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by Brian McKay
There are some businesses you come across that people in other countries have never heard of. I’m sure many of you have been abroad or spoken to someone from another country and been amazed that they’ve not heard of a certain brand you deem common. It works both ways as foreign countries have brands and businesses that are big there but non-existent here.
Then, you have certain brands and companies that are well-known throughout the world. Again, you’ve probably been abroad and seen a certain company out there and been stunned as you thought they only existed back home. Businesses like this are smart as they’ve taken themselves global. This means that instead of just tapping into one national market, they’re working on an international level.
In this piece, you will learn how your business can do this. You can go from a small company working on a local level to a national one, and then a global one. But, before we get into this, let’s look at some reasons why expanding your business is a good thing.
Why Expand Your Business Across The Globe?
Expanding your business globally requires a lot of work and patience. So, why would your business want to go through all this effort? The first reason is simple; you can make a lot more money by tapping into global markets. Instead of just having customers in one country, you could have some in multiple countries. At some point, you will reach a moment where your business struggles to increase its customer base if you’re only working in one country. Try as you might, you just can’t bring in a significant number of new customers. But, by focusing elsewhere too, you can bring in more new customers.
Furthermore, a global business helps establish your reputation all over the world. Think about when you go abroad, and you see certain brands that are common back home. What goes through your mind? Normally, you think wow, I never knew this company was so big! Establishing your brand on a global scale will make your business seem bigger and more important. This creates a positive reputation, which helps your business in so many other ways.
The last point I want to make is that a global business isn’t reliant on one particular market. Let’s say you’re selling things to a national market, but you end up in an economic recession. This normally leads to consumers being more frugal and spending less money. It’s a tough time for businesses, and your sales dry up. However, if you’re also operating in other countries, then you’re not going to be as badly affected. The economy may be down in one market, but it could be booming in another one!
Expanding Your Business Globally: The Plan
Now that you’ve seen why it makes sense to expand your business, you’re going to be keen to learn how. In this section, you will find all the tips you need to form a plan of action. Be warned, you won’t see overnight results. This isn’t a plan you can implement and expect to see results after a few days or even weeks. It’s a lengthy process, but you will eventually get to a point where your business is operating globally.
Identify Your Most Profitable Global Markets
The first step is figuring out where your business should expand to. You might think this doesn’t make sense as ‘globally’ means all over the world, right? True, but there are definitely some countries your business will see more success in than others. As such, it makes sense to only expand to these countries, rather than wasting money on marketing in places where results aren’t guaranteed. For example, would a business that makes and sells alcohol see a lot of success marketing in deeply religious countries where the people don’t drink alcohol? No, it wouldn’t be a smart business decision. Here, you’re conducting initial market research to identify the best countries to expand your business into.
Continue Market Research With Expert Advice
Next, you need to build on your market research with the help of expert advice. The best way to do this is to hire established experts from all over the world. Try and hire people with knowledge of these foreign markets so they can help you learn more about them. There are two routes you can take with this idea. Firstly, you can publish an international job advertisement for people to come over and work with you. In this scenario, make sure you also hire a lawyer to deal with any international work clearance and visa issues. The alternative route is working remotely with other people. This can help reduce the costs of hiring them, but it may be hard to collaborate as you’ll work in different time zones. Either way, make sure you have new people on board to give you expert advice in these new international markets. It will help you put together different marketing strategies for each country, guaranteeing your success.
Deliver Your New Marketing Strategies
The keyword here is strategies rather than strategy. When you’re targeting a national market, you tend to have one strategy that’s aimed at your target audience there. Now, while you may have the same target audience in a different country, your strategy could differ depending on the country. This is all to do with the culture of certain countries and how one approach for one place might not work for another. In the previous two steps you should establish the right strategies for your international markets, and now you need to deliver them. Start rolling out marketing and promotional material in these different places and build up brand recognition. You want people to recognize a new brand emerging, but you also need to play on your previous success. Don’t make it seem like you’re a brand new company, let people know you’re already established and successful in a different country. This will immediately give you a good reputation and inspire consumer confidence.
A huge part of delivering your new strategies is getting your website ready for different countries. You will have to completely translate your site into different languages, and make it accessible for people in different regions. This is such a simple step, and you’ll be amazed at how many businesses try and go global without making their website international.
Open Multiple Headquarters
You’ll quickly realize that running a global business is hard to do from one location. There are loads of reasons for this, mainly, it’s hard to stay in touch with global markets from one single place. As such, you will find things much easier if you open multiple headquarters all over the globe. Ideally, you want an office in every country you’re selling in. This works as a base for that country, and you can establish a team there to oversee everything and ensure it’s all working well. It also provides you with an office location that people can visit if they need to. Other companies can come to your headquarters if they want to work with you. It’s likely there may be foreign brands keen to form a partnership with you in foreign territories. Having headquarters in their country makes it easier to communicate with them. Plus, you’re not working on any time delays or worrying about time zones; it’s much easier for you.
I’d also add into this the importance of having customer service channels in different countries too. Consumers hate calling up a customer service number and being greeted with a foreign voice on a poor phone connection. It’s so much better for everyone if you can offer local customer service. This doesn’t mean you need to put together a customer service team in your multiple headquarters. No doubt there will be loads of places you can outsource to in these foreign territories.
Take It Slow
Finally, it’s important that you take all of this slow and build up to it. The best method for success is to establish yourself locally as a small business and grow bigger nationally. Then, slowly expand your reach into different countries. But, don’t go for loads all at once, try and expand into one country, then another, and another. This slow progression helps you stay in control of everything. You can establish yourself in one country and make a lot of money that can be invested in another foreign market. If you try and deliver your products/services to loads of different markets all at once, then it will be very hard to stay on top of things. Take it slow, be patient, and don’t force success out of your business.
Hopefully, these tips can help you put together a plan for expanding your business across the globe. If you do everything correctly, you will see the benefits mentioned at the start of this piece. Global expansion is a natural progression for most businesses. Experts that have worked in the business industry for years will tell you that progression is the key to success. Don’t stay in one place; grow bigger and better!
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption, the President of Extra Pro Services and the President and creator of PETiO DOOR INC. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and an M.B.A. from Boise State University (yes that blue field). His goal in life is to look out for the regular guy and bring as much knowledge and change to this world as he can. His purpose in founding zenruption was to do just that and help craft the world he wants his daughter to inherit. Please feel free to email him any feedback or article ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter or Facebook.