Photo by Raymond Tan on Unsplash
The world has become a small place. Where traditionally it took weeks to cross oceans by ship, we can now form business relationships without leaving our computers. However, expanding your business internationally is a whole new ballgame. If your enterprise has grown to the point where you’re ready to take it to the world, here are a few crucial considerations to keep in mind:
After deciding to grow, you will realize that maintaining an office in every country is not feasible from both cost and practical perspectives. However, meeting with your clients on their turf to foster a local presence is vital. Fortunately, there are plenty of serviced offices that allow you to hire a meeting room when you need to put your best foot forward in a new market. Having access to a meeting room in each of your selected business locations makes perfect professional sense and gives a great first impression to new clients. Your clients will see you mean business, and most meeting room providers offer all the services and amenities necessary to make your meetings comfortable and successful.
Over 90 percent of adults with internet access use search engines to find information. For both products and services, your potential new customers are surfing the web, looking for the right business to provide what they need. Knowing that you’re now looking to expand internationally, it’s crucial that you update your website to reflect your strategy. A professional looking site with great user experience can go a long way to bridging the distance gap. Acquiring a web domain with a local extension in each country will allow you to show your commitment to the local market. By re-creating your website tailored with local information, or simply redirecting the local URL to your primary domain, you can quickly and cheaply create a global web presence.
Take it Slow
It can be easy to get too excited about the expansion and immediately put your fingers in every pie. However, doing so can be detrimental to the success of your business. Overextending yourself too early can have disastrous consequences, so take your time to understand the lie of the land, local customs and regulations and business culture before going all in. Once you’re comfortable, ensure that you’ve solidly consolidated your foothold before marching on the next location.
In America, you’ll have a fair understanding of what’s required of you legally when you operate your business. However, when it comes to establishing yourself internationally, you’ll be working under a new set of rules and regulations. Do plenty of research into local business laws and regulations, as It might not be as clear-cut as you think. For example, intellectual property protections differ in the US compared to many other nations. Engage an expert to help you navigate through all your legal obligations.
Here in the US, we know a handshake means a done deal. We also break bread in the same way, and share colloquialisms, connecting on the same level. However, the most significant mistake you can make is believing just because another country’s people speak the same language, the etiquette and customs are the same. Make a serious effort to learn local professional culture before walking into that big meeting, and your counterparts will appreciate the effort.
Business expansion is an exciting time, especially if you’ve decided to do so internationally, but needs to be approached with caution. Being culturally sensitive, connecting with your customers on a local level, and knowing your legal requirements can all make the process go smoothly.