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Internationally expanding a business can be appealing for any aspiring entrepreneur. However, taking your company overseas is not as simple as it may seem. From learning local laws to language barriers, you will face numerous challenges.
Here are a few steps to take before leaping overseas.
Prepare a Business Plan
Each country is unique in terms of its cultural, economic, governmental, and market conditions. Therefore, it is essential to develop a localized and strategic business plan. The goal is to understand the local market’s requirements. On the other hand, keep it aligned with your overall company culture.
For starters, establish your short and long-term business strategy. Set reasonable and achievable goals and metrics that will help you measure your progress.
Next, choose your company structure and business model. For example, do you want to start a thriving global ecommerce business? Maybe you plan to set up a separate company in the new market or sell your franchise to local entrepreneurs? Based on this data, you can develop a detailed annual budget and establish a tactical project plan.
Make Sure You Meet Compliance Requirements
When expanding your business to a new country, it is essential to meet its compliance requirements. For example, in some countries, you need to have a registered and staffed physical office.
Pay close attention to customer information and data privacy policies. For example, the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) applies to any business that targets European consumers. Therefore, if you are expanding your business to the Old Continent, you will need to establish a strict, GDPR-friendly data security policy.
On the other hand, China has introduced the Data Protection Directive. The document ensures civil and criminal consequences to the businesses reaching out to Chinese consumers via the internet and similar channels.
Assess your Company’s Organizational Readiness
Have you ever managed an international team? Cultural differences, such as language or customs, require your business policies to be highly flexible. The one size fits all employee management plan does not cut it anymore. To keep your employees satisfied, engaged, and productive, you need to build a company culture that is in line with their expectations.
Here are several steps to take:
- Assess the organizational structure.
- Create policies, procedures, and handbooks that comply with local requirements and your overall company culture.
- Build attention-grabbing employee benefits programs to attract qualified local staff.
- Make sure compensation packages align with the local requirements, values, and standards.
- Optimize HR operations.
- Build an IT infrastructure that aligns with your company’s domestic infrastructure.
Make sure the Product Is Suitable for the Local Market
Once you analyze your new marketplace, ensure your product and brand are the right fit for it. Here are a few tips that will help you assess your product readiness:
- Review and update your patent and trademark policies. In some countries, copying innovative product ideas is a common problem.
- Assess industry-specific laws and regulations to ensure you have obtained the certifications needed.
- Consider your target audience. Based on their cultural background, customs, beliefs, and religion, determine whether product/brand needs localization. Pay special attention to brand elements, such as colors, logos, and visual content.
- Focus on the localization of your brand. The translation is usually not enough. You will need to hire local marketing experts who ensure your product and brand name resonate with your target customers.Most importantly, you will minimize the risk of offending your prospective consumers.
- Make sure your products meet the local product quality standards.
- Build a logistics and distribution network. For example, will you collaborate with local suppliers? Or, who will sell your products?
Build Relationships with Local Businesses
Irrespective of your company’s industry or location, building relationships with local businesses is essential. The goal is to connect with the businesses offering complementing products or services. For example, you can negotiate alliances, partnerships, or distributorships with partner companies.
Teaming up with other local business owners is an opportunity to get your name in front of potential consumers. By partnering with a reputable local brand, you can harness their existing customer relationships and industry authority. That way, you can ensure your company’s growth in the international market and reduce the financial risk.
Over to You
Global business expansion is not for the fainthearted. However, it is achievable.
To grow your brand overseas, you need to assess your legal, organizational, and product readiness. Most importantly, you need to set clear goals and have a strategic business plan.
I hope these insights will help you build a thriving international brand!
Eve Anderson is a marketing specialist turned blogger. Interested in sports and exciting travel destinations. Love to share content that can inform people.