Are you ready to take your business overseas? It’s a bit more complicated than simply opening a new branch in a foreign country. Here are a few tips for handling an international expansion.
1. Know Where You’re Going
Don’t just spin a globe and set up shop where your finger lands. Do careful research into foreign markets to figure out where your products or services will be most popular, and take a good look at the local economy to make sure your company will actually be welcomed by the people.
2. Get Familiar With Cultural Quirks
Some countries take tardiness very seriously. Others might be offended if you call their representatives by their first names during a first meeting. Before you lose a deal because of something silly, be sure to brush up on your business etiquette for overseas markets. Look into the cultural and societal norms of your expansion country specifically.
3. Refine Your Pitch
This is especially critical if your reception is lukewarm among foreign investors. It might not be your idea that’s failing to stick; it might just be the way you’re pitching it. Some countries value enthusiasm while others expect their business professionals to have more subdued presentations. Do your homework to figure out which strategies and approaches are best for your new market.
4. Hire Local Talent
You can’t do much on the ground without a good staff to handle day-to-day relations. They’ll become even more important when you leave the country and head back to your native land. Do you trust them to keep your operation going even if you aren’t there? Can they be counted on to represent your business in a positive way?
5. Learn the Lingo
While you don’t have to become fluent in a country’s native tongue just to do business there, it can definitely help if you understand the basics. For example, you might learn simple or industry-specific terms so you can follow along with the gist of a conversation, or you might memorize various ways that people can say “good,” “great,” or “excellent” so you can gauge how enthusiastically your ideas are being received.
6. Plan Ahead
Give yourself at least six months to work out the kinks in your plan before you actually move forward with your expansion. Not only will this prevent rushing and making mistakes, but it will also give you time to truly appreciate your expansion and savor the victory of being successful enough to go global.
7. Get on Social Media
Social media is the great equalizer of the modern century. If you aren’t sure how to use it effectively, just look at how other businessmen are doing it. For example, Robert Bratt has set up profiles on multiple social media sites so he can engage all demographics across all platforms. This ubiquity can be a great thing for the expanding business; when you suddenly have twice as many customers as usual, you’ll want them to be able to reach you across many social media networks.
If you think you’re ready to break into the global market, these are just a few things to consider first. An international expansion can be a huge boon for your business, but only if you carefully prepare and know what’s around the corner before it comes.