International expansion can be a big step for any business, no matter its size. It can bring plenty of benefits to a company – a whole new array of potential customers and the opportunity to operate in a less saturated market. However, it does come with risks – expanding is expensive and you’ll be operating in unfamiliar territory. What can you do to prepare for international expansion?
Before you begin to think about expanding overseas, you need to understand the new area, and who you’re selling to. Market research is a vital tool for success. You need to have a firm knowledge of the country’s culture, how your customers think, and if your brand would succeed there. To get a firm understanding of the region you’re aiming to expand in, you need to spend some time there. For example, if you’re hoping to operate in the States, you can stay in a serviced apartment in New York to help guide your research and develop your understanding of the market.
Understand Your Capabilities
You need to assess whether international expansion is the right step for your business at this current time. You need to ensure the company is strong and secure in its current market. Venturing abroad won’t help if the business is already struggling. How are your finances? Review your budget and make sure you can afford to invest in international expansion. Expanding your business should help its success, not further hinder its funds. You also need to assess your company’s infrastructure and whether it would work abroad.
When it comes to shipping packages you need to understand a variety of global regulations. These can differ from country to country, so you need to ensure your packages are labelled properly depending on when they’re being shipped. Plus, take into account shipping times as well. You want to ensure effective delivery service and customer satisfaction in whichever country you’re operating in. Research courier systems and see which ones could benefit your business the most.
Take due diligence with selecting your team members. Whether you’re intending on opening an office abroad or hiring remote workers – spend plenty of time considering who is right for the role. Hiring within the international market comes with pros and cons. You have got access to people who know the culture but potentially lack experience and vice-versa. There is a solution to this. Research countries that have a lot of professionals within your line of work, then you can hire new staff with ease. Your team will have a drastic impact on future success so don’t rush your decisions.
International expansion offers incredible opportunities for a growing business, but it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Do everything you can to ensure your company is prepared. Have you had any experience with international expansion in the past?