As your small company grows and evolves, it's natural to begin thinking about expanding into new and exciting markets. For some business owners, this means taking their company global. As thrilling and potentially profitable as this sounds, doing so can be challenging. Language barriers, local customs, laws, and other cultural differences can impede success. However, being prepared and educating yourself before jumping in with both feet is smart business. The following tips will help make taking your company overseas much smoother.
Corporate Gift Giving
Many cultures consider gift giving serious business. In fact, your counterparts might view it as an insult if you don't offer a present when meeting to discuss a possible business relationship. Giving tasteful corporate gifts helps establish and strengthen critical international relationships and quickly becomes a very cost-effective way of increasing your global business.
A Far-Reaching Online Presence
The fastest and easiest way to reach people all over the globe is via the Internet. In this day and age, every business needs an online presence. However, if you plan to go worldwide, your digital presence must extend beyond the boundaries of your company website. The more platforms you utilize to advertise and showcase your brand, the better your chances of connecting with people anywhere in the world who need your products or services. If you don't know how or don't have the time, consider employing the services of a digital marketing consultant to leverage social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as other forms of online marketing to grow your profile. You never know where your next client will come from!
It's All about the Pitch
Pitching your ideas, products and services in the US is quite different than pitching them in other countries. For instance, the average meeting time for pitching products and services in the US is only 30 minutes. In the UK, these meetings can last up to 90 minutes.
What works for you at home won't necessarily work overseas – in fact, it probably won't. It pays to research the market you into which you plan to expand to fully grasp the lay of the land before you make your entry. First impressions are everything, so make yours impressive!
Your Overseas Headquarters
The location of your company's overseas headquarters is very important. Be sure to locate overseas branches in areas that are easy for you and your team to travel to and from. In addition, larger urban centers are far more conducive to finding the local talent and expertise you need to help grow your company. Ultimately, you it will pay dividends to choose an HQ location that ensures your business will flourish.
The Cost of Doing Business Globally
No matter how you cut it, expanding your business internationally is expensive. In fact, the closer you get to the launch of your product or service in the new market, the more money you'll need to spend. This part of the process is inevitable but controllable. Set a spending limit at the outset, so you have enough money post-launch to achieve optimal results. The ultimate goal here is to have enough capital behind your venture to avoid having to raise more funds during the process.
There's no doubt that expanding a business is challenging, but being prepared enables your business to thrive no matter what the location. Adjust your strategy and business plan to suit the region in which you want to market your products or services. Understanding how that market operates enables a company – big or small – to succeed when doing international business.