You could be trending on Twitter with #GoingGlobal. International expansion is a bold move for any entrepreneur, but also an incredibly exciting one. It can bring so much to the table.
New markets mean new opportunities for growth, and there is no better time than the present. We live in an unprecedented era of connectivity because of the internet. Today, eCommerce is at an all-time high and shows no sign of stopping.
Like any change, there are mistakes to avoid and rules to keep in mind. For small businesses, it could be as simple as a perspective change.
Why Go Global?
International expansion can make or break your company. Remember that your focus changes from who walks by your storefront to anyone with an internet connection. Here are some benefits to look forward to:
- Using social media’s powerful tools to grow a brand
- More reach means more sales potential
- International markets mean exposure to new ideas to influence your product/service
- Relieves reliance on local markets
Move with caution, though. The expansion comes with new competition. While there may be more people involved, more companies will vie for their attention. Sometimes, local buyers are easier to persuade simply because they can interact with you on a personal level.
If you follow the rules, you should swim in these new waters easily.
Rules for International Expansion
Every business will be different, but these guidelines should hold true for most. We’ll talk more about their meaning below:
- Make a Plan
- Set Distributions
- Conduct Research/ Connect Culturally
- Trade Rules
- Commercial Insurance
Make a Plan
Any project deserves a solid map. First, ask questions about why your goods/services would be received in another country. These questions will also help fill in the blanks of your distribution and research section. For example, you don’t want to try and sell a selfie stick to someone living in a country with no cell phones.
Your plan should cover exactly where you’re marketing, your target audience, and why they would be interested in your product.
This one is probably the easiest. You just need to make sure you have enough boxes to transport your product. If you’re selling services, check with translation. Using the information above, you can easily find companies that help with shipping.
Conduct Research/Connect Culturally
You must understand your target market well. How they live on a daily basis, and what needs/ desires they share. Don’t try to sell water bottles to people that hate plastic. This can be accomplished with surveys, or you could conduct it yourself by contacting natives and speaking with them.
Any country has specific tariffs and rules set in place. Some markets will not accept certain products, and others will outright criminalize you for attempting to sell inside their borders. Make double sure that whichever country you’re planning to sell to accepts your goods/services and they are legal. If they require licenses, you must keep all paperwork up to date.
Commercial Insurance for an International Expansion
You should be insured for your products, even if you are using the internet to sell them. Cybercrime is more frequent now, and your presence online does not exclude you from simple robbery. Accidents happen to everyone.
An international expansion can be an exciting time, but to keep that forward momentum, keep all your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted. The business world can bring many connections to your brand. Take advantage of the eCommerce we have available and leap into our huge world.
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