Things Every Small Business Owner Must Consider Before Going Global

Taking your business global is the natural next step for many small business owners who feel that they’ve conquered the local market and are ready to accelerate their company’s growth. The international market — particularly where exporters are concerned — offers unparalleled opportunity for expansion.

Here are a few tips that it will help you to keep in mind before you take your company worldwide.

Ask yourself a few questions.

What you need to know to sell abroad

There are considerations that have the power to bring success or failure to your business when you attempt to go global. They are:

Will your product sell in the new market?

You probably researched your market thoroughly before introducing your product initially. You will want to do the same research for every new market you intend to break into. There are a number of cultural differences that can affect whether a product that sells well in one market will translate to success in another market.

Is your product or service already familiar to your new target market?

If your product is not already well known to your new market, that can be seen as either a challenge to overcome or an exciting new undertaking, depending on how you approach it. On the one hand, an unfamiliar audience is going to need to be educated. That can spell a significant investment in both time and money. On the other hand, your product will be the first to hit the market — meaning that your business is in a great position for gaining serious name or product recognition.

Will you be comfortable living in your new country while you establish your product?

It may be necessary for you to set up in — or at least travel frequently to — the country where you’ll be launching your product. If the culture or language is remarkably different from your own, you may want to make an effort to study more about it before you go there. It will make your time spent there more pleasant.

What is the state of the infrastructure in the country?

If the roads are poor or if sources of power and hot water are unreliable, you will have to consider whether the cost of getting supplies in and out will be prohibitive. If the country is unstable, you may not be able to guarantee on time delivery of supplies at all.

If one or more of the answers to these questions give you pause, you may need to consider introducing your product into a different market from the one you’ve chosen. Better to change your mind now, before you’ve gone too far and invested a significant amount of capital.

Mistakes exporters sometimes make.

Taking it for granted that business will be conducted in English.

If you’ve never done business overseas, it may not occur to you that you won’t be able to do business in your own language. While English is familiar to many people around the world, assuming that everyone in your target market speaks it would be expecting too much. You’ll want to make the investment to learn the new language and perhaps even hire bilingual assistants who can help you navigate the new market.

Assuming that the new market will function the same as your own.

Every country and every market has its own quirks. Your sales and marketing techniques will need to be tailored to fit each one individually.

Expanding everywhere, all at once.

Expansion is good for business — but going too fast can spell disaster. Every promising new market should be explored on its own timeline, rather than rushed through the process along with several others. Limiting yourself at first can take discipline, but it could help you avoid costly mistakes.


Submitted by Marleen Anderson, an employee at Saxons, provider of IT services.

Sectors: Management Consultancy
Topics: Business Development and Getting Started
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