In an ever-changing world, diversifying your business opportunities is the key to success. As the world grows increasingly interconnected thanks to technology and globalization, we have the chance to change not only how we do business, but where we do business.
Expanding to global markets isn’t just for large companies with seemingly unlimited income; small and medium sized enterprises can benefit greatly from growing their company internationally.
I started a personal finance comparison website, finder.com, 10 years ago with my business partner Frank Restuccia and it was always our dream of expanding globally. There have been many challenges along the way, but the benefit of operating in more than one market strengthens the entire business in several ways including resources, collaboration and shared knowledge.
Expanding to new territory can be intimidating. Getting to know the economies, financial structures, and business atmosphere of the countries you want to do business in takes time, effort, and a lot of research. However, I have a few tips for your business if you are considering growing your company internationally.
Do your research
Jumping into business in a different country takes a lot of planning. Research what country you want your business to expand into thoroughly. Know what currency they use, what the minimum wage is for employees, what an office or retail space might cost, and if your product or service fills a need.
Some countries require foreign businesses to meet certain rules regarding visas, taxes, and other trade regulations to keep doing business in that country. Make sure your company can meet these requirements before you make the final move over.
Build local relationships
When moving your company into a new market, building relationships with other local businesses can help your company integrate into the existing market faster. Your company could benefit from other businesses working in the industry while you are creating strong relationships with local vendors.
Finding your niche in the international market means knowing your target audience, what you can offer them, and taking advantage of all the resources you have at your disposal.
Be money smart
Before you spread your company into the international market, make it a part of your business plan to know exactly how much money you can spend on the expansion. You are likely to have your existing business financially support your new business so it’s worth considering all of your international money transfer options for business.
The costs vary significantly between banks and providers and you can save a small fortune by choosing the right option for you. Running out of money midway through a successful expansion effort can be even worse than finding out the international market wasn’t ready for your business in the first place.
You will also want to consider how the exchange rate and currency plays into your business plan. Understand their banking and financial systems of this new country and their financial regulations as well.
When you make a move to an international market, make sure you know who your target audience is. The marketing and advertising culture in other countries can be very different than what you’re used to, so make sure you understand what effective local branding for your company would look like.
Additionally, you may find that your original business plan isn’t appropriate for your expansion efforts. Refine your business plan to take into consideration differences in language, culture, and business environment in a new country.
Think outside the box
Finally, growing your company internationally doesn’t mean that you literally must pick up and move to a different country. Expanding into international waters can be done from your home office with a good internet connection and some useful communication tools.
If you have a digital footprint and your company does business online, think of how you could harness a greater international audience this way. You may already have an international client base taking advantage of your products and services online.
Expand your company’s international capabilities by offering consumers the chance to do business in their local currency, including international shipping, and marketing to a wider audience using digital methods.
Just do it
Growing your company internationally doesn’t have to be another pipe dream. Whether you own a small, medium, or large enterprise, going international can be something your company can accomplish. Whether you are considering moving your business to another country or have already expanded internationally, consider all of your diverse options, test and compare, and make it happen.
Author: Fred Schebesta is CEO and Co-Founder of personal finance comparison website finder.com and leads the global growth of the business. Fred is a leading Australian-born entrepreneur based in New York City. He is also an award-winning digital marketer, author, blogger and keynote speaker. Follow @schebesta on Twitter.