(This is a sponsored post)
Expanding your business overseas might be something you consider once you have a business that is successfully running in your local market. Many entrepreneurs choose to expand abroad so that they can attract new potential customers and continue to build a name for themselves. There are a vast array of benefits to moving your business into global markets, such as opportunities for growth and sales, plus the opportunity to make your business more competitive in your industry.
That being said, expanding your business overseas could be one of the most difficult things that you decide to do. There are plenty of challenges and risks to consider, and you need to make sure you think about everything in detail before you decide to go ahead. Below, we’ll take a look at a few things that will help you to navigate this big change.
See if you can find influencers in the markets you want to expand into, and develop a relationship with them. Don’t wait until you have started the process, though – do this well before the expansion begins. Don’t think small when you’re on the hunt for influencers to work with, either. Look everywhere, and work on building a network that you can use to develop and source ideas. As you continue to build relationships, consider whether they’ll make a good partner for you in your quest for expansion. If not a partner, they could potentially become a mentor. Whatever you do, make sure you prioritize your relationships before you take a leap of faith.
Market research is the only way you can make an informed decision on whether entering a new market will be a good move for you. An overseas market might be big news right now, but it might not give you the customers that you need to reach. By working with an effective market research firm, you can decide whether your business is going to be well received, and whether there’s even a market for your services and products. They can also help you to figure out how you will make sure your brand can transfer into this new culture. This part of the process can be overlooked by business owners, but doing it will give you a great head start.
If you’re going to be successful overseas, you need to look at your capital and create a long term financial plan. Where will you get the money for the initial investment if you don’t have it already? You can’t expect to create a profit right away. Make sure this is something you’re willing to work on for the foreseeable. Can you afford a shophouse to set up, the equipment you need, and an overseas team? What else will you need to fork out for in the beginning?
Your employees need to be on board with your plan, of course. You may need them to help you train up new employees, and build new processes. Ask them for their input, too – you never know if they have some advice about communication, customer acquisition, marketing or something else unless you ask. They are the backbone of your business, so make sure you treat them like it.
There are going to be language barriers when you want to expand, not to mention the cultural challenges. Cultural differences can be a problem if you’re not prepared to make changes and stay flexible. Your business might not translate well to certain countries, and you may need to make changes to suit your foreign audience. Making sure you work with a trusted translator, as well as with someone to ensure that your marketing and brand is going to be well received is key.
Office culture should also be considered. Different styles and times of work may be better overseas, and you can’t expect people to work how you do back home. Just think of all of the people who go home for a siesta in the middle of the afternoon in certain countries!
You should even put a plan in place to start learning a new language early on. Don’t just leave it all to a translator. Study when you have the time. If you can study 5 days a week, you could have a new language down in less than a year.
Are you truly ready to expand your business overseas? Use the advice here to make your plan.