For the vast majority of small business owners, it is vital to establish local connections and market share quickly. However, at some point, you have to set your sights a little further afield. One way of doing this is, of course, to scale your business on a national level. But, given the vast majority of countries that exist in the world, you might want to consider taking on the global stage. Here are some tips to get you started.
It is important to have a viable business before you think about expanding to new territories. You need to have existing customers as some proof that your product or idea is of value. It will give you a good starting point for finding out if your business might be viable elsewhere.
No matter how popular your product is in your country of origin, it may not have the appeal elsewhere. You have to do your research – is there a market for your business? What does the competition look like? Does your business fit in with the cultural and social norms of another country? Are there any obvious risks?
Find the right countries
Once you have a rough idea of where you product might succeed, it’s time to get some cast iron guarantees. Use statistics and government figures to find out the best place to get started. For example, let’s say you have a new solar power business. You might want to look around for a country that is investing heavily in renewable energy. In this particular case, Argentina might be a good shout. According to the Renewable Energy Conference, the country has ambitious targets. By 2025, they intend to use renewable sources for 20% of their total energy use. It would make sense, then, for you to choose Argentina over another country with less interest in that particular goal.
Language and culture
Language and cultural barriers will exist, whatever product you are selling. It’s vital, then, to hire bilingual staff – and preferably from the country you intend to expand into. Not only will it help you get your marketing message right, but it will also show a government that you are prepared to invest in the job market. It’s also worth understanding the local way of doing things. Some cultures are relaxed about doing business deals, and it can be frustrating if you are used to a faster pace.
Rules and regs
The most important part of your expansion is making sure you understand local rules and regulations. Selling anything in another country can be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating. Make sure you know your responsibilities and are following all the guidelines set out by the local government. There are several problems you might face. For example, you could sell a product in one country, but have to change it slightly to accommodate the rules of another.
These are just the basics of getting started with the international business opportunities that exist. There’s plenty more to think about, of course – but cover these essentials and you should be working from a safe space. Good luck!