For many businesses, moving into international markets is very easy these days thanks to the internet. The internet has made the world a lot smaller by bringing together so many companies and clients. So it is now easier than ever to reach foreign customers.
However, all of this new opportunity does not come without its pitfalls. Tt is now easier than ever to start an international business. But not many business owners are clued up about how to carry out business on a global scale.
In fact, international markets aren’t that different to our own. You just need to put in a bit more effort to make it work.
To help you over the initial hump, here are some unmissable tips you need to know. They will help you get the most out of your new international company.
Ensure That There Is A Customer Base
First of all, it is important to establish whether or not there is a customer base for your product or service in your target market. If there isn’t, then you will certainly find setting up a business in your target country a struggle.
Just because your company is doing very well in your home country, doesn’t mean that it will succeed in an international market. That is because each country has its own needs and preferences.
The best thing you can do to find out whether it is worth taking your company abroad is to carry out extensive market research. This will help you see whether there is enough demand for your product or service.
Firstly, see if there are any similar companies to you operating in your target market. If there are, then it shows that there is a good demand for what you have to offer. If these similar companies are doing well, then there is a good chance that your company will as well.
Embrace The Language
The chances are that your new business venture will take you to countries that don’t speak your native language. You shouldn’t see this as a barrier for your company. As long as you embrace the local language, this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
One of the best ways to prepare for the potential language barrier is to hire some staff who are fluent in your target market’s language. These will be able to help you with any required translations and document checks.
They will also be useful if you have any foreign clients or customers come into your office for meetings. But, hopefully, you won’t have to rely on these bilingual members of staff too much. That’s because the international language of business is English.
So you can expect many foreign clients to be able to speak your language. But, in the event that they can’t, you should always have someone who can speak their language just in case.
Find The Resources
You also need to ensure that you have plenty of resources to branch out globally. This could take significant staff and capital increases. You need to increase your resources. Then you can focus on both branching out into international markets and expanding your company at home.
You will find that it is incredibly difficult to manage your current company while trying to move into international business. You need to have enough staff to do so. But in order to increase the number of employees in your company, you first need to have enough capital to fund this.
You could find the extra cash by positioning investors or working on your company’s local reach and increasing sales. Only venture out globally once you are sure that your business will be able to cope financially and structurally.
You should also expect to face some cultural barriers when you are taking your business into international markets. There may be some cultural norms in another country’s way of business that becomes a hindrance to your company.
Whenever you come across a curious custom or tradition in a foreign company’s office or way of business, it is very important that you respect it. Otherwise, you could be seen as rude, which could be detrimental as you try to make deals and transactions.
You may also have to change the way you communicate with foreign clients and customers. One example is that there is no small talk in Northern European business. So you should expect meetings with companies based here to be blunt and to the point.
Work Around Time Differences
You will also have to deal with time differences between countries. That means you may have to stay late in the office or get there very early if you are having a conference call with a client in a different time zone. You need to make sure that the staff who is working on your company’s global expansion are happy with flexible work times.
One other issue that comes with working with clients and other companies who are far away is delivering your product to them. If possible, invest in an office or warehouse in your target country. However, if you can’t afford this yet, you can use an efficient B2B and B2C postal service, such as Red Stag Fulfillment.
Be Prepared To Move Slow
Business in the English-speaking part of the world moves very fast indeed. However, this isn’t the case in some countries. In fact, you might notice that business deals and transactions move a lot more slower in many foreign countries.
Overseas, employees and managers don’t work every hour of every day as many do in North America and the United Kingdom. You will find that companies abroad prefer to take a personal approach to business.
For example, it takes a long time to make a deal in the Far East, especially in China. Things usually take a lot longer to resolve. And that will especially be the case with your company as you will be seen as foreigners.
Find A Local Head Quarters
You need a local headquarters. But first, you need capital and to carry out enough market research to come to the conclusion that your business venture will work. This won’t be quite as important during the beginning once you are setting up in your target country. But once things start to take off, you should consider investing in a local headquarters.
Even if this is just a small office in the country, you should think about creating a physical presence for your company in your target country. This will allow you to hold face-to-face meetings with your international clients and customers. And it will also give them an easy way to get in touch with you as you will have a local landline number.
What is the best way to staff this new office? Some companies like to send a couple of their current employees over to the new office to work for a few months. This gives them the chance to spend some time establishing the new office and training new staff to work there.
Alternatively, you could relocate some of your current employees and managers to your new base on a permanent basis.
Get Your Product Ready
Before you launch your company in an international market, your product should be 100% ready. After all, it’s not just your brand you are introducing to this new country. You are also trying to sell your product!
There is no point trying to sell and market a product that isn’t quite ready. No one will want to buy it! You also need to make sure that your product is ready for the target country. Just because it is selling well in your home country, doesn’t necessarily mean it will do so in your target country. You may have to make slight adjustments to it.
These adjustments may be required to meet the market’s rules and regulations. Or they may just be necessary to make the product a lot more appealing to your new target market. There is one easy way to figure out what will make your product appealing. And that is thorough market research!
Another major issue facing companies who branch out into an international market is tax. The best way to make sure your international taxes are correct is to hire an accountant. One who specializes in your home country’s tax laws as well as your target country’s.
He or she will have extensive experience with working between the two country’s tax laws. You may also have to pay special levies or taxes on products that you import out of your home country.
One thing you need to do before you launch the global side of your business is to open a bank account in your target country. This will come in useful when you start to hire local staff and take payments on local credit cards.
It may sound like branching out internationally will be a lot of hard work. But you can be sure that it will almost certainly be worth it.
Once you do open your international doors, you will notice a sharp rise in your sales and reputation!
Featured image link: Pixabay