Five questions you need to answer before expanding your business internationally
Thinking of taking your successful domestic business global? Here are five questions you need to answer before expanding your business internationally.
While you still have to deal with challenges such as language barriers and unfamiliar cultures, expanding your business to other parts of the world is easier than ever in today’s digital age.
Expanding internationally comes with a plethora of benefits. As well as being an avenue for long-term growth, you get to increase your customer base and, consequently, revenue. It is also a way to build your brand image and reputation, and protect your business from negative growth in your domestic market.
However, you can only reap the above benefits if you manage to build a thriving business overseas. You don’t want to branch out internationally only to fail as soon as you start operating. That is why it is important to first establish if you are fit for the expansion before venturing out. Here are some questions you need to ask.
1) Is there a market for your products there?
The biggest reason you would be venturing to new markets is to offer your products to a wider customer base. However, just because your products are doing well in your local market, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a ready market overseas.
You need to make sure that the demand for your products exists. This way, you will be able to build a strong customer base in the shortest time.
You can start by experimenting with E-commerce. If you start getting a fair amount of orders from international customers, then you have a good sign of your products selling. However, make sure that you spend time on the ground doing thorough market research, too.
2) Do you have all the people you need?
You need a qualified team to build your brand in the country that you are looking to venture into. If you decide to create a team from your current workforce, you will have a small team who might end up being overworked, hurting their productivity.
The remaining team in your local business will not be as effective as before, potentially damaging what was a successful business. So before deciding to venture out, evaluate your human resources. Make sure that you are in a position to put up an effective team in the country that you are expanding to.
If you want to bypass the complexity of hiring in a foreign land, consider contracting an international PEO. They will help your business get a footing in foreign countries by offering employee recruitment, PEO, and payroll services.
3) Do you have the capital and time required?
Expanding internationally is an expensive affair in terms of money and time. To navigate the complicated process, you will need to have enough funds, plus the capacity to give it the attention it needs.
However, that money and attention should not come at the cost of your core business. You will know that you are fit for an expansion if your business can run efficiently without you.
You also need to make sure that the operations will not suffer if you take out the required capital. If needed, have a reliable source that you can find the required funds.
4) Is your website global-ready?
People like doing business with companies that are able to give them a personalized experience. So it doesn’t matter how well your business is doing in your home country, you will have to change some aspects to reflect the ways of the people in the country that you want to expand to.
And one task that is absolutely essential is ensuring that your website speaks the language of the people in the countries you are expanding to. The images, colours and illustrations will need to sit well culturally with the people.
You might want to start by making your website global. Has it been translated to the local languages of the countries that you are considering expanding into? Also research any other aspects that you need to change to localize your business.
5) How efficient are your business processes at home?
Even with localisation, there is the possibility that you will duplicate the way you do some processes in your home country. And the last thing you want to do is to export processes that are not working well for you at home.
So before you consider expanding your business overseas, thoroughly evaluate your business processes. If there are areas that you are doing poorly, or can improve upon for greater efficiency or profitability, it is important that you first streamline them.
Ensure that you are serving your customers well in your home country before drafting an international strategy.
Are you ready to expand your business overseas?
Ideally, an international expansion works best when it comes as a natural progression, and you have already established your core business well in your home country.
Once you have a successful domestic business, then you can start using the advice in this article to explore the potential of growing your business overseas.
Written by NHGlobalPartners, an international PEO company.
Photo by fotografierende