Conducting business globally is one aim every growth-oriented business wants to achieve. It not only enlarges the potential market but also protects the business against the risk of possible decline in the domestic market.
What’s notable is that with recent globalisation reforms, easy payment gateways, smoother digital connect with people overseas, international business expansion has become much easier and achievable.
Every year, thousands of businesses break their geographical barriers and step forward to reach additional global customers. But only a few of them are able to survive, beating the international competition and creating space for their brand in the potential market.
Now, the question is what are the things which those “few” businesses do and others don’t? How is their strategy different from the rest?
Well, it all begins from the beginning. How businesses prepare themselves before they take that major step, reduces their chances of failure significantly.
With 2019 around the corner, if you too are pondering on taking your business international, here are certain factors to be considered in advance:
1. Be well-versed with the global market
Initial research of any plan affects the final outcome substantially. Thorough in-depth evaluation of the market you’re trying to capture, the one which is completely unfamiliar to you is the most important thing to be done before you get started. Detailed measures include:
- Understand your target audience and the market which would benefit from your business product/service.
- Identify your competitors and conduct proper SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] analysis.
- Analyse the difference between your business and the competitors w.r.t to pricing, marketing approach, brand positioning and more.
- Learn about the cultural differences and your product awareness in the specific market/country.
- Differentiate between your domestic and foreign market, and what all changes should be inculcated in your business strategy to fill those gaps.
Simply put, extensively study your potential market, the probable opportunities and challenges it can have for your business
2. Brand marketing should be globally optimized
Each commercial market has its own marketing trends and what works in one country might not perform in other countries too. The target audience, their product understanding, their used keywords, their behaviour, all would vary from the local ones. This gap should be identified and business marketing should be moulded likewise. Some changes in marketing approach while going global could be like:
- Make the required changes on the website and showcase it according to web visitors of different countries.
- Inculcate international SEO in your marketing strategy. From listing product on international directories to targeting country-specific keywords, everything should be considered.
- Understand the regulations related to digital marketing in different countries which have to be abided especially during paid campaigns.
- Identify the most effective platforms to reach your potential customers digitally. People of one country might be more active on emails while others might be better reached through targeted ads.
- Analyse the search behaviour of the foreign audience and optimise your content as per that.
As a business plan on its global expansion, its brand marketing should be modified accordingly to ensure effective and worthy marketing.
3. Comply with foreign policies and norms
Make your product market-ready. Each country has its own regulations and norms for its commercial market. It is important that your business confines to all such necessities, to avoid any probable legal conflict. Some of these aspects are:
- Be sure of Intellectual and property rights.
- Testing and quality assurance of your product based on each country’s defined local standards.
- Check for laws related to import and export of products.
- Understand the tax-related norms related to products, services and conducting business.
- Learn about the labour and employment laws (if you’re planning to hire someone for your overseas business).
In fact, it would be highly advisable if you consult an overseas legal expert who could help you fulfil all such regulations beforehand.
4. Prepare employees for international customers
From product keywords to behaviour to preferences, consumers are different in many ways. It is important to train your team for the required changes in their approach while dealing with foreign prospects. This could be something like:
- Making them familiar with the possible cultural gap with cross-border customers and train them accordingly.
- Make changes in their sales pitch as per the keywords used by the foreign customers (which could be different from your domestic ones). Same product could be identified with different names in different countries.
- Depending on your target market, you might even need to hire people knowing different languages.
- Not only pre-sales, after-sales customer support too should be taken care of. Considering the time gap between different countries, your team should be ready to attend calls accordingly.
5. Work on brand image and local business presence
Capturing an alien market and doing business with foreign consumers is one big challenge. Besides all other aspects, trust and credibility in your business are two important things which are difficult to gain. Your potential customers should have confidence in your business and for this localisation of your brand is a prime requirement. It encompasses:
- Ensure local business presence with a local business contact number in your target countries. An international contact number could be an obstacle for your potential customers while contacting your business.
- Mould your business marketing and pitch in a language and content familiar to the foreign audience.
- Upgrade your brand image with a tollfree business number to convey your business professionalism and reliability to your target audience.
- Partner with resellers or distributors who are located in that country and are well-versed with the market.
Gaining customer confidence in their business is one major aspect most businesses fail to fulfil. However, until this is done, international business sustainability will remain a hard-won goal.
International business is indeed lucrative. To actually make it profitable several factors have to be considered and several measures have to be taken before entering the global market. It is nowhere confined to mere export and import of products. It encompasses multiple other areas to work on, which, once handled well can make your global business expansion much easier and successful.