For enterprising business owners with a forward-thinking mindset, the global stage is rife with untapped opportunity.
To watch your company grow from humble beginnings into an international tour de force to be reckoned with can be an invigorating prospect, and it is by no means impossible.
It is difficult, however, so dedicating your time to developing your personal skillset is essential. After all, it is your vision that you are striving to pilot towards success.
If expansion is on the cards anytime soon or you happen to be curious about how exactly you should start preparing yourself and your employees for the big leap, here are some important points you might want to consider mulling over.
Keep Up with Learning
If you have been in business for a long time or your operation is highly optimized for the scale you are working on currently, it may be a little too easy to get complacent.
Avoiding this complacency is a must if you aim to grow as a professional and set your sights on faraway horizons.
Keeping up with learning is a great way to do this, as it essentially supplies you with the tools to practice autonomy and develop your intuition.
Remote learning may have a great solution for you in this regard, as it can enable you to continue to carry out your responsibilities as a business owner while you learn.
Moreover, there are some great advanced degrees that are catered to business owners seeking to take their efforts to an international level, so you may want to check out a masters in business management online for a wonderful example.
Research is Crucial
Market research is integral to many different parts of the modern business, form marketing to product development and everything else in between.
Adapting your business to a global audience requires a great deal of market research and although the fundamentals might remain unchanged, there are many extra details to focus some time on, such as:
- Local Laws and Regulations – Finding out about local rules and regulations is a must if you aim to sell a product or a service of any kind, as what is perfectly legal and normalized in one country, might be taboo and illegal in another. The same goes for marketing, as there might be different regulations in regard to what you can and cannot say or promote.
- The Values and Beliefs of Your New Target Audience – There are many factors that have the potential to influence a target audience’s opinion about a product, some of which may be inherently linked to the values of a nation, such as their religious beliefs, their political system and their traditions. Your product needs to resonate with the audience if it is to sell in the first place, so figuring out the difference between cultures and localizing your product accordingly is crucial.
- Importing Costs and Exchange Rates – The hidden costs of global market research can be a huge pitfall for business owners who fail to account for them in their original plan. Assessing the local prices and the exchange rate can help you get an idea of what is financially feasible, and you might even find there is a much cheaper way of conducting your research.
Finding Your Ideal Audience
There is little point wasting time on marketing to an audience that has no interest in your product in its current form, especially if you were hoping to branch out as soon as possible.
This can lead to some big financial setbacks and perhaps even a damaged reputation. Finding the ideal audience before you make any moves should be high on the agenda.
One way to do this, is to take a look at the data on your company website or your product pages. For example, say you are a U.S. based company, but you have an unusually high rate of web traffic from Sweden, it is likely worth taking a look at why your products are so desirable to Scandinavians, as you might already have an audience waiting for you.
You can also find your ideal global target audience by putting some time and effort into cultural research. This can be a superb way to not only find new customers, but it can help you avoid a nasty faux pas when it comes to marketing.
Contact Local Businesses
If you have no idea about the current state of your specific industry on the global stage, it can be extremely difficult to establish yourself internationally.
Reaching out to local businesses for some insight and maybe even a partnership opportunity is a good way to get deeper understanding of your new landscape.
You may want to consider contacting influencers in the area as well, as this can still be a great way of marketing your brand.
It is certainly worth bearing in mind the nature of the competition, as your rivals could already have the local market completely sewn up.
Conversely, your would-be competitors could be inadvertently providing you with the perfect opportunity to enter the market with a product that vastly outclasses their own.
Prepare Your Team
Expansion can seem impossible if you do not have your team on board with you. Taking steps to ensure that everyone is ready for the big jump is critical to success in many ways.
Even if you feel as though you possess an elite set of skills and you have done all the preparation necessary, without the right team to support you, your international endeavor may be harder than it needs to be.
This could mean you need to hire some staff with experience in the global arena, or maybe you should think about outsourcing a few of your operations to external experts.
Simply asking your team how they feel about expansion can give you some great insight, and their words and thoughts will be very valuable, particularly if they are ones who need to get the work done to begin with!