If you’re planning on expanding your business internationally, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration. What are the challenges of international business? What location do you want to go to, for example? And is there enough potential talent in the area? In order to help you go through the process as smoothly as possible, we have listed a range of things you need to consider when going international.
Possible reasons for international business expansion
When you are expanding your business internationally, you probably have a good reason to do so. Possible reasons can be a gap in the market or a local increase in demand for your service or product. Whatever reason you have, in every situation it’s important to base your decision on facts and not emotions. In doing this, you need to look at the market you want to serve and listen to their wants and needs.
What are the challenges of international business?
Every major business decision comes with its hurdles. Here are the challenges you should prepare for before expanding your business internationally.
- Regulatory and compliance requirements
Every country has its own tax codes, packaging standards, business regulations and banking system. Therefore, it can be a hassle to complete the necessary paperwork for compliance and setting up a new corporation. Before you start expanding, learn everything there is to know about the local market you are aiming for to be fully prepared when expanding internationally.
- Language and cultural differences
Expanding overseas comes with cultural and language barriers. Not understanding the key differences in behaviours, beliefs and values can lead to a culture clash. Get a good grip of the local culture by hiring bilingual and native staff members or partners. They know the market to a T. This will give your team the necessary insights in how the culture of a country affects the market for consumer goods and services.
- Market strategy
Products and services need to be suited for the market you are expanding to. That means packaging, language instructions, marketing materials etc. Create a market strategy, based on the research you have done about the regional or local market.
- Local competition
It is a challenge to persuade foreign consumers to trust and buy your brand when a similar product is made in their home country. Think about why consumers would buy from you over the local competition. Ask yourself, can you penetrate the market under profitable circumstances?
The top 5 best practices for international expansion
If you’re ready to tackle the challenges of international business, follow these steps.
1. Find the right local partners and team
It is essential to establish a team that understands the local market and language to be successful. Working with a local team and local partners makes it easier to deal with the regulations of the market you want to expand to. They also help to communicate your company’s unique selling points in a way that is meaningful to the local market.
2. Do the necessary market research
Think about all possible scenarios before making major business decisions – especially during international expansion. Always do your market research or even spend time in the market you are aiming for. The information you receive is crucial to develop your strategic plan moving forward. Get to know the market and the competition by hand.
3. Be willing to change direction
With every new market you enter come new challenges. Be acceptive and prepared for any bumps in the road. Being adaptive is the way to success. Always make sure your product or service meets the local consumer demand.
4. Set up your local customer support team
Once you have stepped in a new market, you will have a new customer base to support. Like in any market, consumers will want immediate support. It will be vital to set up a local customer support system and team.
5. Create the right infrastructure
It is vital to create the right infrastructure to ensure smooth sailing of all business operations. These are some questions you should have answered beforehand:
- Do you have your local management team in order and can they deliver your market strategy?
- Is your product or service localized?
- Are your distribution channels in order?
- Is your team ready to handle customer support?
How to do international business?
Just because you’ve got a good business in one country doesn’t mean you’ve got the upper hand when it comes to international expansion. Every company is different and the market is always changing. On top of that, understanding international business rules and regulations can be difficult. In order to expand successfully, you should hire experienced professionals who are well versed in international business law and customs.
Relocating to a new market? We are here to help
Next to hiring professionals for the business side of things, it’s important to pay attention to employees who might need to relocate to the new location. A well-organized relocation can increase productivity, efficiency and profitability. In most cases, successful relocation will require thorough planning and preparation with input from all parties involved. Our professional team of relocation experts can help you achieve optimal results fast.