the day, currency exchanges and varied payment systems can put off a small business when it comes to going global. It has become easier to work with different customers however if you simply embrace the tools that are out there right now. There are numerous ways that you can deliver an online experience, such as by accessing affordable international credit card solutions and even international transactions. More countries are now open to the idea of being able to accept global businesses, and this has helped to make business expansion way easier. Even though it will take a lot of effort for you to expand your business globally, you have to remember that there are tools out there and you can also adopt several strategies to make your transition easier and more affordable. Overall, just remember that the type of country you are going into will depend on your market, and to understand this market, you need to hire local experts who understand what you offer and how best to connect you with customers. If you can understand this, everything else will fall into place so keep that in mind.