The perfect formula for bringing a business to international markets is a tricky subject for organizations of all shapes and sizes. How do we know it will succeed? Where do we start? When do we know if the benefits outweigh the risks? After all, expanding into a brand new market in an entirely new country or region of the world isn’t just about finding the right distribution channels.
International business strategies are always evolving as companies and organizations in tourism, marketing, fine arts, and technical products learn to grow and thrive in new environments. While the risk can be great, the reward is often greater – the benefits of succeeding in an international market can mean a number of great things, according to Entrepreneur.com:
- You can extend the sales life of existing products and services by finding new markets to sell them in.
- You can reduce your dependence on the markets you have developed in your country.
- You can even out your sales by tapping markets with different or even countercyclical fluctuations.
- You can exploit corporate technology and know-how.
- You’ll learn how to compete against foreign companies-and even take the battle to them on their own ground.
While pursuing global reach, it’s important to keep the risks of expanding poorly in mind:
- You can break laws, rules, and regulations much more easily if you don’t keep up.
- You can struggle with optimizing company structure and hiring the right people to get things up and running.
- You can come head to head with worldwide issues, including environmental and socioeconomic.
- You can experience embarrassing, often costly errors, of not using accurate translations in target languages.
Don’t let the potential challenges of international growth slow you down or scare you off, though. With the right information, intelligence, and steps to follow, reaching your goals of a global audience are attainable. Always consult with your country’s Chamber of Commerce and related organizations like the WTO to help get you on the right path, and take a look at our practical tips for more guidance.
1. Take a slower, more thoughtful path.
When you’re bringing your product, service, or brand to a new region, patience and strategy are key to your success. You should always begin with an international business plan that effectively evaluates every need, strength, weakness, and goal in order to assess if you’re ready, as well as thorough market research from reliable sources to back everything up. It takes a lot of careful research, planning, and testing to gauge how a market will potentially respond to your business.
2. (Truly) understand your audience.
Without understanding, what knowledge can you truly possess? When selling a product or service in a new market, you first need to get to know the types of people you’re selling to. Only after exhausting all of the resources you can muster in learning, understanding, and experiencing the life of your target audience members should you consider opening up shop.
Start slowly with a starter branch office in another target country to get boots-on-the-ground in your target country or region. Having a physical presence is one of the most effective ways to see how new clients feel about what your business has to offer, as well as get pointed feedback and inspiration for how to proceed for your particular industry.
3. Use resources already available to you.
Skrimping and saving aren’t reserved for regional startups – businesses looking for a global reach must learn to rely on their own resources in order to make a strategic global move. The first major resource? People. Utilize your existing, knowledgeable staff to perform valuable research, meet with potential new clients and customers, and think strategically about how to best move forward; they know your company best.
The other major resource readily available to you? The Internet. Marketing, research, and communication online can be relatively low-cost and easily reaches every major country or region you might be expanding to. Making sure your brand is visible in your new market online is just as important as it is to be there in person for many companies.
4. Lawyer up and meet your investors in person.
Having a physical presence in your target market internationally isn’t necessarily a must, but meeting your top potential investors and partners is. This is a huge mistake that many smaller companies can make during the excitement of obtaining new funding or support. Without shaking the hands of the people you are supposedly working with overseas, there is no way to know that your deals and contracts are legitimate.
This being said, we always recommend having a lawyer on-staff and easy to reach when working through contracts, as well. You can refer to online resources, like Legal Match in the US or e-justice.europa.eu in Europe to help find the right lawyer for any particular business.
5. Take advantage of localizations and translations.
As much as languages can divide people through speech, translations are a key aspect of breaking down barriers to understanding and building connection across the world. Currently, the entire global population consists only of 6% of native English speakers – localizing your website, technical materials, support information and other potential customer-facing assets with the perfectly-translated text is key to reaching international audiences.
We offer a pricing system of “translate more, save more” to help growing international businesses succeed long-term. With sustainable translations and web page localizations, companies can better reach every potential new customer with every language and dialect needed. Language Department’s goal is to help your company reach international audiences effectively, while providing attention-to-detail, customer care and custom services to fit your needs, no matter the project. Reach out for a free quote to see how you can grow with professional translations.
Stay tuned for more information and tips on how smaller businesses can go international!