Hoping to take your business global? Here are some of the factors that will influence your success

Thinking of going global with your business, and taking your products or services to a wider audience? Here are some of the factors you need to take into account to improve your chances of success. 

You can’t just pick a random date, cross your fingers and hope for the best if you’re planning to take your business global.

If you attempt to make the move too early, before you’ve properly researched and established your infrastructure and supply chain, you could end up not just failing to make an impact in the new market, but damaging your domestic sales too.

Choose the right time to go global

So how do you know when it’s the right time to move your business beyond your own shores or country border? It needs to be a time when you’re confident that demand exists, and you’re fully prepared for the legal and cultural needs of the new market(s). 

You also need to have your logistics/supply chain in place, and a team of people who are ready and are committed to making the process work. (According to the Harvard Business Review this last point is the number one reason why companies fail internationally.)

Establish your goals

Finding the right time to go global will partly depend on your reasons for doing so. What are your goals for taking your business overseas? Do you want to increase your market share, establish a new customer base for your products or services, increase revenue or do you have another motivation?

And how will you measure your success? If the venture is unsuccessful, when do you call time on it? Will you give it a particular time frame to bed down, or is there a number or other indicator that will signal it’s not working?

Find the right market

There are 195 countries in the world. Take away the one you’re already trading in, that leaves 194 to choose from. So how do you pick the right one?

It’s often easier to target a country that feels more familiar to you – one that speaks the same language and has a culture similar to your own. You also want to choose one that doesn’t have too many stringent laws that may impact your business.

And it may seem obvious, but you need to ensure the country you expand into actually has a high demand for your products or services – and it’s feasible for you to sell, deliver or manufacture them there.

Do your research

Expanding your products or services internationally will require a careful strategic plan, including international market research. This will help you understand which markets to enter (and which to avoid), how to negotiate, what prices you can charge, and get a grasp of the economic, social, legal and cultural differences you need to be aware of. 

Here are some of the questions your research needs to answer:

  1. Will your product or service fill a need or desire in the new country?
  2. Are there any cultural considerations that could impact your success?
  3. Do you already have competition in the market? And if so, what’s your differentiation or advantage?
  4. Are there any legal regulations or restrictions that may affect your business?

If you have a product-based business, how will you actually get your products overseas? Have you established the logistics of distributing your products, such as finding a reliable international courier (such as Parcel2Go)? And what presence will you need on the ground? Will you need an office? A local team? Warehousing? 

Common mistakes to avoid when going global

Many businesses fall into the same traps when they attempt to enter an international market, the most common of which is a lack of planning.

It’s a big mistake to assume that what works in your own country will be successful in another culture, too. Product choice, pricing, sales and marketing must all be considered on a country-by-country basis.

And finally, too many businesses make the mistake of not giving their global venture enough time to succeed. So take your time and test the waters in one or two new territories – then learn the lessons you need before you extend your business further. And be patient if it takes a little time to take off. 

Photo by Slava Bowman